Xtreme Chocolate Tartlet
I developed this chocolate-crust chocolate tartlet for my food column in the South End News a few years ago, for a Valentine's day piece about the foods of love. Recently my friend Joe introduced me to an incredible local chocolate maker, Cacao, and in particular to their "Mayan" chocolate truffle, which intensifies the chocolate taste with cayenne pepper.
Xtreme Chocolate Tartlet
Makes 4 tartlets (4" diameter)
Health note: If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes this is unfortunately a dish you will probably want to pass up, or taste in an extremely limited portion. It was conceived as a decadent dessert to be part of a Valentine's Day dinner, an occasion when, in the interest of love, caution is traditionally thrown to the wind. But at 886 calories and 116 grams of carbohydrates it's dynamite if you're trying to control weight and glucose. It's presented here because a) I was in denial about my pre-diabetes when I made it, so can't be blamed ;-) ; and b) it's damn good, and not all my readers have glucose issues; and 3) because, glucose or not, some people will need a decadent dessert for that special evening – for which it's perfect!Preheat oven to 350º. In food processor, blend 1 cup of the flour, brown sugar, 1 oz of the chocolate and a pinch of salt until finely chopped. Cut 6 T butter into chunks and add to the processor bowl. Pulse a few times until the mixture is like corn meal. Add 2 T water and one teaspoon vanilla and pulse again to mix. The dough will be crumbly. Press dough into ramekins or individual tart pans to make a thick crust (about 1/8"). Freeze 30 minutes, then bake until crust is just set and starting to brown, about 6 - 8 minutes. This can be done ahead of time and kept covered in the refrigerator. 1 cup + 3 T flour
2 T brown sugar
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 T espresso ground to a fine powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
10 T unsalted butter chilled
2 T water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped nuts if desired
1/2 cup strawberry or raspberry preserves
Stir remaining butter and chocolate over low heat until melted. Allow to cool for five minutes. Combine eggs, sugar, remaining vanilla and pinch of salt and beat 'til smooth and slightly lighter in color. Fold in chocolate mixture, then the remaining flour, the coffee powder, cayenne and optional nuts. Stir to mix and fill ramekins or tins about 2/3 full. Bake about 25 - 30 minutes, until filling puffs but tester still comes out wet. Allow the tartlets to cool just 'til you can handle them, then run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the crust and gently unmold the tartlets onto separate plates. Heat the preserves 'til liquefied, then strain and spoon into the center of the tartlet. Allow to cool another five minutes before serving. May be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator, but serve at room temperature or warmer. Whipped cream, a small scoop of ice cream or a couple of fresh berries go nicely with this intense treat.