Pierre Herme chocolate raspberry mini tarts

Over the years, I’ve come to realise that I’ve got a slight raspberry obsession. I’m not sure what it is that makes me love it so… but truth be told, there is very little to not like about its vibrant red hue and ease of being eaten (they’re bitesize!). Or maybe it’s just because I never ate much of it growing up – my childhood was predominantly filled with more ‘tropical’ fruits like rambutans, dukungs, mangoesteens and durians (all of which I miss terribly).

At any rate, I always find it hard to resist any desserts that features raspberries. In fact, I actually add raspberries to most of the things I make, even when the recipe does not call for it. It’s all about evolution. 😉

So when I saw these chocolate raspberry tarts on Ju’s blog, I was instantly hooked. Chocolate? Tick. Raspberries? Tick. Pierre Herme? Double tick! I made these tarts almost a year ago, but I still remember what they taste like, as if I was eating it yesterday. Which doesn’t often happen, let me tell you!

The tart base was excellent, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best recipes I’ve encountered (so far) for a sweet pastry base. It was a perfect balance of crumbly and crunchy, and to be honest I think I could eat the pastry cases on its own and be one very happy person. Like Ju, I also made tartelettes (the original recipe makes for one large tart) – because in my world, mini tarts are always better. Not only do they look more dainty, but it also gives you the illusion that you are allowed to eat more of it in one sitting. Total win win situation, no?

One extra thing I did was to pour some melted chocolate on the tops of the tarts after they’d been baked. This was because I wanted the raspberries to be stuck on firmly onto each tart, as I was planning to bring some to work the next day and didn’t want rapsberries to be flying around in my container! And I’m glad I did, because the melted chocolate gave the tarts an extra texture, as well as adding a nice sheen to the top of the tarts. I’m all about shiny things, evidently.

I also made some custard tarts with the extra tart dough, but found that the tart shells browned a little too much in my attempt to get the characteristic ‘burned spots’ on the custard. Thankfully it didn’t alter the taste of the tart shells too much, but I think I might have to adjust my cooking times/oven temperature if I was to use this pastry dough for custard tarts again.

But yes – try this recipe out if you’re in the mood for some tarts. Whilst the recipe for the filling was good (but nothing outstanding), the recipe for the tart dough is fantastic, and is most definitely worth a try!

Chocolate raspberry tartelettes
From Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé, first seen on The Little Teochew

For the sweet tart dough
* Make this at least 1 day in advance because you need to chill and rest the dough for a minimum 4 hours or up to 2 days, before rolling and baking

  • 285g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 490g all-purpose flour

1. Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed setting, until it turns creamy.
2. Add the sugar, ground almonds, salt, vanilla and eggs, beating it (on low speed) until it is combined. The dough may look curdled, but it’s alright – so don’t panic!
3. Add the flour in three or four additions, and mix (still on low speed) until the mixture just comes together to form a soft, moist dough. Take care to not overmix.
4. Gather the dough into a ball, and divide it into 3 or 4 pieces: 3 pieces for 10-inch (26cm) tarts, 4 for 9-inch (24cm) tarts. Gently press each piece into a disk and wrap each disk in clingfilm. (As I was making mini tarts, I divided my dough into 6 portions. This meant that my dough would stay cold for as long as possible.)
5. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or for up to 2 days, before rolling and baking. *At this point, the dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to a month.
6. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough to a thickness of between 2-4mm, lifting the dough often and making certain that the work surface and dough are amply floured at all times. One trick I’ve picked up from all those hours watching the food channel: it’s easier (and less messy) to roll out the dough between two pieces of clingfilm. Just remember to lift up the top sheet of clingfilm from time to time, to ensure the clingfilm doesn’t crease and cause tiny crease indentations in your dough.
7.  Roll the dough up around your rolling pin and unroll it onto the tart ring. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the ring, and cut off the excess. Prick the dough all over with a fork, and chill it for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. (If you’re making mini tarts, you can easily pick up rounds of dough without needing to use a rolling pin to help you.)
8. To bake the crusts, preheat the oven to 180°C. Fit a circle of parchment or foil into the crust and fill with dried beans/rice/baking beans, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until it is very lightly coloured. Transfer the crust to a rack to cool. (I baked my mini tart shells for approximately 15 minutes. My advice is to constantly check to ensure you don’t overbake them.)

For the filling:

  • 55g (1/2 cup) raspberries
  • 145g bittersweet chocolate
  • 115g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature, stirred with a fork
  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature, stirred with a fork
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
2. Fill the tart crust with the raspberries. (I used 2 raspberries for my mini tarts, how much you put into each case depends on the size of your tins.)
3. Break the chocolate up into small pieces, and melt it over a bain marie (i..e in a bowl, over simmering water). Do the same for the butter, but in a seperate bowl. Allow both the butter and chocolate to cool until they are just warm to touch (approximately 60°C).
4. Using a small whisk or rubber spatula, stir the egg into the chocolate, stirring gently in ever-widening circles. Take care to not agitate the mixture – you don’t want to beat air into the ganache.
5. Little by little, stir in the egg yolks, then the sugar.
6. Finally, still working gently, stir in the warm melted butter.
7. Pour the ganache over the raspberries in the prebaked tart shell(s).
8. Bake the batter for 11 minutes (5-8 minutes for mini tarts), until the top of the tart turns dull, like the top of a cake. The center of the tart should be wobbly if jiggled (it will firm up, don’t worry!). Remove the tart from the oven, slide it onto a rack, and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. (If you wish, you can drizzle more melted chocolate on the tart(s), and top with even more raspberries.)

