Recipe: Fruit and Chocolate Tarts

When I was a kid, I used to be a bit of a recipe inventor. I would throw ingredients together, sometimes in less than successful ways, and triumphantly present the finished product to my father for review. Desserts were always my favourite, but it’s been a while since I played around and came up with a dessert idea from scratch. A few weeks ago I had some leftovers to use up and this recipe happened, and it was so successful, I made it again. It’s often hard to give recipes for impromptu kitchen adventures, because I just mix things at random and don’t pay attention to what I’m doing, but I’ll take a stab at it. And this is a highly flexible and very forgiving recipe.

You’re going to need pie dough, fruit filling, and chocolate ganache.

About pie dough: You can make your own or buy it, no judgments! You will need to prebake it to make tart shells. They sell mini tart shell mold things, but you don’t need to use those. I formed mine in a cupcake pan. Bake the tart shells until golden, and set them aside on racks to completely cool. You could even let them cool all the way down and stash them in an airtight container to fill later, if that’s how you want to roll. I imagine puff pastry would work well for these, as would any vegan tart/pie shell options.

About fruit filling: I made mine with raspberry filling, which I threw together by cooking a bag of frozen raspberries with about two tablespoons of corn starch and a splash of water. I cooked until everything fell apart and started jelling, and then set it aside to cool. You could use pretty much any fruit you think would taste good with chocolate; mango, blackberries, fruit mixes, etc. You could even use jam, which would work rather well, I think!

About chocolate ganache: Here is a good base recipe. I also added some whipped cream to make the ganache more fluffy and mousselike. You don’t have to do this! But I think it made things more interesting. I also used dark chocolate, but you could make milk or even white chocolate, if you prefer those. (I think white chocolate and apricot or mango would be pretty groovy.) Vegan ganache is also an option, I’ve seen a number of recipes floating around, but can’t vouch for any of them because I haven’t tried them. Make sure the ganache is cool before you use it, and if it gets stiff, heat it for just a sec to loosen it up and make it workable.

Here’s one of the things I like about this recipe: You can be all fancylike and make everything from scratch and use super posh ingredients, but you don’t have to. It’s a flexible recipe and I think it’s pretty forgiving of varying skill levels when it comes to cooking and baking. Which I am a big fan of. Recipes are not very fun when they lecture you about how you must use this specific ingredient in this particular way, and you are a bad person if you don’t. They are also not very fun when they are so intimidating that you don’t even want to think about trying them, or the tone of the recipe is so condescending that it’s like, fuck you, recipe, I don’t even want to try to adapt this to make it work for me.

Like, who cares what kind of pie dough you use? Wanna use jam, or marmalade, or lemon curd, or whatever? Who’s going to stop you? Need to bake the shells several days ahead because that’s when you have time? It’s really not a big deal. I hate recipes that are all judgy and make sure you are aware that you are a terrible failure and an evil person if you don’t do things exactly the way they tell you to. Incidentally, this is also a reasonably kid-friendly recipe since the tarts are pretty easy to assemble and the ingredients are simple to make with supervision appropriate to age level.

So. Here you are, you have all your ingredients, whatever their origins, all ready. Line up your tart shells and dollop in spoonfuls of the fruit filling, going about halfway up. Then spoon the ganache over them.

You’re done! You could, if you want, dress them up with chocolate swirls or fresh fruit or whipped cream or mint leaves or whatever, but you don’t have to. Once everything is ready, these don’t take long at all to make. You can set them out for people to eat, or stick them in the fridge to chill and serve later. I can testify that they do okay in the fridge for a couple of days, although there is a risk of the shells getting soggy if the fruit filling is particularly wet, so be careful of that.

Suitable for garden parties, afternoon tea, or lolling around on the couch watching Buffy. Your choice!