Love is in the air! Yup, Valentine's Day is drawing near, and you're going to be seeing a lot of chocolate in blogworld. I'm jumping in too! Here's my take - Warm Chocolate & Raspberry Tart by Pierre Hermé.
From the book Chocolate Desserts.
"Beware this chocolate and raspberry tart - it's a gustatory seductress. It has a beckoning look, but it's the flavours and textures that get you. The ganache filling is warm, only just set, and almost like custard, soft and rich and silken and smooth. Baked, even just briefly as they are here, the berries have a gentle sweetness and an even more distinctive flavour, as though the warmth of the oven ripened them to perfection. The sweet almond crust that cradles the filling offers a little butteryness and a touch of crunch, a nice counterpoint to the creamy filling."
- Dorie Greenspan, author of Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
However, me being The Little Teochew, I made everything little. :)
Rest assured that although this recipe looks complicated and lengthy, these tartlets are really quite straightforward to make. I have to say, my experience using Pierre Hermé's recipes - this, and previously, his Chocolate & Lemon Madeleines - have been nothing but favourable. The measurements were spot-on, the instructions were precise ... very unlike some famous egg tart recipe. Ahem.
So, these photos were taken when winter came to Singapore. No kidding. We had gusty winds and continuous rain for days, and at times, I almost thought it would snow! Temperatures at night were hovering around 22-24°C. How's that for tropical weather?! But I loved every minute of it.
The first time I made this tart (and I made one large one just in like the first pic), I had no photos to show because there was hardly any daylight. But it was such a hit - the chocolate for my children, the sublime tart crust for me - I made it again ... and thankfully, on a day when we had a short interval of sunlight. The rays were barely enough to illuminate these pretty little ones, but I got my shots to share with you, and for that, I am really thankful. :)
(From Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé, written by Dorie Greenspan)
For the Sweet Tart Dough
(Make this at least 1 day in advance because you need to chill and rest the dough for a minimum 4 hours or up to 2 days, before rolling and baking)
- 2 1/2 sticks (10ozs; 285g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (150g) icing sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup (lightly packed) (3 1/4ozs; 100g) finely ground almond powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean pulp or pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 3 1/2 cups (490g) all-purpose flour
Note: You are encouraged to make the full quantity because lessening the measurements may not yield the best results.
To make the dough in a mixer:
Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until creamy. Add the sugar, almond powder, salt, vanilla and eggs and, still working on low speed, beat to blend the ingredients, scraping down the paddle and the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough may look curdled – that’s alright. With the machine on low, add the flour in three or four additions and mix only until the mixture comes together to form a soft, moist dough – a matter of seconds. Don’t overdo it.
Gather the dough into a ball and divide it into 3 or 4 pieces: 3 pieces for 10-inch (26cm) tarts, 4 for 9-inch (24cm) tarts. (Of course you can press the dough into one large disk and cut off as much as you need at the time that you need it.) Gently press each piece into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or for up to 2 days, before rolling and baking. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to a month.)
To roll and bake:
1. For each tart, place a buttered tart ring on a parchment-lined baking sheet and keep close at hand. Work with one piece of dough at a time; keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator.
2. Working on a lightly floured surface (marble is ideal), roll the dough to a thickness of between 1/16 and 1/8 inch (2 and 4mm), lifting the dough often and making certain that the work surface and dough are amply floured at all times. (Because this dough is so rich, it can be difficult to roll, but a well-floured surface makes the job easier. If you are a novice at rolling, you might find it easier to tape a large piece of plastic wrap to the counter and to roll the dough between that and another piece of plastic. If you do this, make sure to lift the top sheet of plastic wrap from time to time so that it doesn't crease and get rolled into the dough.) Roll the dough up around your rolling pin and unroll it onto the tart ring. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the ring, then run your rolling pin across the top of the ring to cut off the excess. If the dough cracks or splits as you work, don’t worry – patch the cracks with scraps (moisten the edges with water to "glue" them in place) and just make certain not to stretch the dough that’s in the pan. (What you stretch now will shrink later). Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork (unless the tart will be filled with a runny custard or other loose filling) and chill it for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
3. When you are ready to bake the crust(s), preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Fit a circle of parchment or foil into the crust and fill with dried beans or rice.*
* Note from The Little Teochew: I did not blind bake my mini tart shells and they turned out OK.
4. Bake the crust for 18 to 20 minutes, just until it is very lightly coloured. If the crust needs to be fully baked, remove the parchment and beans and bake the crust for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden. Transfer the crust to a rack to cool.
Keeping: The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or wrapped airtight and frozen for a month. Frozen disks of dough take about 45 minutes to an hour at average room temperature to reach a good rolling-out consistency. Baked crusts can be kept uncovered at room temperature for about 8 hours.
Tip from The Little Teochew: I'm all for the easy way out, so instead of attempting to roll out this extremely sticky, buttery dough, I used my mini tart moulds and pressed balls of dough into shape with my thumb. It's a lot more manageable and the best thing for me, is that I could get really thin, delicate tart shells which I might otherwise have been unable to achieve with rolling (the dough will likely break when lifted). Make sure you press around the bottom rims where dough tends to gather. Once you are done, send all the tart moulds back to the fridge to chill for another 15mins before baking. With this method, there is no need for any floured marble surface or rolling out, which in turn means minimal handling of the dough (any dough that is overworked will yield a tough and hard crust). This also cuts down the baking time. The tart shells were done in what? 10 to 15 minutes? And once they are baked through, they literally slide out of the tart moulds without any resistance. Yup, you're welcome. :)
Now that you have your tart crust, you can start making the chocolate ganache.
For the filling:
- Get your tart shell(s) baked and cooled, and on standby
- 1/2 cup (55g) red raspberries
- 5ozs (145g) very good quality bittersweet chocolate. preferably Valrhona Noir Gastronomie, finely chopped (my chocolate of choice is always, always Valrhona Equatoriale 55%)
- 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 large egg, at room temperature, stirred with a fork
- 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature, stirred with a fork
- 2 tbsps sugar
1. Centre the rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Fill the tart crust with the raspberries.
3. Melt the chocolate and the butter in separate bowls either over – but not touching – simmering water or in the microwave. Allow them to cool until they feel only just warm to the touch (104°F [60°C]), as measured on an instant-read thermometer, is perfect).
4. Using a small whisk or rubber spatula, stir the egg into the chocolate, stirring gently in ever-widening circles and taking care not to agitate the mixture – you don’t want to beat air into the ganache. Little by little, stir in the egg yolks, then the sugar. Finally, still working gently, stir in the warm melted butter. Pour the ganache over the raspberries in the prebaked tart shell(s).
5. Bake the batter for 11 minutes (less if you are making mini tarts) – that should be just enough time to turn the top of the tart dull, like the top of a cake. The center of the tart will shimmy if jiggled – that’s just what it’s supposed to do. Remove the tart from the oven, slide it onto a rack, and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
- 1/4 cup (25g) red raspberries
- Vanilla Crème Anglaise (optional)
Scatter the fresh red raspberries over the top of the tart and, if you’d like, serve with some crème anglaise.
Keeping: The crust can be made ahead, but the tart should be assembled as soon as the ganache is made. And while the tart is meant to be eaten soon after it comes from the oven, it can be kept overnight in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before being eaten the next day. The filling will be firmer and denser, but still delicious.
You don't have to dig deep to find raspberries buried beneath that chocolatey goodness. Give these tarts a try?