Absolute Chocolate Tartlets Recipe

Absolute Chocolate Tartlets

[Absolute Chocolate Tartlets]

I could have met my friends Marie-Laure and Laurence at a Chocoholics Anonymous meeting, so when they came over for dinner last night, I decided I would treat them to Absolute Chocolate Tartlets.

Mini Cookbook of French Tarts

The recipe comes from one of my cookbooks, called Je Veux du Chocolat! (“I want chocolate!”) by Trish Deseine – another much cherished present from Maxence. In the book, it is called “Tarte Absolue” and is made as one big tart, but I love making single-serving things, especially desserts, and I wanted to use the little tartlet molds I had bought at E. Dehillerin two weeks ago : fluted edged, non-stick, with removable bottoms.

This is a pretty time-consuming dessert to make, but it’s a lot of fun, and the result is way worth it!

The first step is to make chocolate pie dough. The book gives a recipe that involves egg yolks, but I prefer to rely on my mother’s foolproof recipe for “pâte sablée”. The basic recipe is this : in a food processor, mix 170 g of flour with 85 g of sugar. Then add 85 g of butter (or equal parts margarine and butter, but I very rarely have margarine in the house) straight from the fridge, cut in small cubes. When that’s well blended, add 2 tablespoons of milk and blend again. You should obtain coarse sand. Dump the whole thing in a 28 cm pie dish and press/pack the dough with your fingers so it lines the whole dish. And there you go, pie dough! Notice how you avoided the whole “roll out dough on a flat surface, give it a round shape and transfer in dish” nightmare? I love this recipe, it results in a delicious crust that has just the right texture : slightly crumbly, crunchy outside, chewy inside. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the last pie dough recipe I’ll ever need (except of course to make tarte tatin, but that’s another story).

Here, I scaled the recipe down to use 120 g of flour, 60 g of sugar and 60 g of butter), and removed a heaping tablespoon of flour, replacing it with the same weight of unsweetened cocoa powder. I lined my 3 tartlets with the dough, placed circles of parchment paper and ceramic baking weights on them, and baked them at 200°C (400°F) for 10 minutes. They were then turned out on a rack to cool.

When they were cool, I melted 40 g of Valrhona baking chocolate in the microwave and glazed the shells using a pastry brush. They were then put in the fridge so the chocolate would turn solid.

In the meantime, I prepared the chocolate caramel sculptures to be placed on the tartlets. I melted 50 g of sugar in a small non stick saucepan. When it had completely caramelized, I added a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa and mixed thoroughly. Using a small spoon, I poured caramel on my silicon baking sheet, drawing shapes. Word Of Advice #1 : do this fast, because as the caramel cools down and thickens, it gets more difficult to draw pretty shapes. Word Of Advice #2 : think ahead what shapes you want to draw, otherwise you’ll end up with a bunch of blobs for lack of inspiration in the heat of the moment (look at the weird ones on the right). Word Of Advice #3 : you want shapes that will hold their own on the tartlets, so it’s a good idea to make them balanced, with a flat section they can stand on.

Next step : chocolate ganache. I heated 100 ml of “crème fleurette” (not sure what the American equivalent to that would be. It’s also called “crème liquide”, and it’s what you use to make crème chantilly as well. Does anyone know?). When it was hot (the first teeny bubble had appeared) I poured it on 150 g of chocolate broken into small pieces, and mixed thoroughly with a fork. I added 2 egg yolks, then 40 g of butter, making sure no lumps of butter remained. All this resulted in a luscious looking thick chocolate cream, which I poured in the tartlet shells. Each of them was then adorned with one of the least blob-like caramel shapes (and that’s when Word Of Advice #3 above would have come in handy) and they were put in the fridge for the ganache to set (and stayed there until about 15 minutes before serving). I did have some ganache leftover after filling the 3 shells, so next time I would use about 3/4 of every ingredient, but I’m not sure how I would deal with the half yolk that this would have me use… And then again, whoever heard of such a thing as too much ganache?

So there you have it, Absolute Chocolate Tartlets : chocolate pie dough, thin layer of pure chocolate, thick layer of creamy chocolate ganache, topped with a crunchy chocolate caramel decoration, that you can nibble on between bites. Four contrasting textures, four different interpretations of the same glorious flavor, united in one perfect dessert.

My little creations did make quite an impression on my friends, who – to my delight – deemed them worth of an excellent professional pâtissier (they certainly know how to make sure they get asked over for dinner again, don’t they? :).

