Last week, in between super speedy trips to Zhongshan and Shanghai (alas, for business, not pleasure) I had a sudden urge to make some not-so-traditional fruit tarts with a chocolate custard filling.
I (and probably many of you, too) have a not-so-secret on again, off again love affair with chocolate. Sometimes I’ll want to put it in anything and everything and other times, I just don’t even want to smell it. To be honest though, most of the time my sudden aversion to chocolate is just due to the fact that I’ve already inhaled four full bars of extra dark Godiva in the last two days. Last Monday, the chocolate affair was definitely on. Forget boring, old vanilla cream. I needed my chocolate fix, and there was no stopping me–I was going to get my chocolate on!
These little tarts may look impressive, but they are remarkably easy to make. Fresh blueberries, kiwi and raspberry on a dollop of rich, mousse-like chocolate custard, delicately cupped in a crumbly, “buttery” golden tartlet crust–be prepared, it will definitely be a challenge to fight the urge to eat them all throughout the assembly process.
Full recipe after the jump
I should really get back into the habit of writing up these blog posts immediately after I finish making whatever it is I’m making. Without a set recipe, it’s significantly more difficult trying to recall just how much of what was used…infinitely more so when I try to remember everything a week later. As always, I’m going to do my best to translate my way of throwing in ingredients by the fistful into actual measurements. Feel free to alter amounts as you see fit, just remember to keep a close eye on the colors and textures in each step.
Usually when I make tartlets (past posts: Apple Rose Tarts & Mini Pumpkin Tarts), I like using a homemade crust made of self-ground oatmeal flour. For this fruit tart, however, I decided to go a little more traditional. It’s totally worth it. A golden, buttery, crumbly, melt-in your mouth tart crust of pure awesomeness.
- three quarter cups of self rising flour
- half a cup of almond flour
- two tablespoons of powdered sugar (just run some sugar through a food processor and throw in some corn starch)
- a couple pinches of salt
- two tablespoons of thick coconut milk (unsweetened)
- one egg yolk (or extra coconut milk if you want to keep it vegan)
- half a cup of frozen margarine (cut into chunks – the margarine I use is actually derived from sunflower seeds)
In a food processor, combine your dry ingredients and frozen margarine. Pulse until you have a floury mixture with a crumbly oatmeal-like texture. Add in the egg yolk and coconut milk and continue to pulse until the dough starts clumping together. At this point, transfer everything in a food-safe plastic bag (so your hands don’t get doughy) and knead until the dough has fully formed. Add in more flour or almond flour if it’s too sticky, or more coconut milk if it’s too dry. Keep the dough in the bag and let it chill in the freezer for at least half an hour.
To roll out the dough, I strongly advise setting it on a sheet of parchment paper and placing another sheet on top. Then roll the pin (or in my bootleg case, a roll of plastic food bags, haha) as you would normally. Place the rolled out dough back into the freezer to chill until you’re ready to form the tart cups.
So yeah, I don’t own actual tart equipment. In the past, you’ve seen me roll the dough into balls and press them into silicone muffin cups, but this time I though I’d be a little more precise. My bootleg Taobao oven actually came with a couple of egg tart tins. I’d never actually use them for baking though, because I’m sure whatever I make would be impossible to remove from the tin in one piece. I’ve been using it instead, as a makeshift cookie/crust cutter! Yay!
Cut uniform rounds from dough and set them on silicone cups that have been turned inside out.
Flip the cups with the dough back to normal.
Using a fork, poke holes into the bottle of the crust (so the crust doesn’t get too puffy during the baking process) and cover them with a sheet of parchment paper (or aluminum).
You might notice that my “parchment” paper has a woven pattern, that’s because it’s actually a reusable sheet! Totally awesome. You can buy these on Amazon for around five bucks.
Bake the crusts at 205C/400F for around 10 minutes covered, and then maybe a minute or two more uncovered so that the crusts become a pale golden color. Remove them from the oven and let them cool
The Chocolate Custard
- one cup of milk
- half a cup of coconut milk
- two tablespoons of whipping cream
- four or five egg yolks (I generally like making tarts after I’ve made something that only requires egg whites, so use what you have available)
- a tablespoon of almond flour
- a quarter cup of chopped dark bittersweet chocolate
- a tablespoon of instant coffee
- a teaspoon of vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- lots of nutmeg (why? because chocolate and nutmeg are in my opinion forever an inseparable pair)
In a bowl over simmering water, whisk together all of the ingredients, adding them in one by one. Continue whisking through the entire process until the mixture becomes thick, smooth and glossy.
Remove the chocolate custard from the heat and let it cool with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface. This is to make sure that a skin doesn’t form.
Once fully cooled, pipe the chocolate custard (which happens to taste fantastic by itself…I may have had several servings worth…prior to the assembly process) into tart cups. You can just spoon it in too, it’s not a huge deal, I just think it looks prettier piped.
Slice up your fruit! You can use them fresh or frozen. Not a huge difference.
Arrange the toppings as you see fit. I like a little bit of asymmetry.
Most tarts have some sort of glaze to keep them looking nice and fresh. If you’re going to serve these tarts right away, skip the whole glazing process. It does nothing for the taste. If you’re going to be serving these the next day, however, add a little bit of instant gelatin in water and thinly brush the mixture over each tart.
Aren’t they pretty?
Alrighty! I’ll be working on another post for homemade macarons in the next couple of days. Actually, that was the reason I had leftover egg yolks to make these fruit tarts in the first place. A little out of order, but hey, life needs some spontaneity!
Until next time!