Fennel Pollen and Orange Tarts for the Godiva Chocolate Challenge

#CantBakeWontBake meets Godiva Chocolate – Fennel Pollen, Orange and Chocolate Tarts:

While I am not the World’s most enthusiastic baker, the offer of free chocolate to take part in a baking challenge seemed like one not to allow to pass me by.  In my enthusiasm, I completely overlooked the closing date – and having said I’d have a go on Thursday, thought I’d have more than two days to complete my entry and didn’t actually check till it was too late.  Ah well, I was content just to enjoy the chocolate, orange and fennel pollen tarts that I created.

Chocolate, Orange and Fennel Pollen Flan

Or should I say ‘tart’.  I made enough pastry for two small flan shells, but managed to drop one…luckily the filling, an orange and fennel pollen ganache was lovely by the teaspoonful, from the fridge.  A bit like DIY truffles.  Despite my inability to bake a decent pastry shell, the one flan that did survive was exceptionally good and I’m sharing the recipe here.

Individual Fennel and Orange Chocolate Tarts



  • 170ml Double Cream
  • 130g Dark Chocolate (I used godiva chocolate pearls. If you are using block chocolate, chop it into small pieces)
  • 1 pinch Fennel Pollen (or a little finely powdered fennel seed.)
  • Grated zest of an orange


  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 50g Butter
  • 25g Icing Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk
  • Iced Water (Or use juice from the orange for a stronger flavour)

Pastry (Optional)

  • 1 pinch Salt (If using unsalted butter)


Step 1 Sift the flour sugar and salt into a pile on a large pastry board or clean work surface
Step 2 Make a well in the middle of the flour mix. Chop the butter into tiny pieces. Add it in to the well in the flour, together with the egg yolk and mix with the flour and sugar mixture, rubbing to create a fine 'crumbly' mixture.
Step 3 Press the mixture together to make a pastry dough, adding a little chilled water or orange juice if necessary
Step 4 Knead very lightly, then wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least an hour
Step 5 Divide the dough into two halves. Butter your flan dishes and press the pastry filling into the cases. I find this easier than rolling out what is a rather crumbly pastry - but the result can be a little messy!
Step 6 Pre-heat your oven to 175c
Step 7 Line the pastry cases with baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake with the lining for 10 minutes, then remove the lining and finish for a further 5-10 minutes till the bottom is nicely crispy.
Step 8 Meanwhile, bring the cream, fennel pollen and orange zest to just below boiling point (you should be able to see tiny bubbles and the start of a skin)
Step 9 chocolate ganache
Pour the cream over the chocolate, and stir gently till you have a shiny rich mixture. Put in the fridge to cool
Step 10 Filled chocolate Ganache Tart
Allow the pastry shells to cool in their tins and when both chocolate filling and pastry are cold, pour the chocolate into the pastry.
Step 11 Allow the tarts to set for at least 2 hours. Garnish with a little fennel pollen and/or orange zest. They are best eaten within a day of making.

Pate sucree is French sweet pastry – it is shorter and lighter than normal shortcrust and, as I found out this time, burns VERY quickly.  I’ve never used it for small flans before – next time I’d be a little more diligent!

This particular challenge was set by Godiva chocolates, who have a unique and very easy to use product called chocolate callets.  Making the ganache couldn’t have been easier – no chopping involved, the callets are just the right size to melt in your hot cream.

Godiva chocolate pearls

Despite missing the deadline I was invited along to the final showcase at the Boffi Kitchen just off the Old Brompton Road and really enjoyed watching some of my more able friends competing for the grand final prize.  Note the finer pastry skills of Food Urchin who made a chocolate tart with candied bacon!

Food Urchin Tart Skills

Food Urchin's finished chocolate tart with candied bacon

I wasn’t able to stay till the end of the event but I heard the winner was Heather Bennett with her ‘A Conference of Chocolate’.  Take a look at the Godiva chocolate challenge finalists here – I’m secretly rather pleased I DID miss the deadline as there’s no way I could have produced anything that looked quite so professional!

Meanwhile, many thanks to Godiva for a fabulous event and for the opportunity to get to feel REALLY hungry watching trays of chocolate dipped strawberries being passed around;)

Godiva chef making chocolate dipped strawberries


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  1. What a wonderful looking tart Fiona. Push it this way will you?

  2. Veronika says:

    Looks delicious!

  3. Looks Delicious! Great pictures

  4. Wow, looks delicious and got me interested in trying the flavour combo. I love fennel but would never have though of adding it to chocolate!

  5. How very indulgent! Great looking tarts, Fi.

  6. Superb photos and what a great idea.. but what is fennel pollen?

  7. Gosh what a fun challenge. I really adore fennel but have never ever had it with chocolate.

    • Fennel Pollen is slightly sweet and rather more delicate than fennel seeds, it’s also a better texture for adding to a smooth ganache. I’ve done it before but this time with the addition of the orange there was a really lovely flavour combination

  8. It looks lovely but I am not sure about the fennel. I really don’t like the taste

  9. I have never heard of fennel pollen, nor have I considered combining fennel with chocolate before. Your tart looks delicious. I need to brush up on my pastry skills, so I can recreate this.

  10. Mmmmm. Chocolate ganache tarts are so delicious!

  11. Great looking tart. I went to look at the finalists, they all look like they’ve spent time as patissiers. GG

  12. Bet those flavours were outstanding, I WANT!!!
    Janie x

  13. Delicious little masterpiece!

  14. Pamela Morse says:

    It is a great creation, but I am not into fennel, and find the darling new fennel pollen to be yucky. I also outlaw all licorice stuff, anise, absinth, etc. So you just go, but keep your pollen on your side of the ocean..it is growing popular here too.

  15. A beautiful looking tart you have there Fiona. And loving the touch of fennel pollen, inspired!

  16. That looks fantastic!

  17. Man, I think you should have taken home the golden ticket with this tart, Fiona! Sounds divine!

  18. Ashleigh Allan says:

    This looks amazing!

  19. Cute recipe! I have this one for my son. For sure he will love it.

  20. Ellen Stafford says:

    Wow this looks amazing. Might have to try this myself x

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