Pastry 4: Chocolate tarts

Chocolate Truffle TartI was 15 minutes early for class tonight and was surprised to see so many classmates there already, helping to scale ingredients. When you see blocks of Lindt chocolate and raspberries on the work bench, you know whatever you make will be yummy! Since my partner hadn't arrived yet, I began by chopping up the partially frozen chocolate sweet dough (made last week) and kneading it briefly in the mixer to soften it. Because it's so warm in the kitchen, we wanted to keep it cold enough to make rolling easier. I fit it into my 10½" tart pan and started filling the tartlet molds. Chef immediately said that I wouldn't be able to use the larger pan, saying it wouldn't be fair to everyone else if I made a bigger one. At this point my partner came in and Chef chastised her for showing up 45 minutes late, calling it unacceptable and how we would have to re-organize and re-calculate everything. Hmph, calm down already!

We quickly made another batch of ganache since I made the first batch to share with another classmate who also didn't have a partner. After boiling cream, we poured it over chopped chocolate and stirred until it melted and became smooth. Ganache made with bittersweet chocolate is combined in a 1:1 ratio (by weight) with the cream, but with milk chocolate, you need more chocolate, and with white chocolate, more still. We also added a bit of raspberry fruit paste, an intense flavouring that is, sadly, only available commercially. This was going to be the filling for our chocolate truffle tart.more…

Chocolate Mousse TartletsAs Chef baked our tart shells, we continued by making chocolate mousse for the tartlets. We started by soaking gelatin leaves in cold water to soften until they felt a bit rubbery. After heating a simple syrup on the stove, we stirred in the gelatin until it dissolved, then poured the mixture into melted chocolate. When it was cool, we folded it in with a litre of stiffly whipped cream. The idea here was to thoroughly combine it without deflating the cream. After a brief wait, while the tart shells and mousse cooled in the freezer, it was time to assemble.

We poured the ganache into the larger crust, smoothed the top and decorated it with berries and chocolate shavings. It's not that easy to make shavings but it certainly helps to have a counter with a lip on it to hold the chocolate in place while you pull a knife across it. We piped the mousse into the tartlet shells, drizzled leftover ganache on top, and decorated it with more berries.

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