Friday, September 16, 2011

Chile-Spiced Chocolate Tarts with Crème Pâtissière and Red Wine and Chile-Infused Strawberry Sauce

*The polls are open for the Chile Challenge!
Please hurry and vote for The Bad Girl's Kitchen's fabulous chile chocolate tarts. Voting will close at noon PST on 9/16!*

I was thrilled when I received an email from Kate from Marx Foods, asking me if I'd like to join in their Blogger Chile Recipe Challenge! Of course I said yes, we love chiles! And she shipped me some free samples of six different dried chiles! We received Aji Amarillo Chiles, Cascabels, Habaneros, Japones Chiles, Mulato Chiles and Puya Chiles. What a great-smelling package!

My husband and I started thinking about all the things we could make for the challenge, and ultimately decided on a dessert, which may or may not surprise you. To us, there just aren't enough spicy desserts. It took us several days to figure out the components, but the flavor descriptions on the packages, as well as sniffing them each time we walked by, were very helpful in our decision-making.

The Aji Amarillo Chiles' flavor is described as "Fruity, poblano-esque." Obviously this pushed us toward strawberries. We also considered raspberries, but didn't want to overwhelm the flavor of the chiles.

The Mulato Chiles' flavor description is "Chocolate/Licorice," well you can guess where we used those!

After chocolate and strawberries, it didn't take long to come up with the other components of the dessert. In fact, I brainstormed while taking my 8-year-old to school one morning, and made him write down notes for me:

"Straw 8erry chiLe redUction VineGar? Sugartart crUStChocoLate chiLe vaniLLacream DoLLoP"

You can see we changed it up a bit, and modified the recipes to include the chiles and created techniques for maximum chile flavor extraction, to end up with:

Chile-Spiced Chocolate Tarts with Crème Pâtissière and Red Wine and Chile-Infused Strawberry Sauce

We used a classic French Sugar Tart Crust, intensified a Dark Chocolate Truffle filling, trusted Julia's good old Crème Pâtissière, and spiced up one of Martha's Strawberry Sauces.

We hope you enjoy this fabulous dessert! The strawberry sauce has a hint of je ne sais pas, which you and I know comes from the chiles. The chocolate puts just the right touch of heat on the back of your tongue. These little beauties are a dream! We absolutely love them.

We prepared the chocolate filling and the strawberry sauce first, then the crust. The next day, right before assembly, we prepared the crème pâtissière. To assemble, gently pipe a generous layer of room-temperature chocolate into each tart crust. Top with a lovely dollop of crème pâtissière, and drizzle with strawberry sauce and balance one strawberry sliver on top, just before serving. I decorated the serving plate with a swirl of crème anglaise. Quite honestly, you can make each separate component of this dessert, except the crust, a couple days in advance, and assemble when ready.

Chile-Spiced Dark Chocolate Filling

Adapted from a recipe in Fran Bigelow's
Pure Chocolate

1 cup heavy cream
9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 whole dried Mulato Chile

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat cream with whole chile until almost boiling. Remove from heat and steep for 7 minutes.

Reheat cream just to boiling, remove from heat, strain and pour all but approximately 1/4 cup cream over the chopped chocolate. Make sure you catch the big chile, you'll need that in the next step.

Remove the chile stem, and place the softened, warm chile in a small food processor or stick blender bowl with processor attachment, along with the 1/4 cup reserved cream. Puree until relatively smooth. Strain the cream and chile mixture into the chocolate and cream, pressing with a spatula to extract all the spicy goodness.

Mix the chocolate, cream and spiced cream mixture with a spatula until smooth and combined. Let sit at room temperature, uncovered, for 4 hours.

Red Wine and Chile-Infused Strawberry Sauce

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

2 pints strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 - 2 dried Aji Amarillo Chiles

If strawberries are small, cut in half; if large, cut in quarters. Combine sugar, red wine, cinnamon stick and chiles in a skillet; cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Reheat mixture and add the strawberries, cook until berries soften slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Discard cinnamon stick and peppers before serving (but if you're storing for a day or two, leave them in until serving!)

Let sit, leaving chile and cinnamon stick in the mixture until ready to serve.

Sugar Tart Crust

From Pure Chocolate, by Fran Bigelow

*Note: I made small tarts with this dough, with a mini muffin pan. I do not have small tart pans with removable bottoms. I do not recommend you attempt this without small tart pans with removable bottoms,perhaps pans like these, or maybe this pan...

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 cup cake flour
all-purpose flour for dusting

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the egg yolk. Continue mixing on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until pale yellow in color and completely smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add the cake flour. Mix on low speed just until blended, being careful not to overmix. Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap and gently pat into a ball. Wrap well and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Lightly butter twelve 3-inch round tart pans with removable bottoms. (I used a pan with no removable bottoms; not recommended). Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Let the dough warm on the counter for about 20 minutes, until pliable but still cool to the touch.

On a lightly floured board gently knead the dough a few times. Pat into a ball, then with the palms of your hands flatten into a 5-inch round disc. Roll the dough our into a rectangle, about 9 by 12 inches. With a 4-inch round cookie cutter cut out circles. Transfer the circles of dough to the buttered pans, pressing into the bottom and sides, keeping the sides even and thick. Trim excess dough along the edges. Pierce the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 30 minutes or until firm.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chilled tart shell on a baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Dough scraps may be gathered, returned to the refrigerator to chill, and rerolled.

Crème Pâtissière

From Mastering the Art of French Cooking

1 cup granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups boiling milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks with a whisk or electric beater and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and forms the ribbon. Beat in the flour. While beating the yolk mixture, very gradually pour on the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets so that the yolks are slowly warmed.

Pour the mixture into a clean, heavy-bottomed enameled or stainless steel saucepan and set over moderately high heat. Stir with wire whip, reaching all over bottom of pan. As sauce comes to the boil it will get lumpy, but will smooth out as you beat it. When boil is reached, beat over moderately low heat for 2 to 3 minutes to cook the flour. Be careful custard does not scorch in bottom of pan.

Remove from heat and beat in the butter, then the vanilla. If the custard is not used immediately, clean it off the sides of the pan, and dot top of custard with softened butter to prevent as skin from forming over the surface.


threesidesofcrazy said...

These are so decadent and flavor packed - YUM!! with a capital Y!

Maren said...

I really like recipes that mix unusual ingredients. Chile infused tarts is an awesome idea.

mjskit said...

What great little spicy bites! Love this recipe!

Kristina said...

I feel like I'm too clumsy to follow such a complex recipe, but I would looooove to try these!

Min said...

Thanks everyone! Kristina, the hardest part is actually the crust (and maybe the creme). The rest is easy, and can be divided into one task per can do it!

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