Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Starry Night Tarts

I am having some weird issues with uploading my photos, but I was able to get this one on here with a bit of struggle.

Anyhow, I was in the mood to make tarts or pie.  Since it is just the two of us, I decided that these little tarts would be a good idea. Less mess and less waste than a large pie or tart. Individual servings are also pretty easy to store.  

The cookie-type pastry is filled with a rich chocolate filling and topped with a tasty vanilla cream.  The chocolate part is more like a pudding than a stiff chocolate pie and the vanilla bean in the cream and pastry crusty really adds a delicious contrast.

I served a few just after dinner and they were quite tasty.  However, these are elegant enough to serve to guests at a party or special occasion. This recipe makes 6-4 1/2 inch tarts.

Starry Night Tarts
by Flourtrader

1/2 tsp ground vanilla beans
1 cup flour
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbs milk
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter, cubed and frozen

2 cups milk
2 tbs water
1/4 tsp ground vanilla beans
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs plus 1 1/2 tsp cocoa
2 tbs plus 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp butter

Ingredients/Cream Topping
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs heavy cream
4 1/2 tsp milk
2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin
1/2 cup heavy cream-whipped
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp ground vanilla beans

To make the crust, butter the inside of your 6 tart pans and set aside.

In a medium size bowl, sift the flour, sugar, ground vanilla and salt together.  Then place in a food processor and ad the frozen butter cubes.  Pulse processor on and off about 15 times.  Then add 1 tsp milk and pulse again.  Continue to add a teaspoon of milk and pulse until dough is formed.  I had to add about 1 tablespoon of milk total.

One the correct consistency is reached, divide dough into 4 pieces.  Place each piece in between waxed paper and roll each piece until it is about 7 inches in diameter.  Put rolled dough in freezer for 10 minutes.  Remove on piece and run your hands over the top and bottom of the wax paper to make the dough a little pliable.  Remove wax paper and press dough into one tart pan.  Smooth and mold to bottom and sides evenly.  Then run a knife over top to take off excess dough.  Continue this process with 3 more tart tins.  Cover with plastic wrap, and put in freezer.

At this point you will have some excess dough.  Divide dough into 2 more pieces and follow instructions for cooling dough and then lining tarts. Cover and then place those two in the freezer also.

Then preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Once the oven has heated up to the correct temperature, remove tarts from freezer and place on baking sheet.  Pierce inside bottom of dough with a fork to prevent any dough from bubbling up while baking.  Place in oven and bake for 5-10 minutes.  Tart shells are done when top edges are golden brown.  Remove and set on rack to cool.

To make the filling, fill a large saucepan with the milk and place over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat.

Take the top pan of a double boiler and fill with egg yolks, sugar, cocoa, cornstarch.  Whisk ingredients together.  There will still be dry areas, so add 1 tablespoon of water and stir.  The final consistency should be a thick paste, so continue with the water until it reaches the paste stage.

Pull out the bottom part of a double boiler and fill with water.  Place over high heat and then turn down until water is only simmering.  At that moment, slowly pour the milk mixture into the cocoa paste, whisking batter as you pour.

The batter now needs to be cooked, so place the top pan of the double boiler over the bottom. the mixture will need to cook for about 45 minutes.  During this time, you will need to stir frequently.  The mixture will eventually turn into a pudding.  Remove the pan and still in the butter and vanilla beans.

Place a sieve or mesh strainer over a shallow heat proof bowl.  Pour the chocolate filling into the strainer.  Then cover all surface of the filling with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.  Filling will need to chill for at least 1 hour to reach a cold temperature.

After chilling time is completed, invert tart pans to remove crusts.  Turn crusts upright and spoon in chilled filling until full and smooth top. Then place tarts back on baking sheet and chill in fridge for at least 4 hours.  I left them in overnight.

After tarts have completely chilled, you will need to make the cream.  In a saucepan, fill with cream and sprinkle with ground vanilla beans.  Bring to a boil and then remove from heat and let sit to cool for about 30 minutes. 

In a small bowl, add milk and sprinkle with gelatin powder. Set aside.

Take another small bowl and whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.  Then get out a pan and fill with water and place over medium high heat.  Once it boils, turn it down to where the water is only simmering.  Then place the pan of the cream mixture over the simmering water.  Slowly pour in the batch of beaten sugar and eggs, whisking constantly.  Then cook the mixture, stirring with a spoon until it becomes thick.  Once it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat.

Pour the milk gelatin mixture into the cream batter.  Stir to blend.  Then strain the mixture into a shallow heat proof bowl.  Fill your sink with a few inches of cold water, just enough to cover the sides of the bowl but not submerge it.  Place bowl of cream in sink of cold water and stir until it reaches room temperature.  Then fold in the whipped cream.

Put bowl in fridge for 15-20 minutes for cream to firm up.  Once it is firm, you can pipe the stars on top of the tart.  Take a freezer bag and cut off the corner and place star tip inside.  Then spoon in cream and decorate as desired.  Place back in fridge for about two hours and then serve cold.  Enjoy.