A couple of years ago, when this blog was in its infancy, I posted my go-to chocolate mousse recipe.
Smooth and decadent, I still think it’s pretty much the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert — if you like chocolate, that is.
But I married someone who really does not like chocolate and there are only so many times I can get away with deeply chocolaty mid-February indulgences before starting to seem a little selfish.
The only kind of chocolate Paul really approves of is white chocolate, which many people don’t consider real chocolate at all.
So this year, in honor of my other half, I made a slew of the cutest little white chocolate raspberry tartlets.
Although white chocolate is really not my thing, I have to admit that these tiny tartlets are awfully appealing. They’re easy to make, they keep well and they’re oh so pretty. While I think they’d be a nice way to cap off dinner for two, these dainty little desserts would also be a great addition to a cocktail party menu or a festive treat for a girls’ night in.
To make them, you simply fill cookie-like chocolate crusts with white chocolate ganache and then top each one off with a single fresh raspberry. The result is simple and elegant.
Unfortunately, they were not really a hit with my Valentine, who found the chocolate pastry crust still too much for his liking. But other testers gave them a big thumbs up, so I think they’re worth sharing here.
This recipe comes from baker Nick Magleiri’s book “Perfect Light Desserts,” which I picked up at the library the other day. I’m not ordinarily the sort of person to go for “light” desserts, but the cover promised recipes with “made with real butter, sugar, flour and eggs,” so I decided to take a peek.
Generally, I think Magleiri’s recipes are straight-forward and approachable, but I had to laugh at this one, which required twenty-four 2 1/2-inch round tartlet pans. I don’t know a single home cook with two dozen mini tart pans, so I made mine in a mini muffin tin instead. Also, Maglieri calls for 6 ounces of white chocolate in the filling, but I found that I needed twice that amount before my ganache would set. The larger amount of white chocolate in my ganache is more in line with the standard ratio of three parts white chocolate (by weight) to one part liquid, so I’m not sure how Maglieri managed to get anything but a runny mess with just six ounces of the stuff. I’m guessing brand variations might have had something to do with it.
In any event, I don’t think my tartlets qualify as “light” any longer and all that extra chocolate meant I ended up with a bit of leftover filling.
I’ve offered my leftovers up to Paul as an ice cream topping, but if you don’t want extra filling you could try using less white chocolate, just make sure to cut back on the liquid as well. I’d probably start with eight ounces (226 g) of white chocolate and no more than one-third of a cup (about 79 ml) of liquid — you can always add more of either if you need to.
Adapted from "Perfect Light Desserts" by Nick Malgieri and David Joachim.
The original recipe called for just 6 ounces of white chocolate, but I found I needed twice that amount before my ganache would set. The extra volume meant I had leftover tart filling, which is not exactly the worst thing ever. But if you'd like to avoid any excess, I would start with 8 ounces of white chocolate and no more than 1/3 cup liquid. Just know that I haven't tested the recipe with those amounts.
Malgieri calls for alkalized or Dutch-processed cocoa powder in this recipe, but I only had natural cocoa, so that's what I used. The two are not always interchangeable, but in this recipe the switch worked fine.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (see headnote)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 8 pieces
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup fat-free milk
- 12 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- one 1/2 pint basket of fresh raspberries
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease a mini-muffin tin and set aside. (I did not grease mine, but Maglieri recommends it and I would unless you really trust your tin.)
Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix. I used a mini food processor and it was large enough.
Add the butter pieces and pulse about 20 times to mix it in finely. Add the egg and water and pulse again, until the dough forms a ball. At first, it might seem like there's not enough liquid, but keep pulsing and it will come together.
Turn the dough out and divide into thirds. Wrap two thirds of the dough in plastic wrap and set aside. Roll the remaining piece of dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/8-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut circles out of the dough. Repeat with the remaining dough, re-rolling any scraps.
Fit the dough rounds into the wells of the mini-muffin tin, using your hands to press them into place. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork and bake, for 12-15 minutes, until the dough looks dull on the surface and is slightly firm. Cool in the pans on a wire rack.
In a small saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped white chocolate until it is melted and the mixture is smooth. Scrape into a bowl and refrigerate until it has thickened. To speed this up, you can also place the bowl of filling into a larger bowl filled with ice water, stirring occasionally.
Remove the tartlet crusts from the plan and place them on a clean cookie sheet or platter. Fill each shell with a generous spoonful of the filling and top with a raspberry. The tartlets can be held at room temperature for up to 6 hours or kept in a tightly-covered container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.