Pierre Hermé macarons

Macarons have taken the world by storm in the recent years, and I can understand why. These little babies are not only beautiful to look at, but are also a delight to eat. Biting into their crispy exterior gives way to a delicately soft and sweet shell, followed a decadently smooth ganache or buttercream. How could one resist?

Macaron shells are suppposed to be completely flat (dome like shells are frowned upon), and should have a lovely “rim” along the bottoms, or “feet” as they are more commonly called. Now, you may think these little morsels of delight are easy to make, but boy they aren’t. I personally haven’t tried making them before, but lots of bloggers out there have – and they will tell you that macarons are VERY temperamental, and one can never assume that they will turn out right. I can only assume that this is why macarons are so expensive, but when they taste as good as they do… I am willing to pay for them.

This brings me on to the macarons of Pierre Hermé. They do not come cheap, but boy they are worth it. This man is a total genius when it comes to macarons, and I truly believe he makes some of the best macarons available today. I’ve tried macarons from Ladureé as well, but I prefer Pierre Hermé. So imagine my pure delight when I found out (through the twitter grapevine) that he was opening a store/counter in Selfridges! I made a note of the date, but didn’t actually make my way to Selfridges till last week – and was reminded of why I love Pierre Hermé so.

Now, although I have a huge backlog of posts, I decided to post this as it is Macaron Day today (20 March). What’s that you say? Well, Macaron Day (Jour du Macaron) was created by Pierre Hermé and the other members of L’association Relais Desserts (of which Pierre Hermé is joint-vice president). The purpose of Jour du Macaron is to raise awareness (and money) for charity. On this day, you can visit any of the participating pastry stores (including all the Pierre Hermé botiques) in Paris (not in London unfortunately), and get yourself some free macarons. Yup, free. Donation boxes are set up in each store for optional donations to the charity of choice for that year (I believe it is l’Alliance des Maladies Rares this year, but correct me if I’m wrong).

On the day I went to pay a visit to the Selfridges store, they had 12 different macarons on offer. Which is why I chose to get the a box of 12 macarons, as it meant I did not have to decide which flavours to get/not get. (Have I ever mentioned that I take ridiculously long to decide on such matters?) It was possible to buy them loose (it’s slightly cheaper to buy them this way at £1.70 each), but I felt that it was safer to buy them in a box. I’m not the most dainty person around, and if I had brought them back in a flimsy plastic bag, goodness knows what would have happened to them. (Oh, and I still managed to crush a few of them as evidenced by the photos even with this box.) 😛

I didn’t take any photos of the store/counter, but if you want to know what it looks like do check out this post from Pig Pig’s Corner on Pierre Hermé’s Selfridges counter.

From the top: Magnifique (strawberry & wasabi), Infiniment caramel (salted butter caramel cream), Coing rose (rose & quince). I really liked the salted butter caramel cream one, as the sweet and salty notes complemented each other perfectly. And although it seems strange to pair strawberry with wasabi, it actually worked pretty well (partly because the wasabi flavour wasn’t too strong).

From the top: Mogador (milk chocolate & passion fruit), Rose (rose & rose petal), Medelice (lemon & hazelnut praline). I’ve always liked the combination of passionfruit and passionfruit, and this macaron was no exception. Sheer brilliance.

From the top: Mosaic (pistachio, griottines & cinnamon), Citron (lemon), Chuao (Chuao dark chocolate, blackcurrant & blackcurrant berries). Whilst the Mosaic was by far the most attractive of the three, the Chuao trumped it when it came to taste. The blackcurrants went remarkably well with the chocolate, and is now one of my favourite macaron flavours (until Pierre Hermé comes up with more flavours to blow me away of course).

From the top: Pistache (pistachio), Chocolat (Venezuala Porcelana dark chocolate), Fragola (strawberry & balsamic vinegar). These were all good, but weren’t as spectacular as some of the others.

One thing to note though – after writing this post, I realised that I didn’t actually get the 12 flavours on offer that day. The displays showed the Arabesque (apricot, pistachio & pistachio praline), but I did not have this in my box. I go the the Magnifique (strawberry & wasabi) in it’s place. Now I’m not complaining because I still got my 12 macarons, but oh my it made matching the names to macarons quite confusing. I could have gone without naming them, but the OCD in me could not allow that to happen. 😀

I managed to make these macarons last 2 days (I am quite happy that I managed to refrain from scoffing them all down in one sitting), and those were very good days. I’ll be going back soon, as I’m very keen to try his olive oil & vanilla macaron – I hear it’s amazing.

p.s Pierre Hermé will be opening an actual store in Knightsbridge this year, and I for one cannot wait! 🙂

Pierre Hermé, London
Foodhall, Ground Floor, Selfridges
400 Oxford Street
London
W1A 1AB