Saturday, November 25, 2017

Chocolate-coffee tarts

It's a bit colder here in smoggy Hongkong and what better way to make or bake than good ol' pretty tarts ! Yup , cold season means it's easy to handle the otherwise troublesome pastry dough especially if you have hot hands like mine . My 4th tarts in less than 2 weeks , this chocolate version is my favourite so far .

And if you haven't made any tarts yet , shame ! There's life besides baking cupcakes and cookies , you know lol 

Tried a new pâte sucrée recipe from the Pâtisserie book ( see link below ) that I borrowed from the library and if you're into pastry making , you should really check that very informative book - it has lots of easy to follow recipes . Actually , I made that pastry last week to make a small batch of purple sweet potato mont blanc . Unused pastry dough can be frozen for up to a month , just defrost in the fridge for a while before using . The recipe listed below is good but I think the one from Bouchon Bakery book is much better , maybe because it's a bit sweeter compare to this . 

I wasn't planning on making the chocolate tarts , I want to try the strawberry-pistachio breton tart in the book but strawberries are still a bit expensive on this side of the world right now . So the next best thing to make is this tart as the filling in a no-bake , no sugar , okay , there's a bit of honey , and I can use some of my dark chocolates .

I added some coffee when I make the custard , yup , it involves cooking the custard because it has some egg yolks . The coffee taste though is muted but it sort of intensifies the flavour of chocolate ,  maybe an espresso powder next time ......

I made half recipe of the filling , the original version use an 8 1/2-inch tart ring . I thought the half recipe will nicely fit in 6-inch tart ring but my guesstimate is a bit off . Good thing that I prepared 2 extra 3-inch tart shells or else the excess filling will go to waste er to my mouth hee hee ! Another 2 3-inch tart shells would be nice though ....

If using a milk chocolate bar , chopped it finely , I didn't ! tsk tsk ! so the texture is not that smooth .

I should have strained the filling instead ...... Oh well 

Try to use a good quality chocolate , at least 60 % , it'll really makes a difference .

You can add any topping on this tart , a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream is great so as just a dusting of good quality cocoa powder . Fresh fruits though such as raspberries , strawberries and blueberries are a perfect chocolate tart topping . As pomegranate is in season and lots of it at the market right now , the seeds add a delightful flavour and texture on this tart  !

Almond pastry ( pâte sucrée ) , pg 47 , recipe adapted from Pâtisserie / William & Suzue Curley

188 g unsalted butter at room temperature
78 g icing sugar , sifted 
63 g eggs , slightly beaten
250 g plain flour , sifted 
85 g almond powder
1 g fine sea salt 

* Beat butter in a bowl until soft and smooth , add in the icing sugar , beat until smooth . Gradually add the beaten eggs , beat until well incorporated . Mix in the flour , almond flour and salt ; mix until dough is smooth homogenous mass . 

* Shape dough into a block and wrap in a cling film / plastic wrap . Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight . 

* Roll out dough into approximately 3mm thick . Use a cutter that is an inch bigger than the pastry ring/s you're using or use a knife to cut out the dough . Place a parchment paper until the mould and line with pastry dough , gently pressing the bottom and along the sides of the tart ring , trim excess dough . If the dough turns a bit soft , freeze for about 5 minutes . Prick the base of the pastry using a fork . Freeze for 1 hour . 

* Preheat oven 180ºC . Blind bake for 19 minutes , take out tarts from the oven , carefully remove the ceramic weights then bake tarts again for 3 minutes for the 3-inch tarts , and 6 minutes for the 6-inch tart . Let tarts cool before removing the moulds .

