09 July 2012

Eats: chocolate tartlets

As you might have expected with the move, traveling, and a new apartment in a new city, things are happening around here faster than I can blog about them! So today and tomorrow, in the spirit of all the weddings we’ve been attending, I’m going to play catch-up and tell you about a bridal shower a friend and I hosted waaaaay back in May in Nashville. The guest of honor has already gotten married, so it’s high time to share the event, I think!

Today’s recipe was something I dreamed up for the shower specifically because I wanted something 1) chocolate 2) finger-foody and 3) not a brownie. Not that brownies aren’t delicious! But I wanted something a little more special for a special friend’s shower, so I decided to create some chocolate tartlets!

The recipe is based on this pie recipe I’ve featured before (almost precisely a year ago!), and the tart “filling” is exactly the same as described there. You don’t even need a double boiler; just a microwave! Super duper easy.

The crust for that pie, however, was store-bought. To make little bite-size tarts, I would need to make my own mini-crusts. I still took the easy way out, though, by starting with these:

Oh, beautiful neutral kitchen counters, I miss you! You too, Kroger-brand!

I ran about half the package (30 cookies or so) through the food processor and, to make them crust-y, added a stick of melted butter. Yes, a whole stick. Shuddup it was a special occasion.

(Please excuse the blurry photo. I don’t know what’s wrong with me sometimes.)

Once it was all combined, I distributed the crust mixture into muffin tins to fill 24 cups and squished it into place. Then here comes the trick... I pushed a metal dipping/mise-en-place cup down into the cookie crusts...

... to create a perfectly shaped indentation for filling!

You could do this with anything you find in your kitchen that has a diameter smaller than the muffin tin – a pill bottle, a spice jar, even the cap on a milk bottle! I would, however, recommend something heat-proof like metal or glass if you have it, because the best way to bake these is as follows:

1) Press indentation into mini-crust dough
2) Bake in a preheated 350° oven for five minutes
3) Remove from oven and press indentation into all mini-crusts again
4) Bake another five to ten minutes, until crust is set

I found that if you don’t re-press the indentation in a second time halfway through baking, the crust puffs up and leaves a very shallow well, too shallow for filling. You can see that in the photo above: the crusts adjacent to the one in the corner have baked for five minutes and gotten puffy. So finding something heat-proof to make the indentation a second time helps a bunch!

Once the crusts are baked and set, then all’s that left is to add the filling!

I added the filling while still in the muffin tins, stuck them in the freezer until mostly set, then removed them and let them finish solidifying outside of the tins.

And dat’s it! Slightly more time-consuming than dumping the filling into a store-bought crust, but this is still a super easy way to transform a delicious and easy pie into delicious, easy, and fancy-looking treats!

I forgot to take a photo of them on a fancy platter, but here’s a few left after the party:

I knew they’d likely be a hit because the pie itself is tasty and, hello, the crust is made out of cookies and a stick of butter. And indeed, the guests raved!

Oh! And it’s worth noting that the pie filling recipe makes more than the 24 crusts can hold. So you could make more crusts... or do as I did, and just pour it into plastic cups as if it’s a mousse!

Because the hostess (and the hostess’s husband) will need a special chocolaty treat too when the shower’s over, yes?

Hope you have the chance to make these for an upcoming party or shower! And tomorrow I’ll fill you in on the rest of the bridal shower details – judging by the number of weddings we’re attending this year, it seems that shower-hosting tips would be timely!