Friday, October 15, 2010

Chocolate Meringue Tartlets

Individually baked chocolate meringue tartlets.

My apologies for the lame pictures. I'm good at baking, but I suck at taking pictures -- so the super-appetizing "I WANT THAT" pictures will have to wait until my favorite food photographer comes over around dinnertime.

Recipe, review, nutrition info, and more photos after the jump...

Yields 8 tartlet crusts
-silicone baking cups (probably)
-mixing bowl

- 1 pkg Diget cookies, crushed (Korea) 1 cup crushed graham crackers or digestive biscuits (USA/UK)
-2 tbsp brown sugar
-3 tbsp melted butter

1. I don't have a food processor, so I put the cookies in a Ziplock and rolled a heavy jam jar over it to crush them
2. Mix cookie crumbs and butter to form a paste
3. Spread ~2 tbsp (I didn't measure, sorry) of paste on the bottom and sides of each silicone baking cup. All the way up to the top. Push it firmly against all sides, packed to about 1/8"-1/4" thick.
4. Bake at 170 C for 8 minutes

*I imagine you will need to use silicone baking cups like I did, though I guess it's worth a try with a regular muffin tin/muffin liner setup. Or just make it as a large tart in a regular tart or pie pan.

Yields filling 8 tartlets, plus ~3/4 cup extra (or ~12 tarts total)
-hand mixer
-mixing bowls
-stovetop range

- 2 cups chocolate milk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 6 egg yolks (save whites for meringue topping)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 1/2 tbsp flour
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1. Bring chocolate milk to a boil, stirring occasionally.
2. While milk is heating, beat together egg yolks and sugar until they become a slightly paler yellow color. Stir in vanilla, flour, and salt.
3. When the milk boils, remove from heat. Add the hot milk to the egg mixture a couple tablespoons at a time, stirring constantly (temper the eggs). When a little over half the milk is in the egg mixture, pour the whole milk-egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk in the saucepan.
4. Bring the whole mixture to a boil on medium/ medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a spoon or spatula and being sure to scrape the bottom and sides.
5. After about a minute, the mixture should be considerably thicker, like thick pudding. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Use a hand mixer or immersion blender to smooth out bumps, if there are any. Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper and let cool in fridge.

Yields topping for 8 tartlets, plus enough to make about 2 dozen meringue cookies.

*Note: equipment must be clean and dry
- hand mixer or immersion blender
- large mixing bowl

- 6 egg whites (conserved from pudding recipe)
-100g powdered sugar (1 pkg from Home Plus, maybe a little over 1/2 cup USA)
- 1 tsp cream of tartar (unavailable in Korea. you'll just need to work faster)

1. Beat eggs on high. It's a lot of egg whites, so it'll take a while. They'll double or even triple in volume, and you'll know you're on the right track.
2. After about 40 seconds-1 minute, add cream of tartar, and start adding a tbsp of sugar at a time.
3. When you lift your egg beaters out of the bowl and stiff peaks form (ie, when your meringue looks like this) you're done.

1. Optional: place 3 bittersweet chocolate chips in the middle of each crust.
2. Take the chocolate cream out of the fridge. Spoon it into each tartlet (over the chocolate chips, if you used 'em), filled until even with the top of the tart.
3. Spread a large dollop of meringue over the chocolate and over the edges of the crust. Pile it up to about an inch thick.
4. Put the cups in a muffin tin or on a baking sheet near the bottom of the oven (not on the lowest shelf, but on one of the lower ones). Broil for 3-5 minutes, or until the top is browned but not burnt.

Review: Dude. YUM! These were freakin' incredible. They are definitely more work and more clean-up than, say, cookies or even one-bowl cupcakes, but they are packed with 1950's Americana goodness. Or, at least, what I imagine my great-aunt Sarah would have been whipping up for my mom back in good old 50's West Virginia. They're sweet, rich, decadent, and I love anything in a cupcake form. The broiled meringue has a great angel food cake texture, and I don't miss the more traditional choice of whipped cream at all.

Nutrition Review: Not too shabby. I substituted meringue for whipped cream, and unlike most custards, mine uses no cream. Using low-fat or fat-free graham crackers and softened light/whipped butter for the crust would help, too, though in Korea I don't have access to those things. Next time, I plan to throw about 1/2 cup of μˆœλ‘λΆ€ (soft fresh tofu) into the custard, balanced out by a bit of plain cocoa and powdered sugar, to make it even more health-friendly.
In case anyone's wondering, I ran it through the Weight Watchers online calculator, and it clocks in at 5 points. Pretty decent -- if you can figure out how to eat just one!

More pics on JJ's site here.

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