February 21st, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

Well hurray for more chocolate in the month of Februray.  No snow in the Northeast but plenty of rich chocolate desserts.  I am happy to be co-hosting this week with the lovely Steph of a Whisk and a Spoon, Jessica of Cookbookhabit and Jaime of Good Eats n’ Sweet Treats.  

These tartlets can also be baked as one large tart, which was good because I am not allowing myself to buy any more bakingware.  No more room in the cabinets! I used amaretti instead of biscotti in the tart and I’m glad I did.  The amaretto taste really came through. I left most of the tart at my brother’s house and he proclaimed that the tart made his week, and noting that the amaretto made it.

The day I baked this, I cut into the tart while it was a little too warm (although waiting the recipe’s prescribed 20 minutes) and it looked less than perfect. That night the amaretti has a soft crunch which was a nice contrast to the rich and creamy filling.  I have to say, though, that I really enjoyed the tart the next day after some time in the fridge.  I love how the cold makes chocolate taste somehow richer and softer at the same time.  

Take a look at Julia in action and some of the wonderful recipes to come (I can’t wait to make the recipe Julia cries over, that has to be amazing!).

Chocolate Truffle Tartlets
recipe by David Ogonowski

1 recipe Chocolate Dough (recipe below), well chilled

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup sugar
2 oz. white chocolate, cut into small dice
2 oz. milk chocolate, cut into small dice
4 biscotti, homemade or store-bought (you can use amaretti di Saronno), chopped

Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and keep at hand. Remove the bottoms from six 4 ½-inch fluted tartlet pans (or use pans with permanent bottoms and just plan to pop the tartlet out once they’re filled, baked, and cooled); spray the pans with vegetable oil or brush with melted butter.

Cut the dough into 6 even pieces. Working with one piece at a time, shape the dough into a rough circle, then tamp it down with a rolling pin. Flour the work surface and the top of the dough and roll it into a circle about 1/8 to ¼- inch thick. As you roll, lift the dough with the help of a dough scraper to keep it from sticking. If the dough breaks (as it sometimes does), press it back together and keep going-it will be fine once it’s baked. Fit the dough into a tartlet ring, pressing it into the fluted edges and cutting the top level with the edges of the pan. Again, patch as you go. Use a pastry brush to dust off any excess flour and place the lined tartlet ring on the prepared baking pan.

Chilling the Crusts: When all of the shells are rolled out, chill them for at least 20 minutes.

Baking the Crusts: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Prick the bottoms of the crusts all over with the tines of a fork and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the crusts are dry, blistery, and firm. Transfer the baking pan to a rack so that the crusts can cool while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

Making the Filling: Bring an inch of water to the simmer in a saucepan. Put the butter and bittersweet chocolate in a large metal bowl and place the bowl over the saucepan-don’t let the metal bowl touch the water. Allow the chocolate and butter to melt slowly, stirring from time to time, as you work on the rest of the filling. Remove the chocolate from the heat when it is melted and allow it to cool until it is just slightly warmer than room temperature.

Put the yolks and vanilla extract in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl. Using the whisk or a hand-held mixer, start beating the yolks at medium speed and them, when they are broken up, reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat the yolks and sugar until the yolks thicken and form a slowly dissolving ribbon when the beater is lifted.

Spoon about one third of the yolks onto the cooled chocolate mixture and fold them in with a rubber spatula. Don’t worry about being too thorough. Pour the chocolate into the beaten yolks and gently fold the two mixtures together until they are almost completely blended. Add the cubed chocolates and biscotti, folding to incorporate the chunky pieces.

Baking the Tartlets: Using an ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measure, divide the filling evenly among the cooled shells. Smooth the filling with a small offset spatula, working it into the nooks and crannies as you circle the tops of the tarts. Bake the tarts for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops look dry and the filling is just set. Remove to a rack to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

Storing: Best the day they’re made, these are still terrific after they’ve been refrigerated—they lose their textual finesse, but the taste is still very much there. For longer keeping, wrap the tartlets airtight and freeze them for up to a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.