I routinely succeed at being a major embarrassment to my family. It seems that whenever I'm out in public with any one of them I'm either splattered by or smudged with chocolate, meringue and such. They are always taking their hands to my face in a desperate attempt to wipe me clean before I am noticed.
It was status quo when I made this Chocolate Meringue Tart. I caught my reflection as I passed by a mirror in my house. There I was, my face covered in streaks of chocolate pudding; the result of my required and necessary dedication to taste-testing...for you ;-P
These individual Chocolate-Meringue Tarts with Raspberry Sauce, which can also be made as one large 9 or 10-inch tart, would be a wonderful ending to a Valentine's Day dinner ! You'd definitely rack up points for this one.
Chocolate-Meringue Tarts with Raspberry Sauce
Makes six 4-inch tarts or one 10-inch tart
For Tart Pastry:
• 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
• 4 1/2 tablespoons ice water
1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds until fine. Add the flour and salt and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until the size of peas. Slowly add the ice water, pulsing, just until the dough starts to come together.
2. Place the pastry dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a flattened disc; wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
3. Once chilled, divide the dough into 6 equal wedges if making individual 4-inch tarts or use the entire disc if making a 10-inch tart. Roll the dough thinly and place in the tart pan(s). Prick the base of the tart dough several times with a fork. Trim the dough from the top edges of the tart pan and place in the freezer until ready to bake.
4. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line the tart shell(s) with foil and fill with rice or beans. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and rice and return the tart pastry to the oven and bake until a golden brown. Watch closely. The dough will brown quickly.
5. Cool tart shells on a rack until ready to fill.
For the Chocolate Filling:
• 1/4 cup cocoa
• 1/2 cup sugar
• Good pinch of salt
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 2 cups whole milk
• 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1. In a saucepan mix the cocoa, sugar, salt and cornstarch with the milk until a smooth paste. Stir the mixture over a gentle heat until it begins to boil and thickens; cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Beat in the butter and vanilla, cool slightly, stirring occasionally, and pour into the baked tart shell(s).
For the Meringue:
• 4 egg whites
• 3/4 cup sugar
1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a metal bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Whisk the whites until warm and sugar is dissolved. Remove from water bath and with an electric mixer, start beating until firm and glossy. Spoon the meringue onto the top of the chocolate tart(s), or place in a pastry bag with a tip of your choice and pipe meringue onto the chocolate. Place in a 375˚F oven and bake until golden. Watch closely! Remove from oven and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Place tart slices on a pool of raspberry sauce, if desired.
To Make Raspberry Sauce:
• 10-ounce package of frozen raspberries, thawed
• Freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons sugar
1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender container and purée. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.