Recipe with: Alec Maxfield of The Compasses, Pattiswick

ORIGINALLY working with owner Jono Clark as a kitchen consultant, Alec Maxfield was finally tempted away from self employment and joined The Compasses team full-time in January as head chef. After serving his apprenticeship in Nottingham, Alec moved to Essex and worked at many top establishments, including Michelin-starred eateries. Alec has worked with renowned chef John Dicken in all three of John's fine dining restaurants. He admits at just 25 he's moved around quite a bit, but it's been intentional to learn from some of the very best and he brings his knowledge and creativity now to The Compasses. With his homemade breads, plus venison, rabbit and pheasant from a local gamekeeper already on the new menu Alec is now hungry for his first AA Rosette. Ultimately his goal is for his diners to return again and again and recommend The Compasses to their friends too. Here Alec offers Essex Life readers the chance to enjoy one of his deliciously decadent desserts at home.Rich Belgium chocolate and pecan nut tartIngredients Serves 4 to 8 people500g sweet pastry500g good quality dark chocolate125g unsalted butter4 whole eggs (medium in size)5 egg yolks100g castor sugar200g pecan nuts

Method1 Line an 8-10 inch tart case with the sweet pastry and then place in the fridge to allow to rest for 30 minutes.2 Line the pastry case with baking paper and then fill with baking beads or rice and place in a hot oven at 200c for 20 to 30 minutes until totally golden. Remove the baking paper and beads and set the case aside to cool.3 Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl and melt together over a bain marie or a low power microwave until totally smooth.4 In an electric food mixer place the eggs, yolks and sugar. Begin the machine to whisk the mix very rapidly until it becomes pale and fluffy and the mix has at least tripled in volume.5 Gently fold the chocolate and egg mix together until totally combined. Chop half the nuts and fold into the mix.6 Pour the mix into the cooked tart case and then arrange the remaining nuts on top and place in the fridge to set. Allow to chill for two hours before serving with a dollop of crme fraiche or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!


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