Mini Mocha Chocolate Tarts
Good day to you all! I hope you all managed to get your rest over the weekend, I know I did. There was lots happening last week, but luckily found some time to bake something. Now this creation was solely based, firstly, on keeping with the chocolate theme that I have been doing for the past two weeks (can't get enough of chocolate) and secondly being inspired after eating at one of Nairobi's cafes.
So on Wednesday I met up with two of my loveliest friends for lunch to catch up on life, because going to a bar and discussing one's life is always difficult when you have blaring music in the background. There are several new places to eat popping up around Nairobi... well new to me as I have just heard of them or haven't been to them as yet. In any case we went to a french cafe called Le Grenier à Pain. Le Grenier à Pain is on Riverside Drive and its an international French cafe chain which is situated in France, Romania, Russia and Lebanon. The atmosphere was bright and lively due to the light shining from the windows in each direction and the array of people, seems like it's the spot for business lunches. When you walk into Le Grenier à Pain you get a whiff of the aroma of freshly made bread which I must say is a heavenly smell, and your eyes take notice of the beautiful and colourful array of pastries and breads which they sell. We sat outside and it was a lovely, quaint terrace which I can say its really great for those sunny days here in Nairobi. Depending where your table is, you can sit on these enormous chairs where you can lounge back after eating a delicious meal. True to its identity as a French cafe the menu is in French but also has the english translation at the bottom of each item on the menu. The meal that I had was a Ratatouille toast, which consisted of three slices of a baguette topped with grilled Eggplant, Zucchini, Peppers and Carrots and a side of green leaf salad with mustard dressing.
Each bite was delicious and flavourful. I was pretty pleased with my meal so far and was wondering how it could get any better. That was until dessert arrived. Their lemon tart absolutely blew me away. Now from presentation to eating the last crumb on my plate, the tart was perfection. The pastry was hard but flaky and the lemon curd was smooth, silky and lastly fresh. It was delightful. I was so impressed with the tart, I told myself that I need to make a tart now so that I don't keep coming back to this place and spending all my money on a lemon tarts.
Went home and tried to find a recipe for a tart, and luckily found a recipe from my best buy (of a cookbook) Step - by- Step Desserts. As I said earlier I wanted to make something relating with chocolate in order to keep the chocolate theme going ( I just cant get enough)! Although technically its not all chocolate. With a hint of coffee it gives that nice sharp bitter taste to the tart and makes it less sweet. There are some tweaks that I did in the recipe. I didn't have the right pans for the tarts in the recipe, it states to use 4 medium tart tins, so in the end I used mini muffin tins. It was a bit tricky using mini muffin tins because the pastry at the bottom did rise even though I used baking beans to make sure it didn't rise. The mini chocolate mocha tarts were a great idea, the bite size treat was just enough. With the double cream and dark chocolate this is a bit rich. Even though I had mini chocolate mocha tarts, I finished the pastry but I had so much filling left over, so I had no choice on doubling the pastry and making a BIG tart. I can say for the past week and a half, if chocolate mixed with sugar is healthy, I am FIT FOR LIFE haha but sadly that is a false statement.
Today I thought it would be quite hilarious to focus on all things chocolate even the music! Although this was quite difficult to accomplish haha, but luckily I managed! So click HERE to listen to some tunes that are either titled chocolate, sung by band named chocolate and from movie about chocolate (btw the movie I'm talking about is Chocolat, if you haven't seen it it is a must)!
125g (4 1/2 oz) plain flour
30g (1 oz) caster sugar
30g (1 oz) good-quality cocoa powder
100g (3 1/2 oz) chilled and diced unsalted butter
3 Tbsp cooled strong black coffee
300ml (10 fl) double cream
250 g chopped good-quality chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
METHOD from Step - by- Step Desserts :
1) Combine plain flour, caster sugar, and cocoa powder in a bowl. Rub in butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
2) Add black coffee to the bowl. Bring together to form a dough, adding a little chilled water if it seems dry. Knead it briefly until smooth, wrap in cling film, and chill for 30 mins. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas 4).
3) On a lightly floured surface, divide and roll out the pastry to four rounds, each 3mm (1/8 in) thick. Use them to line six 10 cm (4 in) loose-bottom tart tins, leaving a 1 cm (1/2 in) overhang. Prick at the bottom of the pastry.
4) Line the cases with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins. If they look uncooked, remove the beans and paper , and bake for a further 5 mins. Remove, trim the pastry, and leave to cool. Reduce the temperature to 160C (325/Gas 3)
5) Heat 300ml (10fl) double cream in a heavy-based saucepan until steaming. Remove and stir in chocolate, until melted. Beat until smooth, transfer to a bowl, and leave to cool. Gradually whisk eggs and stir in vanilla extract.
6) Pour the filling into the tartlet cases. Bake for 20 mins, until just set. Leave to cool in the tins. Then remove and serve immediately. Best served on the same day.
- This recipe is a Mocha Tartlet and its from the recipe book Step by Step Desserts (2015) by Caroline Bretherton and Kristan Raines
- I sprinkled some icing sugar to give the tart some texture. Initially I would of topped the Chocolate tarts with raspberries because the tangy fruit will give a good contrast to the chocolate but I didn't have any so I had to make do.
Any tarts you recommend I should bake? Let me know in the comments box!
Enjoy the rest of the week, Happy Hump Day!