Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Grown Up S'mores Tartlets
These tarts will make you feel like a kid again. Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow, all of the classic ingredients of the s'mores you enjoyed as a child, but with grown up flavor and a more elegant presentation. Don't let the recipe intimidate you. It may seem like there are a lot of steps, but each step is actually pretty fast and you can even make these the day before you want to serve them, then prepare the marshmallow topping just before serving. I hope you'll take a trip down memory lane and re-live some of your favorite childhood moments with this grown up s'mores tart.
Grown Up S'mores Tartlets
(adapted from Cuisine at Home)
1/2 c chopped hazelnuts, ground in a blender, food processor or coffee grinder
3 c graham cracker crumbs
2 T sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate Pastry Cream Ingredients:
2 T hazelnut syrup or liqueur (or substitute 1 T vanilla extract)
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 c milk
1/2 c sugar
2 oz each milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use good quality chocolate)
2 T unsalted butter, softened
Marshmallow Meringue Ingredients:
3 egg whites
1 jar marshallow creme (7 oz)
8 tart pans with removable sides/bottoms
Preheat oven to 375
In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, ground hazelnuts and sugar. Drizzle melted butter over the mixture and stir with a fork until combined. Mixture should be moist but not too wet. It should hold together when squeezed together in the palm of your hand. If it's too dry, add more melted butter. If too wet, add more graham cracker crumbs.
Divide the crumb mixture evenly between the 8 tart pans. Press evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Press down firmly with the bottom of a measuring cup. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Next prepare the pastry cream:
In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs, hazelnut syrup (or vanilla extract), cornstarch and salt. Set aside. You might need to re-whisk the mixture just before adding it to the pastry cream.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and sugar. Stir to combine. Heat until steam rises. Using a whisk, gradually add both types of chocolate and whisk until melted and completely combined with the milk.
Whisk half of the milk & chocolate mixture into the egg/cornstarch mixture, then add it back to the saucepan. Continue to cook until it begins to thicken, whisking often. Boil 1 minute more, whisking just enough to ensure the mixture doesn't scorch.
Stir in 2 T of softened butter and whisk until smooth.
Divide evenly between the cooled pastry shells.
Allow to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
The tarts can be made up to 1 day ahead up to this point. Prepare the meringue just before serving.
When ready to serve, prepare the Meringue:
In a clean, dry bowl using an electrix hand mixer beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (approx 2 minutes). Gradually beat in the marshmallow cream beating until stiff peaks form (approx 4-5 minutes).
Remove the tarts from the refrigerator and remove them from the tart pans (leave the bottom ring on to help stabilize). Place back on the baking sheet.
Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with the tip of your choice and pipe onto the tops of the tarts. Alternatively, you can dollop the meringue on top of the tarts using a spoon and create spikes using the back of the spoon.
Place tarts under the broiler until the meringue is golden brown. Be sure to watch carefully, once the meringue begins to brown the process goes pretty quickly.
** Note: If you don't need all 8 tarts, make half of the crust and meringue and the full amount of the chocolate pastry cream. Refrigerate the leftover pastry cream and use within 2 days (top with whipped cream, use in a trifle or parfait).
You can also use this recipe to make one large tart instead of the individual tartlets using a 9" or 10" tart pan with removable bottom.