CHOCOHOLIC! Yes, I’m one of the millions who belong to this club. Give me a dessert menu, and I’ll choose the chocolate creation every time. Look in my kitchen cupboards and you’ll find a shelf dedicated to cooking chocolates– bittersweet, semi-sweet, 60 % to 85 %, cocoa powder. Take a peek in our guest bedroom and you’ll see a bowl of chocolate kisses set out for overnight company. Oh, and when traveling I always tuck a few dark chocolate bars into my hand luggage—so calming during turbulence on bumpy flights!
So as Valentine Day’s approaches, you can imagine my delight in dreaming up new chocolate treats. This year I plan to make dark chocolate tartlets with dark chocolate “perles.” So what are “chocolate “perles” (pearls in French) you may ask?
They are petite chocolate balls slightly smaller than pomegranate seeds that add crunch to recipes. I first discovered these morsels in chocolate desserts in Paris. Recently, though, I found Valrhona “perles” in my local Whole Foods, and happily added them to the tartlets.
To keep things simple, I used mini-fillo cups for the tart shells and sprinkled some “perles” in them. A filling prepared with bittersweet chocolate took only minutes to assemble and then spoon into the tarts before they were baked. A swirl of whipped cream and more chocolate “perles” made perfect garnishes for these bite-sized Valentine sweets. Happy Valentine Day to all my readers!
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Dark Chocolate Tartlets with Dark Chocolate “Perles”
2 oz bittersweet chocolate (60 % ), finely chopped
4 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
2 large egg yolks
1 whole large egg
1 tbsp sugar
About 3 tbsp dark chocolate crunch perles (See market note.)
22 mini-fillo cups, defrosted
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream, whipped until firm
1.Arrange a rack at the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over but not touching a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl combine the egg yolks, egg, and sugar. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat until the mixture has thickened, is lighter in color, and forms a ribbon when the mixer is lifted, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, and very gradually beat in the melted chocolate mixture until incorporated.
4. Arrange the fillo cups on a rimmed baking sheet and spoon 1/4 teaspoon of the dark chocolate perles in each cup. Then fill each cup generously with spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture. (You may have a little chocolate mixture left over.)
5. Bake tartlets until just set, only 5 minutes. Remove and cool 10 minutes. (Tarts can be prepared 1 day ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature 1 hour before serving.)
6. Either spoon a small dollop of the whipped cream on top of each tart or pipe a rosette with a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Sprinkle each tart with 1/4 teaspoon of dark chocolate perles. Place on a serving plate. Serve remaining whipped cream in a separate bowl. Makes 22 tartlets
Market note: Dark chocolate “perles” (French for pearls) are available in different chocolate flavorings at Whole Foods. I used the dark chocolate “crunchy” ones for these tarts. The little balls or pearls add great crunch to any dessert. You can also find them online.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2017