A Zest for Chocolate Truffle Tarts

Hello again. We’re back for Week 2. This week is Chocolate Truffle Tartlets. Can we say, “Yum!” Yes, we can. However, there are two problems.

First of all, it’s only the second week and I’m already breaking my pledge to do the recipes exactly as written. I don’t have tartlet tins and I’m too cheap thrifty to buy them. I do have a 9″ tart pan, though. So I made one big tart.

Second, I am a pastry-phobe. Pie dough and I are not friends. It shrinks, it falls apart, or it bakes up as tough as shoe leather. My mom has made hundreds, maybe thousands, of great pies; but her daughter just doesn’t have the knack. So I took the tart on the road and baked with Mom. The more, the merrier, right?

I made the dough ahead of time at my house. I used the food processor. I put the dry ingredients in the processor bowl, gave them a whirl and then scattered the butter on top.

Then I pulsed, just until it came together. I was careful not to overwork it.

I poured the crumbs out on the countertop. At this point, the recipe asks you to smear small portions of the dough with the heel of your hand. I knew I’d seen this somewhere before, this technique is called “fraisage” from the French for “to knead.” She describes it this way: “…butter and flour crumbs for pastry are smeared with the heel of the hand to incorporate them together. This technique is especially desirable when making doughs that have a high fat content. Since electrical appliances easily overwork doughs, pastry finished by hand using the fraisage method ensures a tender pastry.” Kneading? I know how to do that. Maybe we’re getting somewhere.

From crumbs, to halfway finished, to final dough, ready to be wrapped and refrigerated. That wasn’t so hard!

Off to Mom’s to roll out and bake the tart. Mom had lots of good advice. She gave me her silicone rolling mat to use and said don’t be afraid to use enough flour. She also told me to get the tart pan right next to the dough. The less you have to move the dough, the better. It did rip a little anyway, but we just patched it back together and baked it.

On to the filling! I used almond biscotti, since I couldn’t find amaretti. I melted the dark chocolate and the butter in the microwave (very slowly!) I almost never bother with a double-boiler, since the microwave is quick and easy. Be sure to use a glass or ceramic bowl. No plastic! I like my chocolate without chemicals, thank you very much. After I beat the egg yolks, vanilla and sugar together, I gently folded them together with the chocolate. I just remembered. I left all those egg whites in the fridge at Mom’s house. (Now they’re her problem. Sorry, Mom!)

I folded in the white and milk chocolate and the chopped biscotti and baked it. The 9″ tart took about 18 minutes. I was afraid it would ooze out everywhere after we cut it, but it was fine.

I served it with strawberries and whipped cream. (Mom had vanilla ice cream with her slice.) We both thought it was terrific and not really that tough to do. Be warned! This is a seriously chocolatey dessert. This is probably too rich for kids and maybe some adults.

I admit that I had a slice for breakfast this morning. It was perfect with coffee.