Monday, August 27, 2007

Mondays with Maida - Chocolate Tartlets

Chocolate Tartlets
Page 246 in the old book / page 267 in the new book

I started worrying about this chapter some time back. One reason was that the cookies looked more difficult, but another was I didn't have some of the required equipment. I started hunting around for tartlet pans and wasn't having much luck when Santos kindly volunteered that the sort of thing I was looking for was readily available in Manila and that she'd be happy to get some for me on her next visit. She was true to her word and before long I was in possession of a boat-load of beautiful little boat-shaped tartlet pans as well as some smaller but deeper round pans (like tiny brioche pans).

These Chocolate Tartlets require half-inch-deep pans so I put those pretty little bateaux to good use and also used the plain round pans that I'd gotten for the Fudge Délices. The recipe actually calls for smaller pans, but I found these worked very well with no change in the timing needed. My pans were about twice the size of those called for, and I got 35 good-sized tartlets with a little pastry dough leftover.

One nice thing about using larger pans is that it takes less time to make a batch of these :) Mixing the pastry dough and filling is very simple. Pressing the dough into the pans isn't difficult, but it is a little tedious and does take time. The only tricky part when making these tartlets is removing them from the pans. Don't worry though, they don't stick and if you're reasonably careful they'll come out perfectly. Maida describes the process like this: "...invert each mold into the palm of your hand and, with a fingernail of the other hand, gently release and remove the mold." The trick here is to use your fingernail to pry the pan away from the cookie, not the other way around. If you try to pull at the cookie with your fingernail, you'll just break away a piece of the crust. While prying the pan with your fingernail, use your thumb and forefinger on the other hand to sort of gently encourage the tartlet out of the mold. Once you get one, you'll know exactly how to do it.

Denny's out this week - wouldn't you know it'd be a chocolate cookie he missed. Here's the panel...

Suzanne: "This was an unusual cookie since it was like a chewy chocolate brownie in a tart shell. I just found out that there were ground almonds in the brownie. The ground almonds were so fine that I couldn’t taste them and I kept thinking the whole time I was eating the tart that chopped almonds would have been an added treat. Rating - 4.0"

Laura: "Yum! This is a moist tasty brownie in a flaky tart shell. Moist and delicious. Fab! Rating - 4.5"

Terri: "These are outstanding! The chocolate filling with ground almonds is delicious and the pie crust-like shell is perfect. the only addition might be some whipped cream for the top! Rating - 5.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 4.5

Next week - Almond Tartlets

Nutrition Facts


santos. said...

i've been waiting to see those pans put to use! i wonder if the cookie's texture would have changed if you used a smaller pan...perhaps become less chewy and more crispy? i can't imagine it, though.

i hope you get to use the pans again!

Nupur said...

More baby pies! And these look just as adorable! How delicious. These are great for portion control, Cathy, as long as you don't eat five of them, anyway :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent instructions on separating the mold/pan from the cookies. I can't tell you how many times I've pulled the cookie away with my fingernail and broken the cookie. And broken down in tears...

Cathy said...

Hi Santos thanks again so much! I really do like the shape of these. I think you're right that the smaller ones might bake up to have a firmer shell, but the filling is supposed to be chewy. I've already used the pans again - more tartlets next week!

Hi Nupur! Yes indeed (and yet more next week!). For the well-disciplined these might be good for portion control, but I have anecdotal evidence from my office that it doesn't always work :)

Hi Mari - thanks! I had some trouble at first too and was beginning to think they weren't going to come out of the pans. Fortunately I figured it out before getting to the point of tears and before messing up more than I could eat :P