Triple Chocolate Heart Tarts – gorgeous, sophisticated, stunningly flavorful and easy – what more could you want in a Valentines dessert? When I had my bakery, we made so many of these both for Valentines day in these adorable tart shells and during the year when we made them in 12” European tarts it was amazing. What’s “so many” you ask. What about 1500 pieces which amounted to 125 tarts for banquet desserts usually with only a few days notice? If you can’t find 4 1/4” heart shaped tart pans, use 4 1/4” round ones – the dessert will be just as gorgeous, sophisticated, stunningly flavorful and easy!
Because these tarts are very short, there is only a small amount of “crust” on the bottom to anchor the filling. The majority of the filling is poured over the bottoms and allowed to set up in the cooler. The remainder is heated just to loosen it and combined with whipped cream for a third layer of chocolate. The finish I have used here is the one we used at the shop. The rosette is piped on with a bit of buttercream which we always had around. I have included a chocolate ganache if buttercream is not to be had.
It is best to put the top layer on as soon as the bottom layer has set, then freeze them in their pans overnight or until ready to decorate.
Using a blow dryer to heat the rim of the tart pans heats them enough to slide the edge off. We would place the pans on a can and slide the side down. Slide a small, straight spatula between the bottom of the tart and the bottom of the pan.
This recipe makes 8 tarts.
Chocolate Crumb Crust 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (114 grams or 4 ounces)
3 tablespoons cocoa (18 grams or 2/3 ounce)
1/3 cup unsifted powdered sugar (35 grams or a bit more than 1 ounce)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (80 grams or a scant 3 ounces)
Mix the crumbs, cocoa and sugar together, rubbing between your fingers until the cocoa and sugar lumps are gone. Add the butter and toss with a fork until the crumbs are completely coated. At this point the crusts need to be pressed in immediately or the crumbs will dry out. Press two firmly packed, slightly heaping tablespoons into the bottom of each pan.
Yields: 8 – 4 1/4 inch tart pans.
Triple Chocolate Heart Tarts 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
1/4 cup water
2 sticks unsalted butter (225 grams or 8 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar (150 grams or 5 1/3 ounces
9 ounces semisweet chocolate (255 grams)
6 egg yolks
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup 40% or heavy cream
Dissolve the coffee in the water. Combine the butter, instant coffee and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Heat until the butter melts and the mixture is steaming, but not boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and submerge the chocolate underneath. Wait for a few minutes for the chocolate to melt. Whisk to smooth the chocolate. Whisk in the yolks and lastly the brandy.
Pour 1/4 cup filling into each tart pan. I am using a 2 ounces ladle.Rotate it to fill all the ridges and tap several times on the counter to knock out any air bubbles. Continue for 7 more tarts. Refrigerate the tarts to firm the filling. Cover the unused filling with film. Set aside to room temperature.
You want this to be pourable but not liquid. If necessary, microwave 5 seconds at a time to reach the desired consistency. Place 3 tablespoons in one shell, rotate it around so it fills the shell to the top. Rotate it sideways a couple of times to level it out. Place on a tray. Continue with the remainder. Place in the freezer and freeze until hard.
Place one tart on a small can such as a six ounce can of tomato paste. With a hair blower on high, go around the edge of the shell holding the dryer about 2 inches away. Go around one or two times and see if the rim of the tart pan can be pulled down from the tart. If it can’t or it is difficult, continue to heat the edge with the blow dryer until the tart pan rim can be released. Be careful not to heat the edge too much or the tart will melt.Place a small spatula between the bottom of the crust and the bottom of the pan to release the tart. Place the tarts on a flat surface spaced several inches apart.
Decoration – There are two suggestions for making the rosettes for the decoration. Either may be used or none. The first is a bit of chocolate ganache the second is buttercreamn of your chosing tinted with food coloring. If tinting buttercream, a gel works better than liquid coloring.
1/2 cup 40% or heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, divided
For the chocolate ganache: Heat the cream until simmering, but do not boil. Submerge 4 ounces of chocolate under the cream and wait for a few minutes. Whisk to smooth. Pour it out on a plate and let sit at room temperature to firm up.
For the buttercream: Tint the desired color.
To Finish: Fit a small pastry bag with a number 2 open star or number 2B tip and fill with either the chocolate ganache or buttercream. Melt the remaining 2 ounces of chocolate in the microwave on half power or in a double boiler.
Dip a spoon into the melted chocolate and wave it left to right over the tart as shown in the photo. Dip it again into the chocolate and wave it back and forth on the diagonal. Let the chocolate set up briefly. Pipe a rosette of either the chocolate ganache or the buttercream where the lines intersect.
Store in the refrigerator or freeze. Serve at room temperature.