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chocolate mint tarts

Do you ever have an idea that rattles around in your head for a very long time? I have a chalk board in my kitchen on which I write a list of things I'd like to bake. I wrote chocolate mint tarts on that chalk board about 12 months ago and at last I found the time to make them. I don't have an excuse, life just got in the way.

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I didn't have a recipe as such and decided to just wing it.



I knew I had some of my favourite
 chocolate pastry lurking in the freezer, made from the Popina Book of Baking. I used that to make the tart shells. The chocolate filling I adapted from this Valli Little recipe and I used some chocolate mints I've been hoarding in my pantry since last Christmas. I wasn't sure the chocolate mints would make the filling minty enough so I infused the milk with a peppermint teabag I found in the cupboard.

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Here's the finished product. The recipe made eight 7 cm tarts and two 10 cm tarts. I took the tarts into work and they were pronounced a success by the team. The tarts are very rich and chocolately with a subtle but not over powering mint flavour.

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Here's the recipe for you.

Chocolate Mint Tarts - makes eight 8 cm tarts or six 10 cm tarts

Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry 
(or you can use shop bought dark chocolate shortcrust pastry) 
225 g (8 oz) plain flour
25 gm (¼ cup) cocoa 
125 g (4½ oz) unsalted butter chilled and cubed 
85 g (3 oz) caster sugar
1 egg, beaten

Place the flour, cocoa, butter and sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 

Gradually adthe beaten egg until the dough starts to gather around the blade of the processor. Remove the dough and bring together into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until 3-4 mm thick. Line eight 8 cm or six 10 cm tart tins with the chocolate short crust pastry and trim the excess dough neatly around the edges. You won’t need all the pastry so freeze the leftovers for later use. Refrigerate the lined tins for another 20 minutes.


Preheat a conventional oven to 180˚C (350˚F) then prick the pastry with a fork to prevent rising. I line the tins with squares of baking paper before filling each tin with baking weights.  Place the tart tins onto a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the edges of the pastry are browned. Carefully remove the lining paper and baking weights and allow the tart shells to cool before filling.


Filling
100ml milk
1 peppermint tea bag
225g good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 eggs
1 tbl caster sugar
150ml thickened cream, plus extra whipped cream to serve (optional)
8-12 thin chocolate coated mints
Cocoa powder for dusting (optional)

Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until just below boiling point. Steep the tea bag in the warm milk for 20 minutes to allow the flavour to infuse. Remove the tea bag from the milk, thoroughly squeezing the tea bag before discarding it but retain the milk.

Heat the oven to 160°C. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, not letting the bowl touch the water. Allow the chocolate to melt and then stir until smooth. Remove from heat and cool.

Gently whisk eggs and sugar in a separate bowl to just combine (don't allow the eggs to froth). Heat the cream and the infused milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until just below boiling point and then pour over the eggs, stirring. Return the egg mixture to the pan and stir for about 5 minutes over a low heat until thickened. Pour the mixture through a sieve over the bowl of chocolate, stirring gently until smooth.

Coarsely chop the mints and scatter 1 - 2 mints over the base of one of the cooled tart shells. Gently pour the chocolate mixture over the mints until the shell is almost full and level the surface, then bake the tarts in the pre-heated oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until just set. Leave the tarts in the switched-off oven for 30 minutes with the door closed. Remove and cool completely.

If desired, dust the tarts with cocoa powder and decorate with some mint flavoured chocolate cut outs and whipped cream before serving.

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I had a busy weekend. Apart from baking, I collected the new side table you can see in the photos and did some more furniture shopping, this time looking for a lamp. I went out for dinner at the new bill's at Bondi. It was a gorgeous day on Sunday and the first weekend of Sculpture by the Sea so Bondi was buzzing.

I hope you all had lovely weekends. 

See you all again next week,

Jillian


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