Inspirations can come at the most unexpected moments. And the inspiration for these tarts came from a video a friend sent me earlier this week of a pastry chef lining a bunch of tart rings. I saw the video at least 5 times in a row and felt the strangest urge to line tart rings! This is the perfect opportunity to finally try out a chocolate tart dough recipe from the same friend. And it was surprisingly easy to handle compared to my previous tart attempts. Keeps its shape nicely and did not compromise on taste!
Here I lined the tart shell with a layer of dark chocolate hazelnut feulletine, followed by a layer of praline crème pâtissière. A generous dollop of chocolate crème pâtissière is then piped onto the tart, finished with Pierre Hermé’s delicious coffee ganache.
Makes 4 x 8cm tarts
For the chocolate tart dough (makes enough for 10 to 12 tarts)
141g cold unsalted butter, cubed
150g fine granulated sugar
2g fleur de sel
1 large egg
1 large egg white
310g plain flour
50g unsweetened cocoa powder
4g baking powder
1) Put butter, sugar and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer, and using the paddle attachment beat until mixture has paled.
2) Add the egg and egg white and continue mixing, scraping down to ensure eggs are well incorporated.
3) Whisk flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together in a separate bowl, then, mix into the wet ingredients. Fold in by hand until just combined.
4) Scrap mixture onto a large sheet of cling wrap and press together to form a dough. Wrap tightly and chill for at least an hour before rolling.
5) Line tart rings then blind bake with aluminium foil in pre-heated convection oven of 175C for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 5 to 7 minutes until tart shells have dried.
For the hazelnut praline paste
250g hazelnuts, blanched
250g granulated sugar
1) Preheat oven to 180C.
2) Spread hazelnuts evenly on a baking tray, and toast in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned.
3) Dry caramelise the sugar in a large saucepan.
4) Cook caramel until a dark amber color, then add the nuts into the saucepan.
5) Stir to nuts to coat them evenly in caramel.
6) Pour caramelised nuts onto a silicon pad and allow to cool to room temperature.
7) Break into pieces and process in a food processor until it became a paste. This might take around 10 minutes. It is advisable to allow the food processor to rest at the halfway point to ensure it does not overheat.
For the feuilletine crunch
40g dark chocolate couverture
90g hazelnut praline paste
20g roasted, chopped hazelnuts
40g feuilletine flakes
1) Melt the white chocolate and hazelnut praline paste over a Bain Marie and mix until smooth.
2) Gently stir in the chopped hazelnuts and feuilletine flakes.
3) Divide them equally between the tart shells and line an even layer on the bottom of each shell.
For the crème pâtissière
250g whole milk
2 large egg yolks
35g granulated sugar
20g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.
2) In a bowl, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk until well-mixed.
3) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.
4) Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil.
5) Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat). The mixture should have thicken, Do not overcook.
6) Remove cream mixture from heat and pour it into a large bowl. Allow to cool to < 50C.
7) Add butter to the cream and stir to melt.
8) Split cream into 2 equal portions.
For the praline crème pâtissière
1/2 portion of crème pâtissière above
50g hazelnut praline paste
1) Fold hazelnut praline paste into crème pâtissière.
For the chocolate crème pâtissière
1/2 portion of crème pâtissière above
50g dark chocolate couverture, melted
1) Fold melted dark chocolate into crème pâtissière.
2) Allow to set in the refrigerator overnight.
For the coffee ganache
195g white chocolate couverture
140g heavy cream
15g ground coffee
1) In a saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a light boil and add the ground coffee. Immediately strain it through a fine-mesh sieve.
2) Place the white chocolate into a bowl.
3) Pour one third of the coffee infused cream into the white chocolate and mix starting from the center outwards. Repeat twice for the remaining cream.
4) Mix with a hand blender until smooth.
5) Refrigerate overnight.
1) The night before, prepare and bake the tart shells.
2) Prepare the crème pâtissière, followed by both chocolate and praline version.
3) Divide the feuilletine crunch between the tart shells then fill it with the praline crème pâtissière.
4) The next day, pipe a generous blob of thechocolate crème pâtissière on each tart, covering about half of the tart.
5) Whip the chilled coffee ganache until stiff peaks, then, pipe it around the blob of chocolate crème pâtissière.
I absolutely love the coffee ganache. I was initially sceptical as I was not sure how well coffee would go with white chocolate. Now I can safely say, it goes very well indeed. This recipe makes more ganache than required, but I am sure that is not an issue.
I would have liked the praline crème pâtissière to be more pronounced though. I had difficulty tasting the hazelnuts in the tart, which was probably overwhelmed by the coffee. I guess I will need to experiment further on how best to incorporate the 2 elements. The chocolate crème pâtissière here serves to bring the coffee and praline together and comes across rather mild.