Nothing heralds in the month of February like all the pink and red hearts on shop fronts and display windows. While Mr. K and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day, we won’t ever pass up an opportunity to celebrate something if it’s an excuse to eat something special. And while we don’t really exchange gifts or cards for Valentine’s day, I wouldn’t say no to a box of Lindt truffles or Ferrero Rocher either.
Since I started this blog a few months ago, we’ve been celebrating (any occasion to celebrate) with even more gusto. So Valentine’s day won’t be any different. We kicked off our celebrations two weeks early this past weekend, with these amazing and indulgent Caramelized White Chocolate & Boozy Raspberry Tarts! A boozy, raspberry center, under a sweet caramelized white chocolate cream patisserie (pastry cream) topping, and a bitter sweet crunchy chocolate tart to carry it all. If that won’t get your valentine in the mood, then you’re in trouble.
This has got a lot of things that spell romantic dessert – chocolate, raspberry, cream, booze and even roses (if you count those little decorations on top!).
Between my husband and I, I’m the one with the sweet tooth. But every now and then I create something decadent that invokes a strong reaction from him. So I was really happy to see that he absolutely loved this dessert. He actually came home from work a little early the day I made these, saying that he wasn’t going to be able to concentrate on anything until he had tasted them! True story. They come in a cute serving size, but pack quite a punch with so much deliciousness that you won’t be able to stop at one.
The pastry base is a crumbly cookie-like base. You can use chocolate shortcrust for this, but I personally like the crunchy crumbly cookie-like base. The issue with this kind of base though is that it can be harder to roll it out (even when it’s frozen). So what I do is, I roll up the dough into a log shape and then cut discs. Then with floured hands I press it into the greased tart pans. Then I trim off the extra with a serrated knife and then put it in the refrigerator till they firm up before blind baking.
Caramelized white chocolate deserves its own post really. It is that amazing. I learnt how to caramelize white chocolate from this David Lebovitz’s post here. The end result is going to be this very seductive, very not safe for work imagery that you see below. If you’re the easily tempted kind, avert your eyes. Do it now!
Oops, too late. And now that I’ve learnt how to create “gifs,” expect to see a few more in the future! Muwahahaha!
I also made little royal icing roses to go on top of some of the tarts. While they do look adorable, you only need to place them on top just before serving. The colour of the roses can bleed into the cream patisserie leaving “pink roots”.
Another option for the tarts is the Creme Brulee topping. I LOVE this option, but because this isn’t a proper Creme Brulee, the custard underneath might melt (when you use the blowtorch), so refrigerate/freeze it for a few minutes afterwards and then serve.
The boozy raspberry filling is pretty easy. You just have to mix raspberry preserve with Vodka. I chose Vodka because it’s a neutral spirit. It has no inherent flavour as such, which could otherwise mask the white chocolate and raspberry flavours. However if you happen to have a raspberry liqueur (YUM!), that would be an even better substitution for the vodka! Vodka is what I had in my kitchen.
Caramelized White Chocolate tarts with boozy Raspberry filling
Bittersweet Chocolate Tart
- 30 g cocoa
- 190 g flour
- 130 g cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 90 g sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 2-4 tbsp cold water
Caramelized White Chocolate Pastry Cream
- 8 oz caramelized white chocolate melted (made according to this recipe with 8 oz of white chocolate) - You will only be using half. Please see Notes at the bottom of the recipe (you can substitute with plain white chocolate as well)
- ⅔ cup milk
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 1 tbsp flour
- 2 tsp vanilla or ½ vanilla pod
- ½ cup whipping cream
- 1/4 tsp gelatin
- 3 tbsp water
- 5 oz raspberry preserve
- 4 tbsp vodka substitute with lemonade if you do not want to use alcohol
- Edible sugar roses
- Caramelized white chocolate
- Cocoa powder to decorate
- or sugar and blow torch for creme brulee topping
Bittersweet Chocolate Tarts
- In a food processor, combine flour, cocoa and sugar and pulse to mix.
- While still pulsing, add the butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Add the egg yolks while running the processor on low and add water (a table spoon at a time) until the dough comes together.
