Lemon Raspberry Chocolate Tarts – BFI #2

final_tartIn the past I’ve felt a bit shy about posting failed recipes. For instance, do you remember the rhubarb pie ice cream recipe I posted? Of course you don’t, I never posted it because it came out very lackluster. Why would I post that? This is a foodie blog, right? Everything we make is perfect! We poop diamonds! We’re the professionals!

I spoke with Dan about this, and he very wisely told me that Cookrookery was, in his mind, about the narrative. I reflected on this, and feel he was completely right.

So, one activity I like most about cooking is noodling around with silly ideas, often mash-ups of other cooking gems. Here is one of them. The result was…. pleasing, yummy without being greatly memorable. I do not feel it was good enough to inspire me to repeat the recipe, but it was close enough that I may consider making a greatly modified version sometime in the future.

My idea was this: chocolate and lemon sound yummy together! I don’t know why, as I can recall few lemon chocolate combinations. Lemon filled bon-bons? That lemon chocolate ice cream Matt made a couple years ago? But I ran with it. I decided that I should make little pies! (Later I thought “is a tart a little pie? I know I like tarts, but what precisely is a tart?” So I looked it up: “a small pie filled with cooked fruit or other sweetened preparation, usually having no top crust.” Indeed. I was going to make tarts.) And so I set out to make little lemon custard tarts with a layer of chocolate pudding and maybe some raspberries thrown in!

crusts

The crust recipe I used was my standard one, except that I used coconut oil rather than butter (my girlfriend is vegan, and so I’ve been trying to learn to cook more with non-dairy). Unfortunately my measurements made too little dough (so if you follow this recipe, increase amounts!), and it ended up with a too much coconut-oil-to-flour ratio, which made the crust too soft (so, increase the amount AND modify them, heh).

I used a muffin tin to hold it all in like a pie, but if I made it again I might simply make it on a cookie sheet — the lemon custard and chocolate pudding were pretty darn thick when I plopped them in, and I think they would stay in place.

The lemon custard was almost straight from a lemon meringue pie recipe, only shrunk down in amounts. I did learn a lesson: zest the lemons BEFORE cutting and squeezing them (although I did manage to do it anyway). Also, I almost wasn’t paying enough attention when it thickened, and I had to do some quick moves to get it into the little crusts before it was too thick — be warned!

just_rasp

Once I removed the lemon tarts from the oven I decided that they were so small that using entire raspberries might be ungainly, so I diced them. I found that two raspberries per pie was perfect. I added them right after pulling the baked lemon pies out of the oven so that they could sink SLIGHTLY into the lemon custard before it hardened.

double_boiler

The chocolate was a cornstarch based chocolate pudding, both shrunk down and modified to taste preference. After prepping the crust and lemon custard, I realized my chocolate pudding would make far too large a batch, and I also realized that I had no baking chocolate (only semi-sweet morsels) and so I adapted it more (the recipe posted below is the one I eventually used). If you don’t have a double boiler, just use two pots (as shown above) with water in the bottom one, and a spoon or something in the water so that the top pot’s not in direct contact with the bottom’s bottom. (A quick note on this chocolate pudding, after about a day and a half it will begin to separate, so don’t make these too far ahead.)

flipped

As the chocolate pudding cooked, I thought long about my situation. The crust was SO floppy and soft that I realized I would never get them out in one piece. Also, I had planned on putting the chocolate pudding into the crusts while they were STILL IN the muffin tin, which I decided would be a truly unsalvageable disaster upon pie removal.

