Mmm ... Death by Chocolate ... that sounds delectable :)
Chocolate is one of things that I've had dreams about. And woken up feeling super happy. And sometimes hungry :)
So, when Culinate announced this event, I started skipping around. It actually took me about 4 days to decide which of a zillion chocolate recipes I wanted to use. And then it took procrastinating till the last day before I baked one of my chocolate fantasies. Sad, but I really am this last-minute junkie!
Anyway, friday was the last day for submissions for DbC, but the Obama rally took precedence over sending in a timely submission. Guess I'll write about these anyway :)
After dithering between various recipes like an intensely decadent gateau, a fabulous ganache cake topped with chocolate curls, bitter chocolate mousse, mocha pots and more ... I finally settled for baking these delicious chocolate mousse tartlets. I adapted a recipe from one of my favourite dessert books - The Ultimate Dessert Cookbook.
The original recipe called for white chocolate - for a cocoa freak like me, that is tantamount to sacrilege! But I finally gave in and mixed some white chocolate with 72% chocolate to create a mild creamy version - this turned out *good*! Also, I really wanted to add some zing to the tartlets, so I went with a dark chocolate drizzle mixed with some cayenne, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla - *like* it :)
1.5 cups pastry flour
2 T cocoa powder
2 T icing sugar
1/4 cup of butter
2 T whipped spread (I use Earth Balance)
2 oz white chocolate (squares or broken)
4 oz dark chocolate (squares or broken)
1/2 cup of nonfat milk
2 t pectin or agar (you could use gelatine too)
2 T caster sugar
1 t vanilla essence
2 eggs separated
1 generous cup of greek style yogurt (I used nonfat)
1 t cayenne powder
1/4 t nutmeg powder
1/4 t cinnamon
Making the tartlet shells
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Sift the flour, cocoa and icing sugar into a bowl.
Place the butter and whipped spread in a pan along with 4 T of water and heat gently until just melted.
Once cooled, stir in the flour to make a firm dough.
Chill the dough for atleast 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
Roll out the pastry and line 6 10 cm tartlet pans (I used the loose-based flan tins).
Prick the base of each tart shell with a fork before lining with parchment paper and weighing down with baking beans.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the beans and parchment and bake for 15 more minutes till the pastry is firm.
Let the tartlet shells cool in the tins.
Making the filling
Melt the chocolate (white and dark) in a heatproof bowl over hot water.
In the meantime, pour the milk into a saucepan and heat on low.
Add the pectin slowly,stirring constantly until dissolved completely.
Remove the milk mixture from heat and stir in the chocolate.
Whisk the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks in a large bowl.
Add the chocolate mixture and beat till blended.
Now, beat in the greek yogurt till evenly mixed.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl till stiff (peaks should form and stay in place).
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture gently till mixed completely.
Divide the chocolate mixture across all the pastry shells and chill to set.
Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne to the melted chocolate and drizzle it over the tartlets to decorate.
*love* it! Obviously, I need to get more opinions here, since I'm a certified chocolate freak :) But I think this turned out great! And I love the cayenne touch - it leaves a gentle after-spice on the tongue - spicy chocolate after taste, spicy chocolate after breath!!!
Mmm ... think I'll just curl up on the couch with my current read and dig into a yummy chocolate mousse tartlet - life can't get much better than that! :)
Wait, chocolate is an aphrodisiac!
'In most countries chocolate is associated with romance, and with good reason, it was thought by the Aztec's to have aphrodisiac qualities, invigorating men and making women less inhibited. So when it was first introduced to Europe, it's small wonder that chocolate quickly became the ideal gift for a man to bestow on a loved one.' So, guess if chocolate has any aphrodisiac properties at all, it is probably well-contained in these tartlets that have 71% cocoa in them! I used the Valrhona Le Noir Amer in my tartlets (yes, I'm a serious chocolate snob) - the flavours truly seemed to stick around forever!
And as much as I don't care for V'day and think of it as this consumer-driven day of red, I can't pass up on a food event! So, this goes off to Pooja's My Creative Ideas for her Theme of the week - Valentine's day. This definitely celebrates the love for chocolate - that counts, right? :)
Hold please! I can even send this off to The Mini Pie Revolution - these are sweet tarts! Yay!