- Roll the dough into a log shape, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour to rest.
- Prepare the 10-11 mini tart tins (3 inches diameter, 1/2 inch tall) by spraying them with oil or coating them with melted butter. Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C.
- Cut the dough log into 10 - 11 sections and with lightly floured hands press these into the tart pans. Make sure it is evenly pressed in.
- With a knife cut off the excess around the rim.
- Transfer back into the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up.
- Before baking, dock the tart base with a fork. Line them with parchment paper or foil and fill the tart shells with pie weights or beans.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes (blind baking) and a further 15 minutes after removing the pie weights.
- Let it cool for a few minutes and remove from the tart tins to cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Optional - brush the inside of the tart bases with melted dark chocolate or melted caramelized white chocolate. This is to prevent the tart base from becoming soggy when you add the custard later.
White Chocolate Pastry Cream
- In a saucepan bring the milk to a boil while stirring.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk, 1 tbsp sugar, vanilla, flour and cornflour until you get a nice smooth paste.
- In another bowl place the water and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Leave it for about 10 minutes to bloom.
- When the milk has heated, mix it into the egg in a very slow, thin stream while whisking the eggs continuously (tempering the eggs). Add the gelatin into this mix and whisk, to incorporate the gelatin completely.
- transfer the milk back to the saucepan and whisk for a few minutes until it starts to thicken. Pour 4 oz melted caramelized white chocolate into the custard and whisk until it's incorporated fully.
- If there are any lumps, strain the custard to make it smooth again. Let it cool.
- Whisk the cream until you get stiff peaks and fold this into the cooled custard. Keep the pastry cream in the fridge until you’re ready to use.
- Whisk the raspberry preserves and alcohol together until mixed. Leave aside until ready to use.
- Evenly pour the raspberry filling into the bottom of the chocolate tart bases - about 1 tbsp in each.
- Pour the cold pastry cream on top to fill the tarts.
- Decorate with roses or cocoa powder or drizzle extra melted caramelized white chocolate.
- If you want a creme brulee topping - evenly spread a layer of white sugar on top of the tarts and using a blow torch caramelize the sugar. Place the tarts in the freezer for a few minutes to cool down quickly before serving.
Tips & Tricks
Note 1 on the Caramelized White Chocolate - you will only be using 4 oz of the white chocolate (½ the quantity) Leave the excess to decorate the tarts, or brush the inside of the tart bases or mix it with some whipping cream to make a delicious sauce to top ice cream!
Note 2 - David Lebovitz’s recipe calls for 12 oz of White Chocolate. 8 oz of white chocolate will give you just under 8 oz of caramelized white chocolate, in about 45 min. You have less chance of burning the chocolate if you use more white chocolate, at a slightly lower oven temperature.
Let me tell you… these caramelized white chocolate & raspberry tarts were ah-mazing! I am not the biggest fan of white chocolate (because of its sweetness) and always worry about using it as a main ingredient. But the sweetness here is balanced perfectly by the strong bitter sweet tart crust and the fruity tartness of raspberry. And using white chocolate as the only sweetener for the custard also helps. The caramel flavour comes through beautifully, like a dulce de leche, but better!
And you will love the raspberry center oozing out with the thick delicious caramelized white chocolate cream when you dig into this. All those amazing flavours are then followed by the kick and the warmth of the alcohol. Perfecto! 🙂
The tarts with the creme brulee topping have an awesome crunchy caramel top, but do NOT make the same mistake that I made and break into it as soon as you torch the sugar layer, the custard filling can be quite runny at this point. So make sure to put it in the freezer for a few minutes to cool down after you have blow torched it. But once you take it out from the freezer, there’s nothing like cracking that caramel top with a quick tap with your spoon (or fork). It’s the little things in life sometimes…
That’s the last GIF for today. I promise.
If you feel like making a cake for Valentine’s instead, check out my last post – Raspberry Cake with Pistachios & Rose Water Frosting.
Or check out this fantastic round up of Chocolate desserts by Jenny from Honey & Birch!
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