If – like me – you can’t get enough pictures of these tartlets, here are more : closeups of the chocolate glazed shells here and here, and pictures of the finished product here and here.

  • Angela

    I think that la crème fleurette equates to single cream in UK terms. Creme Fleurette has approx 15% fat and single cream has between 10 and 20% depending on the brand.

    I guess the closest US cream would be light cream, or maybe you could mix some half&half with a splash of heavy cream to up the fat percentage?

    I’m dying to try making these tonight… I absolutely adore your blog!

  • Angela – Regular crème fleurette is actually 30 to 35% fat, it’s the reduced fat crème fleurette that’s 15%… And I think in the US, the equivalent is what they call “whipping cream”?

    I’m thrilled you like the blog and the tartlets! They were one of my favorite baking projects… Let me know how it goes if you make them!

  • Hi,
    I introduce a kind of chocolate pie made in Korea.
    It is called as ” chocopie ” manufactured by Orion confectionery.
    Some glutinous mushmellow is between chocolate and pie.
    I like it. It is being exported toward foreign countries such as Russia, China, etc.
    If possible, next time, I’ll give you a chance of tasting it.

  • chocobird

    dare i say that the pictures brought me near tears? oh, Clotilde, what decadence!

  • Clotilde,

    i’ve been reading for some time but have never felt so compelled to respond until now: can i say that those pictures brought me near tears?

  • B Adcock

    Clothilde is right that creme fleurette would be heavy cream or whipping cream in the U.S.

    The clue came when you said it would be used to make creme chantilly. We Americans use whipping cream (or heavy cream, not much difference in butterfat between them) to make chantilly cream.

    Love the site and the recipes!

  • loissharon

    Your blog is the best and congratulations for winning blog awards.

    How does a metric-challenged US cook apply your recipes into US weights?

    Thank you.

  • loissharon – In the upper right-hand corner of C&Z, under “features”, you have a link called “Conversions” where I give a few handy equivalents…

  • Daniel

    Here’s a translation from english to french explaining creme fleurette:
    It’s not a cream per se but a label used by milk pros and chefs to designate a fresh cream that never received any treatment or pasteurization. The word has also been used to name the create that is automatically formed on top of flat milk. ( Milk that never got shaked )

  • Cassie

    What kind of chocolate would you use in making the ganache?

  • MM

    I just wanted you to know that I made this today and it worked a treat despite me forgetting stuff, halving stuff and then having stuff! Hope you do not mind I referred to your link in my post about my misadventures making this.

  • barb

    I have tried those and it was a disaster! Well, not a complete disaster since the topping was good, but the pie dough…!!! I was first appealed by its simplicity but it turned out to be as hard as a rock. I had made one big tart and it was impossible to cut slices… We ended up eating the ganache with a spoon (not too much, it is quite heavy) and then gave up. Sometimes if you tried really hard you could get some crumbles (yummy I must admit), but I still don’t know how I am gonna clean my pan, it is totally sticked!! I am really disappointed. I will definitely give it another try, but using my own more difficult pie dough recipe

  • Molly

    Oh my goodness gracious. I made these tonight and they were possibly the best thing I’ve made all year. They were wonderfully rich but not heavy, they didn’t taste just like a blob of chocolate like I had feared, the ganache wasn’t the conventional chocolate taste, it was just.. lovely. And they sure weren’t ugly, either! These won’t last long in my fridge, I made 6 and already 3 are gone. Fantastic.

  • Katy

    I’ve been on a cooking binge and so seem to be commenting a lot! I’ll slow down soon. Having come into an 11# block of bittersweet chocolate recently, I’ve been experimenting, and so went to this chocolate thread on your site. I just made a enormously successful “chocolate truffle tart” (recipe from somewhere online), and the crust is very similar to your wonderful stand-by, Clotilde, but it called for a 1/2 cup of ground nuts, too. It was wonderful, texture was perfect – it was the kind of crust where guests enjoyed after-dinner conversation while slowly picking up crust crumbs with a licked thumb. The ganache, which was simply called “filling,” (we can be so boring) used the talked-about 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream to 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 12 oz. of chocolate (called for semi-sweet morsels, but I whacked of a square of my bittersweet block), and it added 2 tablespoons of a seedless fruit jam. Yum! I made it in a square tart pan, and it was wonderful.

  • Anaxuxu

    Seems delicious and “french”.
    Translate to portuguese and will do it pretty soon.

  • Sophie

    L’equivalent de la creme fleurette aux Etats-Unis serait la “heavy whipping cream”.

    Longue vie a C&Z !

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