Chocolate / Coffee Tarts with Hazelnut Brittle
Posted by osakaben41 on August 13, 2009
With each experiment I put out there, the constant refrain has been, “nice, but where’s the chocolate?” I’ve got an ever-growing list of exotic things to play with from Lychee nuts to Passion Fruit (if I could ever find some in Boston that is), but I haven’t done much with Chocolate yet.
I’ll admit to being somewhat intimidated of getting into tempering and shaping decorations. There might have been some unfortunate experiments years back involving painting leaves with chocolate, but it never looks as good as the picture, and I end up with melted chocolate covering everything. The tools get wildly expensive pretty quickly, and perhaps August isn’t the best time to start down this road. Sometimes though you just have to give the people what they want.
This recipe comes from “The Sweet Spot”, and spoke to me for its relatively straightforward look, and because I’m a sucker for anything coffee flavored. It’s as simple as making a regular ganache, but steeping coffee grounds in the heated cream. The custard was finished off with the addition of a couple of eggs then baked at low temperature until just firm enough to cut.
It still called for some kind of garnish though, so I ended up borrowing a recipe for Hazelnut brittle from yet another book, “The Sweet Life”. Or we could just sprinkle some fleur de sel on top and call it a day. I thought about pairing this with an ice cream, but honestly, ran out of steam around midnight, and just went with some whipped cream instead. I can imagine a small quenelle resting in the scoop of a curved brittle piece would look elegant though. Might have to come back to that someday.
The hazelnut Brittle was surprisingly easy to work with. The recipe called for making the caramel first, then grinding it up into a kosher salt consistency, mixing with chopped nuts, spreading thin, and baking again briefly. I tried a couple of experiments with this, some circles that were curved on a rolling pin, some lines that were twisted, and most fun of all, a rectangle that was wrapped up as a brittle cigarette. There is a point where it’s possible to cut the warm brittle into triangles, but the pizza cutter definitely needs to be oiled, and the window is pretty short. Too soon, and you end up with sticky strands attached to everything. Too late and the brittle shatters.
Otherwise, I’m starting to enjoy tarts more and more these days, if only because the shells are relatively easy to make, particularly with the right rings, and can keep unfilled in the freezer long enough for me to find a willing test subject for the next inspiration. Other than that, they just look cool.
So call it a brief foray into chocolate. The more elaborate stuff can wait until the fall.