So I decided to remove the crusts first. I tried prying one out, but quickly decided they would not hold together. I considered freezing them, removing them once they were solid, and then letting them thaw, but I decided there was too much chance of it affecting the taste negatively. So I put a plate upside down over the pan, flipped them onto it. I then put a plate over THAT plate and flipped it again. And although the crusts were all crumbled, I was not surprised by it, and suspect that I’d made the best of the situation.

blowing

I wasn’t sure how thick the pudding would come out (and also was not planning for it not to have a crust to set in). But in the pan it began to look thicker, and after removing it from the heat and stirring for a couple minutes (and blowing slightly on it, because I’m too much of a kid inside not to do this) I thought it was thick enough to try. I poured a little bit onto a flat surface, and the surface tension held it together pretty well, so I poured it on one of the tarts. I decided that the brown goo looked too much like poop, so I cut up two MORE raspberries per tart and topped it with those, with a much more pleasing result.

just_choc

To explore what worked and didn’t work, I made a few variations. One was ONLY lemon custard, one was lemon custard with raspberries, one was lemon custard with chocolate pudding (no raspberries), and the other three were the finished attempt: lemon, chocolate AND raspberry.

Results: Lemon custard was fine, exactly what you’d expect (as you ate it craving some meringue). The lemon with raspberries were my favorite AFTER they had chilled. I thought the lemon and chocolate alone competed too much with each other, but was still quite edible. The lemon, chocolate raspberry was truly okay, but no fireworks.

The crust was a little too mushy, not quite enough crumble, but I also wouldn’t describe the softness as unpleasant. I chilled a few to see if serving them chilled improved or changed anything, and I found the chilled crust to be more satisfying, almost more like a unsweetened shortbread cookie — but perhaps still not ideal.

The recipe I’m posting is the final one I used. If I make this again, I will surely modify it more. Possibly orange instead of lemon and no raspberries? Well, We’ll see if I’m inspired to do so.

Lemon Raspberry Chocolate Tart Recipe

Use large muffin tins, Makes 6 tarts.

CRUST

  • 3tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • under a tablespoon of cold water

Mix the coconut oil and flour and begin adding water in very small mounts until the dough holds together. The crust has too much coconut oil in it, sigh, so don’t bother trying to roll it, just separate into six equal balls and mold them into the muffin tin.

LEMON CUSTARD
mix in a saucepan (not heated yet)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 pinch of salt

Set burner to medium and whisk in (stirring well)

  • 1/2 cup water
  • lemon juice (including pulp which comes out) and zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil

bring to a simmer and boil for one minute (will begin to thicken). Pour the custard into tart crusts and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Give the tarts a few minutes to cool, then remove from the pan (if too soft, place a plate or cookie sheet on top of the muffin tin and flip it, repeat with another cookie sheet or plate). Dice and top the tarts with two raspberries apiece:

  • 12 raspberries

CHOCOLATE PUDDING
melt in a double boiler (water boiling)

  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pinch of salt

Heat and stir until is melted together and appears smooth. Mix separately:

  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Add this mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Pour the chocolate pudding over each tart. Dice and top with more raspberries, 2 per:

  • 12 raspberries

17 comments to Lemon Raspberry Chocolate Tarts – BFI #2

  • War Pig

    I agree, it IS the narrative (and the great photos).

    Even mistakes are welcome as lord knows I make enough of them myself.

    Hmm. Lemon and chocolate? Dunno. Of course chocolate and raspberry or orange are classic favorites.

    Maybe a lemon curd would have been better?

    I would use a standard pie crust, made with butter-flavored Crisco stick shortening to satisfy the vegan person. It will hold up better than the oil which is extremely short, and does make for a more cookie consistency than a crust. If you like, add a little sugar to the pie dough to make up for the loss of coconut flavor from the oil.

    But the whole process is well-founded. Experimentation in food prep is what separates us from the animals, after all. Even less-that-total-success can taste pretty good. I once made peanut butter cookies that failed to set even after baked almost to flames, but they tasted great when cooled and eaten by spreading them on a soda cracker with a tall glass of milk on the side.

    The pictures make my mouth water for chocolate/raspberry or lemon curd tarts.

  • Hi, @War_pig! Lemon curd… (gears turning) Mmmm…. :)

    Good idea with the crust, but I generally try to avoid hydrogenated oils. I have made a pie crust with coconut oil/flour/water and it came out fine, just need the proportions right.

