Bitter Chocolate Tarts

tart stack

Just a quickie thats been kicking around in my head for a while now. I liked the idea of bitter chocolate tarts ever since having one at Divido in Mt Hawthorn a while back. I’m not a huge fan of really sweet desserts, so the idea of the bitter chocolate appealed to my savoury sensibilities quite strongly.

I’d been sitting on a block of dark (80%) Spanish cooking chocolate for a while, waiting for the next outbreak of the war on terror to hit and send my stocks through the roof. Fortunately that hasn’t happened yet (although the current one is bad enough), and so my resource speculation will have to take a back seat to my baking.

I picked the chocolate up while visiting the lovely lady at Spanish Flavours in Wembley (who i’ll call Maria for the sake of cultural stereotypes), it’s a great store full of all sorts of Spanish and Latin flavoured products. Anyone familiar with “Steve Don’t Eat It” (go there, its good) will be glad to know there is a place where you can find your very own can of Cuitlacoche to play with.

So Maria pointed me in the direction of this chocolate and said it was just the stuff for baking all kinds of delicious desserts “But not for drinking !” She said… “I got a nice one for you to try for drinking”. So after being softened up by a mug of free hot chocolate, that looked more like chocolate yoghurt in consistency, I made the purchase and was on my merry way.

Now with my recent tart making success during the Moroccan dinner under my belt, it was time to roll onto the next tart based challenge. So here we have…

Bitter Chocolate Tarts

Pastry Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream

Bitter Chocolate Filling:

  • 300mL thickened or whipping cream
  • 200g dark chocolate (80 per cent)
  • 50g butter, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Butterscotch schapps
  • half a cup of sugar (if you can’t take the bitterness)

bitter chocolate

How I Made Mine

For the crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor. Mix it all around and then add the butter by cutting it up into small pieces and dropped in a piece at a time until the mixture turns into a rough mixture. Add the egg and cream while the processor is still going at which point it should all come together and turn into a big ball that sticks together quite well.

Take the ball out of the processor and onto a floured surface. Knead it a little and when it seems to be a good consistency that is both soft and a little crumbly, but doesn’t completely fall apart, work it into the shape you’re after and press it into your baking dish. In this case I made a bunch of little tarts. So I broke off small balls of dough and pressed them into discs before lining them into a texas muffin tin. Then prick the bottom of the tarts all over with a fork and put them into the freezer for about 20 minutes before cooking.

When they’re mostly solid and have a good shape after being in the freezer, pop them into a preheated oven at 180C and bake for 15-20 minutes until they’re golden brown. Take them out and let them cool.

For the filling I heated the cream until just below boiling point and then transferred it into a bowl along with the chocolate that had been shaved finely so it would melt quickly. Then let that sit for a minute before stirring in the butter and bringing it all together with the baileys and butterscotch schnapps (which you can quite happily omit if you don’t like cowboys). At this point please taste the mixture… I was going along happily and then I had a taste and realised it was too bitter even for my espresso loving palate (although don’t get me started on the bitterness in espresso debate). So i added a half a cup or so of caster sugar to the mixture and stirred it through to lighten the soul destroying bitterness that was currently lurking in the bowl.

Once it’s cooled, pour it into the waiting tart shells and pop it into the freezer or fridge for a good few hours until solid.

bitter chocolate mini tart with ice cream

Take them out and serve with a good dollop of cream or ice cream to add in the digestive process. Incidentally, mine were still really bitter when I took them out of the fridge the night I made them, but after a couple of days they seem to have mellowed. Don’t ask me how… perhaps all the sugar and alcohol settled at the bottom of the bowl and all got poured into one of the tarts, but either way they tasted great.

The best thing is that if no-one else likes them you can just criticise them for having woefully unsophisticated palates and still come out looking good :) Tasty.

12 thoughts on “Bitter Chocolate Tarts”

  1. Is it wrong that I have this strong urge to want to dive into that chocolate filling? Sorry did I just type that? Ooops, starnge chocolate fetishes aside, your tarts are gorgeous.

  2. hey jenjen, I can’t say that’s the strangest thing I’ve ever heard, so your secret is safe with me… and the internet. There is no judgement in the land of abstract gourmet. Likewise with the chocolate induced dyslexia. Thanks for stopping by and saying nice things about my tarts… it proves I do manage to eat something other than meat and pasta sometimes :)

  3. Awesome blog, it’s partially the cooking, partially the witty text and partially the photos. Been following your adventures for a little while and finally have bothered (lazy yes) to post something :)

    Bitter chocolate is terrific to cook with and seriously under utilised. One suggestion that came to mind, compliments of the Lindt Cafe in Sydney, is to serve the bitter chocolate tart with a kind of bruleed top. I imagine they achieve this by simply sprinkling a combination finally ground/grated chocolate and sugar on top and blow torching, creating a bubbled and semi-crunchy texture (hot grill may do the job, but not sure what effect it would have on the filling?). The crisp brulee top combined with the richness of the bitter chocolate and fine pastry shell is beautiful!

    Mich :)

  4. Hey Ange, If you want to get over a chocolate obsession, just take a mouthful of raw 80-90% bitter chocolate… It’ll sort you right out… until you make a tart out of it :)

    Mich, thanks for getting off your arse and commenting… and If I come across as a partially witty cook who takes ok photos, then my work here is done.
    I like the brulee idea too, not because I really like brulee, but mainly because it involves using blow torches… so I may just have to try that soon and pretend it was because I was exploring an interesting juxtaposition of textures… when i really just wanted to burn things…

  5. Hi ho Matto

    Made the tarts on Saturday for Sunday and they were truly scrumdiddlyumptious, sadly mine never set harder than chocolate sauce consistancy (good thing I served them in large wide bowls to catch all the yumminess), maybe 300mls was too much cream??, I dont know will continue to experiment, the “cowboy” connotiation was pure genius by the way.

    happy cooking

  6. Hey Shazzie, thanks for the feedback… I probably should have a disclaimer that all of my measurements may vary by 10-50% to take into account the voodoo that happens in my kitchen.

    Also, I popped mine into the freezer for a while after filling them, which set the chocolate filling quite nicely. Glad they turned out great anyway, and that my attempts at subtle humour are appreciated…


  7. Hah now he tells me he has meaurement dyslexia… harm done Matt I used the left over filling, runni and yummi poured over vanilla bean icecream it makes the best icecream topping… :)


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