Monday, April 30, 2012

Chocolate Tartlet

This is my first attempt at making tarts. I have to say tart doughs are very similar to pie doughs. Some common ingredients are cold butter and cold water. I usually make pie dough by hand, crumbling the butter and flour together between my fingers. For this tart, I used a hand-held mixer to get the butter and flour into pea consistency before holding them together into a dough.

When you want to fold a pie dough into a baking dish, you can either roll it onto the rolling pin or fold it into quarters. I wanted to do something similar after I rolled out the tart dough, but it was so fragile. I had to use less force rolling out the tart because it was cracking up in the middle. I tried to fold the rolled out dough in half, but it teared in the middle. I had to "patch" it up with left over dough. The good thing is the patch is completely covered by the chocolate sauce. I hope with practice I don't need much patching in the future.

To give my chocolate tart more flavor profile, I blended a handful of hazel nuts and smoothed the hazel nut meals into the chocolate sauce. The result is a not so sweet chocolate tart with a hint of nutty flavor. On a second thought, this tart reminds me of Rocher Ferrero chocolate: crunchy coat with chocolate engulfed hazel nut. My tart, however, has a stronger chocolate taste :)

This yields four 4-in tarts or 1 9-in tart

First make the tart shell with no fear. Who cares if the tart falls apart when you're transferring it into a tart pan. I patched it up and it looked perfect after baking. The most important thing is to keep the butter cold and use cold water. The chilling part is essential too because it makes the dough easier to handle.

When the dough is chilling in the freezer, start blending the hazel nuts (if you're using it). You don't need to boil the milk until the tart is baking in the oven. It takes less than 5 minutes for one cup of milk to boil.

After you take the tart shells from the oven, start heating up the milk and measuring the chocolate. Set chocolate in a medium-sized bowl. When the milk is ready, pour the milk into the chocolate bowl. Next, wait for five minutes, so the milk has enough time to melt the chocolate. Gently stir the milk mixture with a spatula until you get a creamy consistency. At this stage you can add the chocolate cream into the blender and mix well with hazel nut meal or simply pour the chocolate cream into the cooling tart shell.

The only time you need your oven is for the tart shell. If you need to entertain guests and plan some dishes that required baking, you can serve this chocolate tart to free up oven space. The tart shells can be made four days in advance and bring to room temperature before pouring the chocolate cream into it. At the end, garnish with a hazel nut or some gold paper. A dash of powdered sugar would look lovely too.


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