*** Pastry can be kept refrigerated for 3 days and frozen for 1 month . 

*** I used 241 grams of pastry dough in making 1 6x3/4-inch and 2 3x1/2-inch tarts plus some scraps 

Chocolate filling  , page 89 ,  recipe adapted from The New Pâtissiers with slight modifications 

105 g ( UHT ) milk 
105 g whipping cream ( 35 % )
20 grams honey
8 grams ( UCC ) coffee granules
40 grams egg yolks
100 g dark chocolate ( a combination of 60-70% Callebaut callets )
50 grams milk chocolate ( organic Green & Black's milk chocolate with sea salt ) , see photo below 

some cherry preserves to spread on the pastry base before pouring in the chocolate filling ,  optional

* In a small saucepan , heat the milk , cream , honey and coffee over medium heat . Beat egg yolks until light and smooth . When milk mixture starts to steam , gently pour milk mixture gradually into egg yolks , stirring as you pour to prevent the curdling . Pour back milk-egg mixture into the saucepan and continue to cook over medium heat until it thickens and the temperature of the custard has reach 176ºF .

* Pour the custard over the dark and milk chocolate , stir thoroughly with a balloon whisk until a mayonnaise-like consistency is achieved . Spread some preserves on the pastry base and  immediately pour into the tart shell . Chill in the fridge until set . 

Garnishes : 

Fresh raspberries
Fresh blueberries 
Pomegranate seeds 
Mint leaves
Icing sugar 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Spiced apple two-bite tartlets

There's a nip in the air ....

Ho ! Ho! Ho! 

How's your Christmas shopping so far ?

Don't forget to buy something for yourself , okay ?! 

Got time in your hands and apples lurking in the fridge ?

This is my go-to recipe whenever I get tired of eating fresh apples . An apple a day ? Bah , humbug ! 😬 I usually make these tartlets several times a year but there's something about eating apples and pecans during colder months .

These tartlets are very easy to make , dough is pressed directly into the muffin pan instead of roll, cut and press version . It's better though to use individual tart tins instead of using the mini muffin pan , yeah , making these 24 tart shells took me a million years to finish . This is the first time that I used mini muffin pan in baking these tarts so I struggled a bit pressing in those dough . That said , this pecan dough is forgiving and even if you manhandled it , crust is still delightfully light and crisp .

I tweaked the filling a bit as my first spiced apple tartlets didn't have enough filling to go around . You can use all Granny Smith apples but a combination of sweet and sour apples is perfect for this recipe .

Leftovers can stored in an airtight container and chill in the fridge . Chilled tarts should be eaten straight from the fridge and shouldn't be left at room temperature or the crust will turn soggy . 

Recipe adapted here

Crust : ( makes 332 grams cookie dough ) 

57 grams sugar 
57 grams butter , softened
28 grams ( rice bran ) oil 
17 grams milk 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
126 grams plain flour
45 grams pecans , toasted and finely chopped 

* Lightly butter 2 12-cavity mini muffin pans , set aside .

* In a mixing bowl , combine the first 6 ingredients ( from sugar to salt ) , using a whisk , beat until mixture is light and fluffy . Add in the flour and pecans and mix until just combined .

* Divide dough evenly or weigh , @ 13-14 grams each , and press into the prepared pans . If your dough is bit loose / a bit wet to handle , chill in the fridge for 30 minutes . 

* Freeze for 1 hour ( optional , this will prevent the dough from shrinking and puffing ) 

* Preheat oven to 180ºC . Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown . Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing each tart from the pan . Cool completely before using . 

Filling : 

2 Gala apple , peeled and diced 
1 Granny Smith , peeled and diced 
2 tsp lime juice
40 grams sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp allspice powder
4 grams finely minced ginger 
15 grams butter 

1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water 

some Greek yogurt 
some chopped pecans

* Combine diced apples and lime juice in a bowl , toss to coat , add in sugar and the next 4 ingredients ( through ginger ) , mix thoroughly .

* Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat ; add apple mixture . When mixture starts to simmer , cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes , stirring occasionally . Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl , add it to the apple mixture . Cook for about 1-2 minutes until mixture thickens . Transfer into a bowl and let cool completely before using . 

To assemble the tartlets : 

* Spoon a teaspoonful of spiced apples mixture into each tart shells , pipe or add in some yogurt on top . Add in pecan pieces ( optional ) . Serve immediately . Store leftover tarts in an airtight container and chill in the fridge .

Make ahead : 

* Bake the crust / shells and make the filling a day ahead . Store pastry shells into an airtight container at room temperature and chill spiced apple mixture into the fridge , taking out 30 minutes before using during colder days or serve chilled during summer .