almond milk chocolate pudding coconut tarts

20130507-153151.jpgWho doesn’t love chocolate pudding? And I don’t mean jello pudding cups … I mean homemade chocolate pudding … richness and sweetness and creaminess and deliciousness all rolled into one spoonful of joy.

How about we toss in a coconut pastry crust … and turn it into a tart? Does that make it even more appealing?

I am unabashedly in love with this combination.

This recipe came on my radar when (surprise surprise) I came upon it on pinterest. The picture I pinned promised me the best chocolate pie recipe ever. Who can resist that?

I clicked to follow the link to the original source, and was introduced to Kelly and her mammy’s chocolate pie.

Who doesn’t love something grandma made?

I fell hook, line and sinker for it … have made it several times over the last two and a half weeks … and tweaked it to what it is today.

The first time I made it … I stuck to the original. Pastry crust and chocolate pudding filling. Rather than top it with toasted meringue … I opted to pipe a little whipped cream. A little added decadence to a very simple recipe.

After that … I thought: I like chocolate and coconut together. Why don’t I made a coconut pastry crust?

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Done.

Kelly’s grandma’s recipe evolved to include a dressed up base. I opted to make them both into mini tarts (using muffin pans lined with cupcake liners) and a rectangular tart.

Dee-light-FUL!

Then it was time to fiddle around with the chocolate pudding. I replaced the milk with almond milk. I tossed in a teaspoon of espresso powder, swapped the butter for coconut oil and … bam! I ended up with one of my favourite things.

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I love how creamy the pudding is, how crispy the pastry is … and when you put them together …

Happiness in a bite. Or several bites.

I’m gonna tell you … it’s a little messy.

You see, the coconut crust isn’t like regular pastry dough that I roll out, and then shape to fit into my cupcake pans or regular tart pans. This dough doesn’t cover the base and go up the sides, ensuring a perfect little conduit for the chocolate pudding.

No. This coconut crust is more like a shortbread crust, and so it’s a little more difficult to mold as well as traditional pastry dough.

But who cares right?!

I combined all the ingredients and then pressed pieces of the dough into the base of the cupcake pan / tart pan / mini tart pan (I told you … I’ve made these multiple times: multiple baking vessels have been used).

The coconut pastry is then blind baked until it’s crispy. Cooled and then topped with almond milk chocolate pudding.

Crunchy base, creamy centre … top with a dollop of whipped cream …

Perfection in my opinion. You should probably try it … immediately.

almond milk chocolate pudding coconut tarts

ingredients:

almond milk chocolate pudding

2 c. almond milk

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp flour

1 c. sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp espresso powder

1/4 c. cocoa powder

3 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp coconut oil

Combine the almond milk, cornstarch, flour, sugar, salt, espresso powder, cocoa powder and egg yolks in a medium saucepan.

Cook over medium-low heat, whisking continuously. It’ll take about 10 minutes, be patient, but it’ll thicken nicely (make sure you whisk along the sides of the saucepan so that the custard doesn’t stick to the bottom).

Once it’s just about to bubble, remove the saucepan from heat. Stir in the vanilla and the coconut oil. Once incorporated, pass the custard through a strainer. You want to get all those little bits out so that you end up with the smoothest pudding possible.

Cover with plastic wrap and cool in the fridge.

almond milk chocolate pudding. Done.

coconut pastry dough

1 1/2 c. flour

3/4 c. flaked coconut

3/4 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

10 tbsp coconut oil (melted if it’s hardened)

Heat your oven to 350 F.

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Mix your flour, coconut, brown sugar and salt together.

Add the melted coconut oil. Mix until it comes together (it’ll look like wet sand … not mud, but wet sand).

Press into your tart pan / mini tart pans / cupcake pan.

Bake for 12 minutes. You might think it’s overkill. It’s not. You want a really crunchy tart shell.

Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

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The hard work is done. Now all you have to do is assemble. Generously top or fill your pastry crust with the chocolate pudding.

Bet you can’t eat just one (mini tart or slice).

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pie challenge & the tart

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The baking crew and I were at it again.  This time, the challenge was pies.

Yay!  I heart making pies!

Cory made a beautiful apple, walnut, goat cheese pie (gorgeous … but a little dry: even he agreed).  Tom & Aimée made a really delicious pecan pie (nothing to fault with this one at all), and Meredith made a super flavourful apple & cranberry pie (she had some pastry issues … but the filling was spot on).

We went pie crazy! I went pie crazy!

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Not only did I make my chocolate – cranberry tart … but I also thought it’d be fun to arrive with some mini chocolate-pecan-cherry tarts topped with pumpkin ganache (talk about a real mouthful!).

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Mother of Jerome!? (It can’t always be Pearl right?) What was I thinking?

I was thinking … “I am not 100% sure that the chocolate – cranberry tart will turn out exactly as I want it too… so why not add a new component to an already loved classic and giver!”  Welcome to how my mind works … these are the types of internal dialogues I have … all.the.time.

