Passionately Chocolate Tartlets: Pierre Hermé - Desserts
- 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
- 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.)
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.)
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.