Hey there readers, long time no blog. I'm currently in London doing research for my thesis, and thanks to the wonders of the pound-dollar exchange rate I can barely afford meals, let alone dessert ingredients. But after some passive-aggressive (okay, mostly just aggressive) prodding from Rebecca, I recalled that there were a lot of things I made way back in the day before I left for England that never saw the light of the blog.
I spent the last weekend in Paris - it's a hard life - visiting my friend Evan, and though we walked far and wide searching for good patisseries, they were all closed because it was Sunday! So sad. We ended up getting delicious ice cream instead, so all was not lost. But I thought in honor of our pastry fail, I'd blog about a very Parisian-type dessert, which I made for my dad's office party back in December.
I've already written a bit about miniature tartes noir before, since Dorie Greenspan made them for the workshop at Dalton, and I've made regular-sized tarte noir many times, because it's as effortless as it is elegant. However, let me warn you that the minis, which are extremely cute, are not exactly effortless. This was mostly because I had a lot of trouble with the crust. I greased the pans very well but a lot of the crusts crumbled when I tried to take them out. Also, they puffed up in the oven, which normally isn't a big issue - you can just tamp it down with the back of a spoon - but because they're so small and delicate a little puffiness goes a long way towards diminishing the amount of space for ganache, and pushing on them too vigorously will break them. I tried to use pie weights for the second batch, a couple in each crust - BIG mistake, each one of them broke. If anyone had any suggestions as to how to get the crusts to cooperate, it would be greatly appreciated!
For the remaining non-maimed shells, the rest of the process was as simple and satisfying as ever, and the end result was delicious! (They were even better than usual; since it was for my dad's office party and not just some random whim, I was able to use Valhrona chocolate, yummmm!) They looked adorable and, according to my dad, they were a big hit at the party. However, I think that next time I'll make them in slightly bigger molds. It was just a little too time-consuming for me, especially considering that the charm of tarte noir is that it looks so professional and yet is so easy to make.
Tarte Noir, from Baking From My Home to Yours