Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chocolate Tarts

Chocolate Tarts - made May 30, 2014, adapted from S'more Pie from Deep Dark Chocolate by Sara Perry
I don't actually own the book this recipe came from but I saw it in the digital library that my local library is affiliated with so I couldn't resist checking it out. I didn't have as much time as I would've liked during the loan period to peruse all of the recipes so I settled for this one to try out.
The original recipe was for a S'More Pie and called for making the crust into a single pie pan, filling it with the chocolate cream filling then topping it with marshmallows that you then toast to get the classic S'more experience. I left most of the original directions below in case there are s'more fans out there but since we know how I feel about marshmallows, I took some liberties with the recipe and turned them into mini chocolate tarts with my own toppings instead.
One recipe for the graham cracker crust fit into 4 individual-size tart pans as did the filling recipe. I used a high quality bittersweet chocolate for the filling since that was a major component of the tart. This really couldn't have been easier to make. Once you bake off the shells, let them cool then make the filling which is essentially just a ganache: boil the milk and butter, pour the hot liquid mixture over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
The filling is pretty liquid when you first make it and even after it's cooled, it doesn't set into a firm fudge texture but was more like a soft cream filling. After I filled the tart shells, I chilled them first to let the filling set then sprinkled one tart with toffee bits and another with toasted almonds. You can leave them plain or add your own toppings. I like texture contrasts so besides the toffee and almonds, I would have also sprinkled a different one with toasted coconut. You can have fun experimenting with the toppings of your choice.
I have to admit, this isn't my usual kind of dessert since I'm not much for cream or custard-type desserts or ganache but once it was chilled, I liked it better than I thought I would. The crust is crisp and provides a nice contrast to the creamy filling as does the toffee topping. To suit it to my sweeter taste buds, I think next time I would make it with milk chocolate instead of semisweet and/or blend in some nutella instead of going with the original bittersweet chocolate ganache.
Topped with toffee bits, still a bit soft
Topped with almonds, chilled until set
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

5 ounces premium dark chocolate, chopped
½ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

18 large, fresh marshmallows or Midnight Milky Ways, chopped or toffee bits

1.    Crust: Preheat oven to 350⁰F. In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until well blended and crumbly. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch freezer-to-oven pie pan and lightly press onto the bottom of the pan. Bake until set and fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
2.    Filling: Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and butter until the butter is melted and small bubbles form around the edge of the pan.  Stir to combine.  Pour the hot milk mixture over the chocolate.  Let stand for several minutes, then stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in the salt and vanilla until blended.  Let cool completely.  Pour into the crust and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
3.    Topping: Heat  the oven broiler to low.  Cut each marshmallow in half crosswise and arrange the halves, cut side down, to cover the top of the pie. Place the pie on the lowest rack of the oven until the marshmallows toast.  Watch carefully, once they start to brown, they toast quickly.  Serve while the marshmallows are still warm.

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