Posted on Friday, 14th September 2012 by Grace Massa Langlois
Do you ever have one of those days when you’re feeling blue for no reason (Chocolate Cream Tartlets to the rescue)? I’ve been having one of those weeks. I think I’m experiencing the “end-of-summer” blues. And whenever I’m feeling a little down I get nostalgic and I turn to the things that comfort me. What comforts me? Old movies, good books, a little Springsteen, warm blankets and chocolate! When I was a little girl I loved pudding (still do), warm, rich, luscious chocolate pudding. Whenever I prepare this simple dessert it instantly transports me back in time to my mother’s kitchen.
It’s so easy to make because it only uses the type of ingredients you almost always have on hand, milk, cocoa, sugar, butter, and cornstarch. I usually get the craving late at night when I’m in my pajamas curled up under a warm blanket. The preparation engages all of the five senses, from the sound of grating chocolate, and sputtering bubbles just as the pudding begins to thicken to the luxurious aroma of vanilla and chocolate wafting throughout the house. It brings back forgotten memories like crushing on my older brother’s best friend or going to the movies and watching Grease for the thirteenth time.
I often wonder if the same things that awaken memories from my childhood will also awaken memories for my children. Every once in a while I get a glimpse of what might be like when I was preparing these chocolate tartlets. The sweet-spicy aroma of Roasted Saigon Cinnamon seemed to have an affect on both Liana and Matthew. Each appeared to be intrigued; the unfamiliar scent seemed to invoke the same restlessness I experienced as a child. I couldn’t help but smirk because the repeated question, “Mom is it ready yet?” immediately took me back to the times that I would tug on my mom’s apron asking the same question repeatedly because I couldn’t wait to dive in to a bowl of warm chocolate pudding.
Have you tried this gourmet spice? Saigon cinnamon or Vietnamese cinnamon is extremely intense and sweet like the flavour of red-hot cinnamon candies. Many regard it as the world’s most aromatic cinnamon. It pairs beautifully with chocolate. It’s quickly earned a spot in my spice collection along side one of my other favourites, Makara, a cinnamon variety from Indonesia. Makara cinnamon is used in the ever popular, gourmet Cinnabon rolls.
If you recall, a while back I shared my fear of losing the opportunity to purchase one of my favourite ingredients, Rodelle Vanilla Beans. I was in an absolute tizzy because my supplier, Costco, was no longer going to be stocking the product. I went on a binge-shop and bought the last of their supply. A wonderful thing happened, I found the supplier, Rodelle, on Facebook. I liked their page and I also posted a short note sharing how much I loved their product.
Shortly after posting I received a wonderful email from Deb, a representative from Rodelle. Deb noticed my post and she reached out to say thank you and she also shared information about one of their new products, Gourmet Baking Cocoa. You can’t imagine how excited I was. Let me explain, firstly, I assumed they only carried vanilla products and I was excited to learn more about their lineup of ingredients but more importantly, I had a direct connection to my coveted vanilla beans. I’ve tried other beans but I’ve not been happy with them. Although I have a large supply of beans on hand eventually I would’ve had to start experimenting with other brands, a task I didn’t relish.
Deb was amazing, she sent me a care package with a few of their ingredients, vanilla beans, pure vanilla extract, almond extract (very excited to try this) and the European gourmet baking cocoa. I was really excited about trying the Dutch-process cocoa because the options available to me locally are limited.
I thought the best way to experience the taste was through a simple chocolate pudding, a dessert with so few ingredients there would be no place to hide. This is probably the one and only time I wish I hadn’t prepared my mise en place because had I not grated my chocolate I wouldn’t have used it. Flavourful, rich and decadent everything you want in a chocolate pudding or in this case, tartlet filling. Not only does the flavour knock your socks but wow, it looked crazy good, dark, intense and tempting!
Making these dark chocolate cream tartlets checked off so many boxes for me, Roasted Saigon Cinnamon – definitely a keeper, can’t wait to try the spice in other desserts (and savoury dishes), Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa – will be using on a regular basis, embodies all the things I look for in a cocoa, and Rodelle pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract – earned its spot in my coveted vanilla cabinet. It’s amazing how one simple little tartlet can incorporate all these beautiful flavours. And as always, chocolate gave me the little boost I so desperately needed this week.
