Happy August first! Today marks the start of my birthday month, and a whole lot of travel that I am so excited about! Tonight I go to Long Island to stay at my friend’s house - tomorrow we are driving to North Carolina for a little (big) road trip and I can’t wait!
I wanted to pop on and share these little tarts that I made a while back with you - I had a jar of mixed berry jam from recipe testing for this cake that I wanted to use up, and some brand new tart rings that I wanted to play with, so this was the end product! I made some chocolate sweet pastry cases, then filled them with a little bit of the mixed berry jam, then filled up the pastry case with a fave of mine - a dark chocolate peanut butter tart filling. I then topped the whole thing off with some torched Swiss meringue, which I made to use up some extra whites I had in my fridge. The meringue was a last minute addition and is totally optional, but I love the taste of the toasty meringue, and it stood up so well against the silky chocolate filling and crunchy tart crust. So, so good - I love using the little tart rings, so I can see a lot more mini tarts happening around here in the future!
These are definitely on the time consuming side of things to make, but you can absolutely take a few shortcuts and break up the workload for yourself. You can use store bought jam, and, if you like, you can make the dough ahead of time, and also bake off the pastry cases ahead of time, so you just have to assemble on the day of. With that being said, although these are time consuming, it isn’t a whole lot more work to make 12 of them than it is to make just the one, so they would make a great wee fancy dessert if you needed one to take to a dinner party or something similar.
A few wee tips:
I used these De buyer perforated tart rings, which are a total investment but absolutely worth it if you make tarts often. The way that they are made means that there is no need to use baking beans in them. I got six, so made the pastry cases in two batches of six - if you like, you can make these ahead of time and store in an airtight container.
If you don’t have the perforated cases, I would use this method for baking the shells.
I also baked them on a perforated baking mat - I used this one, which helped loads with having enough airflow underneath the pastry cases to allow them to bake evenly. Parchment works too, you will just want to dock the pastry bottom using a fork to ensure that they don’t puff up too much.
If you are making these ahead, do the meringue part just before serving!
I piped just a few blobs onto these for photos - cover the whole thing if you like! I love torched meringue so much.
I use an industrial blow torch when I am torching things - it makes things so much easier than using a tiny wee blow torch! I got mine from the hardware store
The Swiss Meringue is yum, but is a totally optional step!
If you want a peanut butter free version, a half batch of this filling will work great!
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts with Mixed Berry Jam, Chocolate Crust, and Torched Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Makes about 12 3” tarts -
Chocolate Sweet Pastry Method via Topless Baker
Chocolate Sweet Pastry
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
160g powdered sugar, sifted
85g eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp salt
50g dutch process cocoa, sifted
400g all-purpose flour, sifted
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache Filling
225g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
90g smooth peanut butter
20g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
190g heavy cream
125g egg whites
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
To fill: Mixed Berry Jam or jam of your choice (about 1/2 cup) - I used this, but store bought also works great
- PROCESS -
CHOCOLATE SWEET PASTRY
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until combined. Add the egg, and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla bean paste and salt. In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa and flour, and add to the mixing bowl. Mix until just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and form into a rough rectangle. Wrap in the plastic wrap, and chill until firm, 3-4 hours, or overnight.
Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough into two pieces, and re-wrap the first piece until needed. Place the second piece onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. I made six shells at a time, so just worked with one piece of dough, but if you are making 12 at once, you can roll both out at once. Roll out to 3mm thickness, adding additional flour onto the dough as needed to prevent sticking. Once the dough is the correct thickness, transfer to the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up - you don’t want it to be solid, but want it cold enough that it doesn’t get sticky when you use it.
Line a baking sheet with a perforated baking mat or parchment paper. Remove the chilled dough from the freezer, and use your tart ring to cut out circles from the dough - these will form the bottoms of your pastry cases. Try and keep all the circles condensed in one part of the dough so you have enough left to make strips to form the sides of the shells - you can re-roll if needed. Place the stamped out circles inside the tart ring on the prepared baking sheet.
Now you need to cut strips to form the walls - you want to cut a strip that goes around the whole ring, so if you have a 3” ring, your strip will need to be just over 9” to accomodate the circumference. Cut strips that are about 9” long, and about 3/4” thick. Place them inside the tart ring, trimming the length if needed so the ends of the strips sit flush, and pressing down lightly where the edge and the bottom meet. Repeat with the remainder of the tart rings. Chill for 5 minutes, then use a sharp knife to trim off any excess dough that sticks out over the top of the ring.
Transfer the lined tart rings to the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour, in order for them to firm up completely. While they are freezing, preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Once the pastry cases are frozen, transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake the pastry cases for 15-16 minutes, or until set. In the first few minutes of the baking, check on them to ensure that the edges are not slipping down - if they are, just gently use your hands to bring them back up.
Remove the pastry cases from the oven, and allow to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes, then carefully remove the cases from the rings, and place onto a wire rack to cool completely.
If you have just made six shells, repeat the process to give you 12. If you are making these ahead of time, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use. If the edges are a little rough, they can be filed down with a microplane.
DARK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER FILLING
Place the chocolate, peanut butter, butter and salt into a large heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan, and warm over low heat until just shy of a simmer - you should see movement around the edges of the cream. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter, and cover the bowl with a lid or plate. Leave to sit for 5-6 minutes, then whisk vigorously to combine. The mixture will look like it has split to begin with but keep whisking - it will come together and go glossy. Use immediately.
Arrange the chocolate pastry cases on a baking sheet. Dollop 2 tsp of mixed berry jam into the bottom of each, smoothing down with an offset spatula if needed.
Fill each pastry case with the chocolate peanut butter filling, shaking the pastry case slightly to level off the mixture, and smoothing with an offset spatula if needed. Repeat until all are full and smooth, then place in the fridge until set, 30 to 60 minutes.
Measure the egg whites, granulated sugar and vanilla bean paste into the bowl of a stand mixer or other heatproof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture, whisking often and watching the edges carefully, until it no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers, and it registers at least 70˚c / 160˚f on a thermometer.
Carefully transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, approximately 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a french star tip (I used an ateco #866)
Pipe blobs of the swiss meringue onto the top of each tart - I only did a few on each because I liked how it looked, but they would look great totally covered in meringue too. You could also use an offset spatula, dollop it on, then smooth it off. Torch if desired.
Store the tarts in the fridge until ready to serve.