We could have quit. But then we heard that this week’s The Great British Bake Off included chocolate in several forms, and we just could not. Plus, we’re close to the end! Souffles were an option, as were tarts and a centerpiece featuring white chocolate. Several of us live in Denver, making souffles tricky, and we have yet to really attempt a show-stopper in this series. Let’s not get crazy. So we focused on chocolate tarts.
The bake: Chocolate in tart form.
I decided that a Mexican chocolate tart was the way to go, so I did some sleuthing and came upon Gimme Some Oven’s Mexican Spiced Dark Chocolate Tarts. They looked quite cute, and more importantly, I got to “10 minutes” for the full prep time and decided I had a winner. It’s a busy time of year, after all.
Just melt a dark chocolate bar (I went Ghirardelli because we’re fancy) and some heavy cream in a double boiler (you could also microwave), add in chili powder and cinnamon, and move the chocolate loveliness into pre-baked phyllo cups. Thank you to Safeway for providing the cutest little cups that take 4 minutes from freezer to ready-to-fill. Then, I chilled them in the fridge, and whipped up some slightly sweetened cream to dollop on top. I was going to sift cocoa powder on top as garnish but apparently the Miller pantry was out, so I used cinnamon again, making sure to just use the slightest amount to avoid a Cinnamon Challenge moment at brunch.
These couldn’t be simpler (seriously, they almost could not be — I don’t know if this even qualifies as “baking”), and the spicy chocolate gives you a nice kick in the throat. Highly recommend for a holiday potluck, baking exchange or a super-simple dessert for a party.
I’m in the process of packing for a move, so my goal this week was to use up ingredients I had around. I selected a Nutella Tart with Toasted Hazelnut Crust. It used up the hazelnuts left over from the Biscotti challenge and finished off my Costco-sized Nutella jar. I only had to purchase some heavy cream, so goal achieved. I toasted the hazelnuts slightly as suggested, and it gave the apartment a nice scent. The crust was just basically putting all the ingredients into a processor. I still do not own pie weights, so some crumbled-up pieces of old aluminum foil acted as the weights while baking the tart. I think the tart ended up being slightly under-baked, as I have yet to achieve that keen baking sense.
The hardest part was getting the Nutella out of the jar. Why is the container opening so narrow? Perhaps to keep you from consuming large quantities at once? I ended up using closer to 1 cup instead of 3/4 cup in order finish off the jar. I figured it wouldn’t hurt. The filling was made by boiling all the ingredients in a pan on the stove. I did break out singing “Double, double toil and trouble” when the it started to boil. It had some serious cauldron vibes. To complete the tart, I just poured the filling into the shell and placed in the fridge overnight.
The recipe wasn’t hard, I just made a mess of Nutella all over my hands, bowls, and spoons. Unfortunately, my crust was uneven. It definitely worked better where it was thinner, but the hazelnut paired well with Nutella. The filling reminded me of a chocolate pudding oddly enough. I think it would be better with some strawberries or raspberries added on top.
I am not moving, but I did as Nicole did and attempted to make use of some of the ingredients I’ve accumulated over the course of this series. Also, Kelsey has been working too much to do the baking of late, so I had to fly without her Paul Hollywood to my Mary Berry, and thusly chose a recipe of slight quantity.
Actually, to put it accurately. I read several recipes and Frankensteined them together to suit what I had on hand. In the end I made what I’m going to call Banana Chocolate Tart Pockets. What’s that you ask? Only the simplest 3-ingredient treat you could hope to call a tart and (mostly) get away with it.
I took puff pastry sheet and cut it into several 3-inch or so squares, ensuring I had an even number. I actually didn’t manage that, so I used the spare scrap as a spot patch. I then sliced a banana and set it aside. Next I melted chocolate. My original idea was to mix with a bit of cream and then work egg yolks into the hot mixture sort of custard style, but I realized my pockets were not so roomy to stand up to anything quite so substantial. AND … it seemed an undo risk to bake something that would typically be a no bake situation. So, I melted my chocolate and stirred until it was silky and beautiful — I used semi-sweet chips.
Next, I placed dollups of chocolate into the center of half of my pastry squares. I added a layer of banana. But the fun didn’t end there. I added as much chocolate as I dared atop the bananas for some extra oomph. Then came the only mildly challenging bit. Adding the tops of my pockets. With a bit of stretching and shaping, I managed the coverage and then attempted to fuse top and bottom with a combination of squishing and fork marks on each side of my creation.
Going into the oven my pockets looked like rather large ravioli. Coming out, they had some layer separation and rather resembled Napoleons. UNINTENTIONAL SOPHISTICATION for the win. I drizzled additional chocolate on the top of each Pocket-cum-Napoleon for a bit of pizazz and called it a day.
The outcome was a simple little treat that’s quite tasty warm, though I do think the puff to filling ratio was a bit high, even for my ill-advised filling gusto. The upshot is the puff is nice and flaky, so it looks a picture and delivers that classic pastry vibe.
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