Off to indulge, one of the pudding desserts has my name all over it. Happy Weekend!
*Post Update - To all Canadian Visitor’s, Rodelle European Gourmet Cocoa can be purchased at Costco, I believe the 700 g (25 ounce) container can be purchased for about $7.50. And wonderful news, after a recent visit to Costco I am happy to report the Rodelle Vanilla Beans are back in stock!
Double-Chocolate Cream Tartlets with Roasted Saigon Cinnamon
Makes about 18 5-cm (2-inch) tartlets
- Cookie Crust
- Double Chocolate Pudding Tart Filling
- Sweetened Whipped Cream
Cookie Crust with Roasted Saigon Cinnamon
I would recommend using silicone moulds or tartlet tins with removable bottoms. The cookie crust is very delicate using tartlet pans without removable bottoms will make it very difficult to remove from the tins. After the tart crusts have completely cooled I recommend popping them in the freezer and chilling until firm. Chilling the crusts makes it quite easy to pop them out of the tins or moulds and prevents the crusts from falling apart.
- 75 g (½ cup) walnuts, toasted, cooled and finely ground
- 120 g (1 cup) graham wafer crumbs or 18 wafers
- 26 g (2 tablespoons) brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon Roasted Saigon Cinnamon (or regular cinnamon)
- 57 g (¼ cup) unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). Place tartlet tins with removable bottoms or silicone mould on rimmed baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, stir together the ground walnuts, wafer crumbs, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon until well combined.
- Add the melted butter and stir until crumb mixture is evenly moistened.
- Place one-tablespoon crumb mixture into each tartlet tin (depending on the size of your tins you may need more). Press the mixture evenly on the base and sides of the tin.
- Bake the crusts (on the baking sheet) until just beginning to colour and crust is set, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and transfer baking sheet to wire rack. Let stand until cooled completely.
- Carefully remove crusts from tartlet pans. (Please see note above, I recommend chilling the crusts in the freezer until firm before removing from tins or silicone moulds because they are very delicate. And I also recommend filling the tarts when they are firm.)
Double Chocolate Pudding Tartlet Filling
Please note the yield for the filling will be more than needed to fill the tartlets. I had enough leftover to prepare 6 spoon desserts.
- 48 g (½ cup) Dutch-processed cocoa
- 32 g (¼ cup) cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 113 g (½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 600 ml (2½ cups) whole milk
- 120 ml (½ cup) heavy (whipping) cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 4 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Using a fine mesh sieve, sift cocoa twice onto a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Then sift cocoa, cornstarch and salt into a medium-sized saucepan. Add sugar and whisk to well combine.
- Gradually whisk in about 60 to 80 ml (¼ to 1/3 cup) milk to form a smooth paste (make sure the cornstarch is dissolved).
- Gradually whisk in the remainder of the milk and then the cream. Whisk in the egg yolks until well combined.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat. Cook, constantly scraping the bottom and sides of the saucepan with a flexible rubber spatula, until thickened and bubbles begin to form around the sides of the pan, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Add the chocolate and stir until smooth (chocolate should dissolve quickly, less than a minute).
- Remove from heat; stir in the vanilla and butter.
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.
- Immediately fill tartlets (see assembly below).
Sweetened Whipped Cream
To make the task of grating the chocolate easier I recommend chilling the bar in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Sweetened whipped cream
- 43 g (1½ ounces) good quality semisweet or milk chocolate
- Fill each cookie crust with the hot filling; return each to rimmed baking sheet. Set aside and allow filling to cool completely, about 45 minutes. Then refrigerate tartlets, loosely covered, until filling is set.
- Remove tartlets from refrigerator. Transfer whipped cream to large pastry bag fitted with large tip (your choice). Pipe a mound of whipped cream in the centre of each tart. Or if you prefer, dollop a mound of whipped cream onto the centre of the tartlet with a spoon.
- To garnish, using a microplane, grate chocolate over top of the whipped cream. Serve.
- Buon Appetito!
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Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, chocolate, chocolate dessert, chocolate tart, cookie crusts, dessert, desserts, desserts for entertaining, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, individual dessert, individual desserts, Roasted Saigon Cinnamon, tartlets, tarts
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Recipes