Ottolenghi Chocolate Tarts

I visited Ottolenghi recently, and was hugely tempted by their amazing selection of cakes and pastries singing to me in the window front. Finally I settled with a small piece of rugelach, and a mixed salad box. My heart had a little pang as I handed over what seemed like a lot of money for such a small quantity of food! It was delicious, but at the same time I wondered if I could reproduce it all in my home kitchen without spending such extortionate sums.

Last year, I managed to do this quite successfully with many Hummingbird Bakery products (except that elusive Black Bottom) and with the aid of the Ottolenghi cookbook, it just seemed to make more sense. I’ve been getting very good results from the Ottolenghi cookbook as it is, so I jumped at another excuse to make these decadent chocolate tarts.

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I’ve paired them with Pierre Herme pate sucree, and yes yes yes, they are simply scrumptious.

A half batch of the chocolate filling is enough to fill 9-10 tarts. The recipe suggests beating the egg and sugar together until fluffy, but I think this makes the tart fillings rise dramatically in the oven only to collapse in the middle once they cool down. The second time I tried these tarts I used agave nectar instead of sugar, and beat the egg very gently to incorporate less air. This worked a lot better as the chocolate filling solidified nicely without becoming overly excitable in its baking journey.

The recipe also suggests to dust the tops of the tarts with cocoa powder, but be sparing with this as too much cocoa powder is dry and nasty. I’ve tried piping a swirl of chocolate cream, mascarpone cream, or chantilly cream on the top, and that’s actually worked really well, and looks good.

You need to make sure the tarts aren’t too shallow for the filling. My biggest cookie cutter turns out to still not be big enough, but there is a thermos lid  in the kitchen that works much better at producing bigger circles (thus deeper tarts), and will be in use next time.

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