Since we were baking these in honour of American Thanksgiving … I thought … pumpkin, pecans, chocolate, cherries and pie … individually they all remind me of Thanksgiving … combined … they SCREAM Thanksgiving (and deliciousness in a bite).

How could I *not* make these??!  Exactly.  I had no choice.  chocolate-pecan-cherry tarts with pumpkin ganache were a must.

This recipe is a combination of my own chocolate-pecan pie and momofuku milkbar‘s pumpkin ganache.  I had been flipping through my momofuku milkbar cookbook, spotted the ganache recipe and thought it would be the perfect complement to my tart filling.  Although you need to plan ahead (the ganache recipe calls for a minimum of 4 hours in the fridge), the entire recipe is dead easy.  And ridiculously delicious.

*bakers note: according to the recipe book, you MUST use an immersion blender to make this ganache.   

My chocolate-pecan-cherry filling actually originated from a pecan pie recipe: it’s what I consider to be my *go to* pie.  The one I make when I don’t have much time, when I don’t want to blind bake my pastry dough, and when I want to impress people.  The original recipe brings a smile to everyones face … I decided it was time to switch it up a bit.

If you’re new to pies and tarts and want to try something easy and delicious: this is the recipe for you.  Plus you’ll impress everyone when they see how pretty the tarts look with a little piped pumpkin ganache.

chocolate-pecan-cherry tarts with pumpkin ganache

ingredients:

basic pastry dough (I omit the sugar and water from the recipe)

momofuku milkbar’s pumpkin ganache

150 g white chocolate
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/4 c. cold heavy cream
1/3 c. pumpkin purée
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Combine the white chocolate and butter in a medium bowl over gently simmering water (you don’t want the water to touch the bottom of your bowl), and melt.  You want the chocolate to be barely warm to the touch.  You can also do this in a microwave in 15 second bursts (stirring between each blast).

Transfer your chocolate mixture to a tall and narrow container – something that will accommodate an immersion blender (mine came with a 1 litre container-like bowl).  Add the corn syrup to the chocolate mixture and buzz with your hand blender.  After a minute, stream in the COLD heavy cream.  You’ll see that the ganache will come together in a smooth and shiny texture.

Blend in the pumpkin purée, salt and cinnamon.

Put the ganache in your fridge to firm before using; a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.  If not used immediately, this can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

tart filling

1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose b. flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. dried cherries, chopped
1 c. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. butter, melted

Heat your oven to 350 F.  Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface.  I was able to roll it out, cut out 12 pieces and line the 12 muffin cups in my pan.  I like to have my dough as cold as possible … so once I’ve lined the muffin cups, I return the pan to the freezer while I make the filling.

In a large bowl, mix the sugar and flour together. Add the eggs, pecans, chocolates, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crusts.

Bake for 20 minutes on the lower rack of your oven.  You’ll know that they are ready when the centre doesn’t jiggle.  Careful!  These babies are hot!  Corn syrup, pecans and brown sugar … all things that heat up quickly!  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

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I decided to re-whip the pumpkin ganache before putting it in the piping bag.  I just wanted to get it a little fluffy.  After quickly whipping the ganache, I filled a piping bag and piped each mini tart (using a star tip).

Don’t they look pretty?  They tasted pretty awesome too!

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ps … my chocolate-cranberry tart won best in show!

rhubarb raspberry cream tarts

There is so much that I want to blog about.

In the past few weeks I’ve made my first batch of gelato (huge success), batches of those smores bars (now I add the flaked coconut to the graham cracker base … a very tasty “twist” to the recipe), and I’ve been making these …

These are the best little tarts I ever did try.

Rhubarb.

Raspberries.

Cream filling.

DEE-LIGHT-FUL.

Oh my gosh … I wish I was nibbling on one as I write this …

It’s a tart happy little treat … full of promise of the summer to come.

It’s everything I love in baked goods.

Plus … it’s super pretty (double bonus).

I made a batch of my favourite pastry dough - and was able to get 18 tarts out of it.  The tarts were made using my cupcake / muffin pans as a mold.  I thought it was a good idea, since you need a “deep-dish” like mold - after all, you not only fill them with berries and rhubarb; but you also top them with a cream / custard filling.

The original recipe made a 9-inch pie … but who wants one 9-inch pie … when you can get eighteen mini tarts!

rhubarb – raspberry cream tarts

ingredients:

basic pastry dough (although for this tart, I omit the sugar in the recipe)

1 1/2 c. chopped rhubarb (about 4 stalks)

1 c. raspberries

1 c. sugar

2 tbsp flour

3/4 c. heavy cream

2 eggs

*bakers note – I halved the recipe each time I made it (the better to have fresh tarts for many occasions) – so the pictures below show the instructions and ingredients halved.  If you want to make a full batch at a time – follow the ingredient list above.  Sorry for any confusion.

Making the cream filling is super simple … and done in 3 easy steps!

Then you fill each tart with the berries and cream … and bake.

Pretty simple and easy eh?

Go on … make this!  And if you want … since it’s such a classic combination … go and grab some of those newly picked strawberries and turn these into rhubarb-strawberry tarts.

Sighs of happiness.