Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Chocolate and Raspberry Tartlets

There is something about working with pastry that always makes me feel relaxed and calm. Could it be the gentle process of rubbing butter into the flour until it resembles fine sand? Or perhaps it's the noble thought of myself making my own pastry instead of taking the shortcut by going shop-bought? Whatever it is I decided a week ago that I was going make some tartlets. I have been telling everyone in the hospital about my plan for the weekend and I simply couldn't decide between chocolate and raspberry tartlets or go with the strawberry ones.

I ended up choosing the former simply because chocolate and winter, sorry, I mean the Great British Autumn, always seem to be the perfect combination. Although strawberries are strictly speaking not in season it amazes me how the supermarkets never fail to put them up on the shelves even in the coldest months of the year.

Enough background, here are the tartlets I made last weekend:

The root recipe was taken from the book 'Pastry' by Michel Roux. I adapted it for tartlets since I don't have a proper 18cm tart ring. I'm very much a novice when it comes to pastry making and tend to find myself over-working them. That said the pastry I made last week for these tartlets was fantastic. Not the slightest bit of chewiness and literally melts in the mouth. It's also apparently the richest of all shortcrust pastries, also called pate sablée in french.

I also tried making some chocolate decorations by melting them gently in the microwave (instead of doing the full tempering) and it worked fairly well, probably due to the cold weather.

I simply spread the melted chocolate on an acetate sheet and a parchment paper and bend them as I allow them to cool and freeze briefly in the freezer. The solidified chocolate strips were then peeled off easily from the sheet/paper.

I was very pleased with how my tartlets turned out visually. The pastry, however was compromised by the liquid in the mashed rasberries that I spread at the bottom of the tart cases. I would probably just halve them next time and arrange them cut side up so that the tart cases won't absorb any moisture from the berries.


Pate Sablée or Enriched Shortcrust Pastry

250g AP flour
200g butter, slightly softened
100g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks

Make a well in the centre of the flour.
Cream butter with sugar and salt in the well with fingertips and add in the egg yolks.
Work the flour in until a dough is formed. Knead the dough 3 to 4 times until smooth. Wrap in cling film until ready to use.
Weigh out 200g of pastry and wrap the rest and freeze.

Sprinkle flour on the work surface generously and roll out pastry to the thickness of a pound coin.
Line the four tart tins.
Leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 195C.
Prick the bases with a fork and bake blind with baking beans for 12 minutes.
Remove the beans, brush the base with egg yolk and bake for a further 5 minutes to dry the bases.
Leave to cool before unmolding. 

Tart filling:

150g of raspberries
100ml double cream
80g dark chocolate
10g liquid glucose
20g butter
Mint leaves (optional)

Save 12 good looking raspberries for decoration. Halve the rest and arrange them on the base of the  tartlet cases, cut side up. Slice up a few leaves of mint and sprinkle them sparingly on the rasberries.
Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave or over double boiler.
Warm up the cream in the microwave or over a pan.
Mix the cream and chocolate together and add in the butter and liquid glucose while the mixture is still fairy warm. 
Ladle the warm chocolate ganache into the tart cases and chill until set.

Decorate the top with raspberries and any chocolate decorations that you've made. I made some arched chocolate strips and rolled chocolate wooden chips for my tartlets but you can be as creative as you like! 


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