Friday, April 25, 2008

Melting Chocolate Cookie Tartlets

Melting Chocolate Cookie Tartlets

Melting Chocolate Cookie Tartlets

I've been working through some untried recipes in Bittersweet. I had some tartlet crusts in the freezer and I filled them with this chocolate/nut meringue mixture.

I like this filling; it's easy to assemble, intensely chocolate flavored, and studded with chopped pecans. It doesn't have that crunchy, chalky meringue texture. I had extra filling left over, so I scooped piles onto a cookie sheet and baked them. This worked fine, and I enjoyed eating the cookies.

Next time I think i'll pipe the filling into the tart shells. I might put more filling in too; it has structure, so there's no danger of spilling.

Melting Chocolate Cookie Tartlets
adapted from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet

For the crust:
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour

For the filling:
6oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (50-62%. For 64-66%, use 5 oz)
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnutes

Eight 4in tartlet pans, or 10 3.5in tartlet pans. (I used 12 very small tartlet tins and still had filling left over)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.

To make the crust: Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the flour and mix just until well blended. Don't worry if the dough seems too soft. Divide the dough into 8-10 equal pieces. Press one piece of dough very thinly and evenly across the bottom and up the sides of each tartlet pan. Place the pans on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a deep golden brown.

While the crusts are baking, make the filling: Melt the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set in a wide skillet of barely simmering water, or in the microwave. Remove from the heat and stir until completely melted.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form when you lift the beaters. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Pour the nuts and all of the warm chocolate over the egg whites and fold with a rubber spatula until the color of the batter is uniform.

As soon as the tartlet crusts are ready, divide the filling equally among them. Make sure the batter touches the crust around all the edges. Return to the oven and bake the filling until it is dry or slightly cracked on top, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.

To unmold, use the point of a paring knife to loosen one edge of the crust from the pan, then tip the tarts into your hand. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Variations: Fold in 2 oz of crystallized ginger, finely chopped; 4 oz moist prunes, chopped into 1/4in pieces; 4 oz candied chestnuts, chopped. You can also substitute other nuts, like pine nuts.


Patricia Scarpin said...

Lisa, these look so yummy - I love the idea of a nutty chocolatey meringue, especially if it's so beautifully encased.

Christina said...

I know what I'm making next week!