Food for Fort: Chocolate tart and meat stews | Matthew Fort

I had an amazing chocolate tart at a restaurant, and want to have a go at it myself. It had a really light and buttery filling, a bit like a brownie.
Light and buttery? That seems to contain an interior fallacy, as someone once said of the term "military intelligence". I can't find a recipe that matches your description, but there may be a way round that. Blind bake a tart shell, then fill with a chocolate madeleine mixture (80g plain flour; 150g icing sugar; 80g ground almonds; 150g butter; 6 eggs; 1 tsp wild flower honey; 150g melted dark chocolate). Sift the flour and sugar, and add the almonds. Melt the butter. Beat the egg yolks until fluffy, then, bit by bit, add to the flour mix. Add melted butter and honey, and stir to a smooth batter. Stir in the chocolate. Whisk the whites to soft peaks and fold in. Pour into the shell and bake at 190C/375F/gas mark 5 for 15 minutes, until firm and bouncy.

I make lots of stews like boeuf bourguignon, but never sear the meat first; I just add it to the pot. Is it really necessary to sear the meat?
Necessary, as in will the dish be an utter failure if you don't? Probably not. Necessary, as in will the searing add another layer of flavour? Yes. The searing causes caramelisation, which adds sweetness and fruitiness and the Maillard reaction. I checked the recipe in Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, as close to a divine text as you can get, which adds the flour after browning the meat. I think boeuf bourguignon deserves that attention to detail.

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