German Chocolate Tarts

Holy fish sticks, how is it already almost May?  This month has really flown by, leaving in its wake both joyous moments and disappointments.  But it’s almost May, and May means sunshine, and sunshine means sundresses, so I’m happy.

I didn’t start wearing sundresses until last year, and it’s still a big deal for me, so please bear with my excitement.  I can’t wait to move to the new house where I can be out in the yard, spread out on a blanket, reading.  Our apartment doesn’t have much by way of a yard, and every time we go outside, the new neighbor’s dog starts howling like a tone-deaf yodeler.

So I’m staying inside for now, and since temps are only reaching the mid 50s in MA right now, I’m ok with it.

I’ll just have to channel my warm weather frustrations into making some kitchen magic.  Take these tarts for example.  Pure. Kitchen. Magic.

KA and I made these back when she was visiting, since I was driving her home (which also happens to be my hometown) and wanted to bring something special to my dad.  You know, because I’m a good daughter like that.

I had some leftover filling from these cookies, so these tarts seemed like an appropriate vehicle for using it up.  Luke liked them so much he asked me if I really had to take them to my dad.  I mean, I don’t blame him.  My dad asked if it were possible for the tarts to mate, thereby replenishing the ones he ate overnight.  I think that means they’re good 😉

German Chocolate Tarts

Adapted from Scientifically Sweet

Makes 12 muffin sized tarts

For the pastry:

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

3 Tbsp sugar

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, very cold and cut into cubes

1 large egg

For the filling:

3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

½ cup sugar

1/8 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 Tbsp sour cream

½ tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup all purpose flour

For the topping*:

2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

¾ cup evaporated milk

½ cup sugar

2 large egg yolks

pinch of salt

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

3oz semi sweet chocolate, for drizzling (optional)

To make the pastry, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Add butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.  The butter should be well dispersed with some larger, oat flake-sized pieces remaining.  Beat egg well with a fork in a small bowl until very fluid and drizzle into flour mixture while gently tossing with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened and it holds together in clumps.  Turn dough out onto a work surface and bring it together in a ball with your hands, turning it frequently and pressing in loose bits until it is cohesive.  You may need to add a little water if your dough is too dry.  Add water 1 Tbsp at a time with dough comes together.  Fold the dough over itself a few times so that the dough is evenly hydrated.  Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

After the dough has chilled, roll it out to a 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.  Use a 3.5 to 4 inch round to cut out 12 circles (re-rolling scraps as necessary) and fit each round into the greased base of each well in a standard 12-cup muffin pan.  Press pastry into the bottom and up the sides of the muffin cups.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the filling, stir together chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pot with ½ inch of barely simmering water until completely melted and smooth.  Remove bowl from heat and stir in sugar and salt.  Stir in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.  Stir in sour cream and vanilla extract.  Fold in flour until batter is smooth and set aside.

Prick bottoms of chilled, unbaked tart shells a few times with a fork.  Spoon the batter into tart shells, filling them about halfway and bake on the bottom third rack of the oven until batter puffs up and pastry is crisp, about 15 minutes.  Let cool in pan at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Use a small offset spatula to help release them from the pan.  Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.

*I used leftovers from this recipe for the topping, so I didn’t actually make this part.

Spread coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until lightly golden, about 5 minutes, stirring once.  Transfer coconut to a bowl and let cool completely.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, whisk together evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks and salt over medium low heat.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens considerably and reaches the consistency of sweetened condensed milk or pouring custard, 10-15 minutes.  Stir in butter until smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in toasted coconut and chopped pecans.  Let mixture cool for 5-10 minutes before spooning about 1 tablespoon of it over each tart.

If you’re making the chocolate drizzle, place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot with ½ inch of barely simmering water and stir completely melted and smooth.  Using a fork, drizzle warm chocolate over tarts as you wish.

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