Our challenge for February was to bake with love and make something appropriate for Valentine's Day. I did indeed make this for myself and a special someone on Valentine's Day...and given the fact that I made up most of it as I went along, it turned out quite nicely. I was making a whole French-inspired menu, from boursin and chevre as appetizers, to the beef bourguignon, green beans almondine, and herbes de provence-roasted potatoes. Then I got stuck on dessert. Since dinner was so heavy, I wanted something relatively light...which meant fruit. And appropriate for Valentine's Day...which meant chocolate. Thus, the Chocolate Strawberry Tartlet was born! So I hope you enjoy them!
Chocolate Strawberry Tartlets (crust from Foodnetwork.com)
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. plus 3 Tbl. sugar, divided
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c. cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1 egg, separated
- 2 Tbl. ice water
- 12 oz. good semisweet chocolate
- 2 c. heavy cream, divided
- 1 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
- A few sprigs of fresh mint
- 3 Tbl. powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine the flour, 3 Tbl. sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and 2 Tbl. of ice water, pulsing until the dough just comes together, adding more water as necessary. Form it into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Note: I cut the recipe more or less in 1/3, which yielded 4 mini tarts (maybe 3-in. in diameter). However, I screwed up and added the full egg yolk and the full amount of water, which resulted in a ridiculously hard, cookie-like crust. So don't do that. Please.
Roll out the dough to about 1/4-in. thick. Press into your favorite 9-in. tart pan or into several individual tart pans, making sure to get dough into all the corners of the fluted edges. Trim the top edges so that they look pretty. Refrigerate for another 15 minutes, or don't, if you happen to overlook that step of the directions.
Brush the tart shell with beaten egg white, and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is a nice golden brown. Cool.
Meanwhile, microwave the chocolate and 1 c. heavy cream, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is melted. Pour ganache into the cooled tart shell(s) to a depth of about 1/2-in. Chill until the ganache is set.
Also meanwhile, combine 1/2 c. sugar with 1/2 c. water and the sprig of mint in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and then simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the simple syrup has a nice mint flavor to it. Toss the chopped strawberries with the mint syrup, then spoon the strawberries over top of the tart(s). Chill until it's time to serve.
Just before serving, combine 1 c. heavy cream, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Whip until stiff peaks form, then dollop a healthy blob on top of each serving. Enjoy!