Back in the mists of time when I lived in a bedsit with a kitchen that was a hell hole I somehow got myself invited to a rather grown-up party where I was expected to bring a donation of real food rather than the packets of crisps and tortilla chips that costituted food at the sort of parties I normally turned up at. I was asked to bring a pudding and I thought that I'd probably buy something from Marks and Sparks because surely that's what they existed for and sure enough that's what I did. At this party I ate some chocolate tart that another guest had brought and I asked her if she'd bought it from Marks and Sparks too; in my defense, this was meant as one of the best compliments one could offer. Anyway, she spent about 2 hours describing how she'd made this tart and the things I remembered about it later were that you didn't need to measure anything or bake anything – you needed a fridge or somewhere cool to store it and you needed a microwave for melting things. I was drunk when she gave me the recipe so I couldn't remember the exact details but I've probably made this tart about 100 times since that evening and it's always been great. On Saturday night I made a large version of it for a party I was going to and the Germans were so excited by it that they almost wet themselves. At least eight people asked me for the recipe and one person said that it was the best thing he'd ever eaten. I suspect he doesn't get out much but I was very pleased because the Germans usually look at all of my offerings with suspicion and ask if it's 'typisch Englisch'. For most things that haven't gone down too well I tend to blame the French, but I let England take all the glory for the chocolate tart. The other wonderful thing about this tart is that you can make it up to 48 hours in advance.
1 packet digestive biscuits
125 gms butter
1 tablespoon runny honey
melt butter and honey together – smash biscuits to crumbs and combine with honey and butter then slap it into a tart tin (if you've got one with a loose bottom then so much the better. My tart tin is 21cms and this quantity fits perfectly). Shove it into the fridge while you prepare topping.
2 x 100 gm bars of chocolate – you can use all milk, all bitter or combine the two. If you use all bittter choc then it's very rich.
teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons icing sugar plus a little for dusting
200 ml carton whipping cream
melt chocolate slowly then stir in vanilla plus icing sugar – whip cream until it's holding its shape and then fold into chocolate mixture. Spread it onto the biscuit base and put into the fridge for at least 2 hours. Just before serving dust it with icing sugar – serve with cream or icecream.
This recipe can take being mucked about with – you can't find digestive biscuits easily in Germany so I used something different. I've also put this mixture into shortcrust pastry shells.