Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Passionately Chocolate Tartlets

Indeed filled with passion! Passion fruit that is. These gorgeous, elegant tartlets might seem like they're full-on chocolate, but the passion fruit juice provided for a much needed zing of exotic flavor. The original recipe even called for dried apricots, but I skipped that part as I am not a fan of them. The recipe comes from one of my favorite books by Pierre Hermé and lots of bakers are often intimidated by his recipes, but they're not very hard to follow. Making a few parts the day before is incredibly helpful. I made the crust a day in advance. This tart crust recipe is my absolute favorite! It incorporates ground almonds so it has more flavor than other tart crusts (not that the chocolate/passion fruit ganache lacked any). Rating: 4 out of 5.

Passionately Chocolate Tartlet



Passionately Chocolate Tartlets: Pierre Hermé - Desserts

The Apricots
Ingredients:
- 10 moist, plump dried apricots, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- pinch of freshly ground pepper

Instructions:
- Place all of the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the apricots are soft and puffy. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and allow the apricots to steep in the liquid for 3 to 4 hours. When you’re ready to use the apricots, drain them and pat dry between paper towels. (The apricots can be prepared a day ahead and kept covered, in their liquid, at room temperature.)

The Crust
You will need ⅓ recipe of this Sweet Tart Dough.

(I made half of this recipe and froze the leftovers.)

Ingredients: Makes enough for three 10-inch tarts
- 2 ½ sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- ½ cup ground blanched almonds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ vanilla bean pulp or ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Instructions:
- Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until creamy. Add the sugar, almonds, salt, vanilla and eggs, beating on low speed. Still on low, add the flour in 3 or 4 additions and mix only until the mixture comes together - a matter of seconds. Don't overdo it.
- Gather the dough into a ball and divide it into 3 or 4 pieces. Gently press each piece into a disk and wrap each one in plastic. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or for up to 2 days. The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to a month.
- To mold the tartlets, butter and set aside twenty-four 1½-inch tartlets tins, fluted or plain. (I used 5 individual-sized tartlet tins) You can use mini-muffin tins, if it’s convenient. Also set aside a 2-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter, preferably fluted (or a cutter that is about ½ inch larger than the diameter of the tartlet tins you’re using), as many 3- to 4-inch-square pieces of aluminium foil as you have tins, and some dried pea beans or rice. (you’ll use the foil and beans to weight the dough while you bake the shells.
- Working on a floured surface with one piece of dough at a time (keep the other piece in the refrigerator), roll the dough to a thickness of about ⅛ inch. Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many circles of dough as you can from the rolled-out sheet. Clear away the excess dough and set it aside for the moment. Fit each round of dough into a buttered tin. To get a good fit without roughing up the dough, use a small ball of excess dough to push the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the tin. Place the tins on a jelly-roll pan and refrigerate them while you roll out, cut, and mold the second piece of dough. Place the second set of shells on the jelly-roll pan and chill the tins for at least 30 minutes. If you’d like, the scraps can be rolled and cut to make additional tartlets: gather the scraps from both pieces of dough, form them into a disk, and cover and chill for at least an hour before rolling out.

To Bake
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the pan with the tartlet tins from the refrigerator and gently press a square of aluminium foil into each tin. Put a few beans or a spoonful of rice into each tin – just enough to keep the foil in place – and bake the tartlets for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and bake the shells for another 2 minutes or so, just until they are lightly colored. (If you’re using larger tartlet tins, first bake them 18 – 20 minutes, remove foil and dried food, then another 5 – 8 minutes.) Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the shells to cool to room temperature.

The Ganache
Ingredients:
- 5 ¾ ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably Valhrona Noir Gastronomie), very finely chopped
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup freshly pressed or bottled passion fruit juice
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Instructions:
Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan; in another saucepan, bring the passion fruit juice to a boil.
Pour half of the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate and stir gently, starting in the center of the bowl, with a rubber spatula. Using a very light touch and taking care not to overmix, stir in increasingly larger concentric circles until the cream is incorporated. Repeat with the remaining cream and then, in the same manner, stir in the warm passion fruit juice. Cut the butter into pieces and add it to the ganache, stirring gently to combine. Once the butter is blended, the ganache will need a few minutes in the refrigerator to set up. Chill it for 10 minutes, then take a look. Chill for another 5 minutes if needed. You want the ganache to remain smooth, shiny and of a consistency that is easy to pipe. (You can make the ganache a day ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before piping.)

To Assemble
Put a few small cubes of steeped apricots into the bottom of each tartlet shell, making sure to set aside a dozen or so cubes for topping. Spoon the ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch star tip and pipe a swirl of ganache into each shell. Put a cube of apricot on the top of each tartlet and serve.



Passionately Chocolate Tartlets

You might think with this long recipe, that they were difficult to make, but nothing could be farther from the truth. I made the sweet tart dough a day in advance and the ganache was ready within minutes!

Passionately Chocolate Tartlet

14 comments:

Eliana said...

This sounds like a flavor combination made in heaven!

Chele said...

Passionfruit and chocolate will always get my vote! They look fantastic.

Moon said...

Looks like a must-try!

SteelCityFlan said...

Gorgeous. I do always find that adding fruit in some way to ganache kicks up its flavor a whole lot...my favorite is adding peach, apricot, or citrus jam to the cream. Unbelievably good.

"All things French" said...

The ganache sounds just wonderful~ so rich and creamy!
~Dianne~

High Heeled Life said...

I have certainly made a note of this fabulous recipe ... Hugs HHL

Ardna said...

i have always afraid to get one of pierre herme book cos i thought, it will be very complicated. but guess i was wrong! thank you for the post!

Coté Provence said...

passion fruit and chocolate .. what a perfect combination. I agree, even Hermé's macarons book looks intimidating, but the recipes are not that bad.

very delicious post!

Lucie said...

I love this tart dough--it works with everything! Looking forward to trying the ganache!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Smooth and wonderful looking tart! Well done.

Laura said...

Yum! So pretty! I've never had passionfruit and chocolate together, but it sounds tasty!

Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition said...

I can only imagine how great that flavor combination is...makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

Karen said...

Oh dear, just when I was hoping to stop eating cakes/pastries/chocolate (need to loose some weight). This recipe sounds far to divine not to try very soon.

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