  • [...] I posted a recipe blog about making Lemon Raspberry Chocolate Tarts over at Cookrookery. Check it [...]

  • nagopaleen

    wait… it was surprising enough when I found out that Mr. Spacetrawler and Mr. Little Dee were the same person. Now that I’ve discovered you also have this blog, I may have to start testing whether you can break the Three Laws of Robotics. Even your failed tarts look delicious, you overtalented thing-doer!

  • War Pig

    Oh, okay. Didn’t know it was about stiff fats, thought it was only about meat-connected things.

    So, how do you overcome the coconut oil being so very short when making a pie crust? Arrowroot? Sounds interesting. I wonder if peanut oil would work, too?

    Personally, I’m a lard man when making crusts. As Emeril says, “Pork Fat Rules”. The best, flakiest crusts are made with the rendered fat of the pig. Just had an echocardiogram and my arteries are clear.

  • Oh, totally different issue. The vegan thing is a moral/ethical choice on Beth’s part, and the hydrogenated is a health decision (well, and a taste decision somewhat).

    How to make the coconut oil work? I don’t know. I think mostly you have to just add the right amount. Too much and it gets mooshy like with this recipe. Too little and it’ll be mostly the water which moistens it which will create a not-good hard crust. When I made it before (with success) I used approximately 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1 2/3 cups white whole wheat flour (plus water).

    I usually use butter, and have that down to an art. I’m a life-long vegetarian, so I for-better-or-worse don’t have the pork option.

    Glad to hear you are healthy! :)

  • War Pig

    Cool, I’ll give it a try. I was raised a farm boy except for the time our family lived in LA when dad got transferred out there, during the moon-shot space program. Of course, mom, being a Cordon Bleu grad, used butter, pork fat and everything else that is supposed to be so bad but tastes soooo good. We never ate “tube” biscuits. We ate biscuits made of flour, buttermilk and lard or butter with a little baking soda. She used buckwheat when we could get it. Buckwheat biscuits are as good as buckwheat pancakes.

    Maybe buckwheat may be a little more amenable to using coconut oil to make pastry? Worth trying.

    My arteries are in good shape because I exercise. I believe it keeps things moving well and prevents your arteries and other systems being gummed up. Almost 30 years in the Marines and then the Army Rangers and now a farmer and enthusiastic user of the local YMCA. So I get lots of exercise. Do I love exercise? Not particularly (except the sauna). But exercise allows me to live longer and to eat more and better food. I love food, I love living. So I exercise. Otherwise I’d be on salads or weigh 400 pound, and dateless. ;-)

  • I agree the photos are great. You should have just lied and said they were delicious.

  • @warpig: what do you farm?

  • I totally agree that the narrative is the key. I’m just as happy to hear about experiments that still need work as I am to assume that everything comes out peferfect first try (yeah right!) : )

    When I think of lemon + chocolate, I think dark chocolate. Something about it seems to work better with the tartness of citrus.

    I wonder if this recipe would work reversed? Making chocolate tarts with a lemony/zest topping (I was thinking lemon cream but it would have to be a vegan version of that)? Or, alternately, sticking with the lemon custard but then making a chocolate pie crust instead of using chocolate pudding? I think either of those would be good with a few raspberries for garnish!

  • Prairie

    Perhaps the pudding should go on the crust and the lemon on top of that? That would avoid the “piles of poo” effect. Or, make the crusts chocolate? And whole raspberries would be better, IMO, otherwise they ‘leak,’make things pink,and lose their juiciness.

    I think it’s great that you posted a work in progress cooking experience. If we aren’t willing to risk failure, we don’t take risks. And if we don’t take risks, we never learn, never change, never eat anything but PB&J (which is darn good, btw, but not sufficient for daily use).

    Fear of failure inhibits creativity and perpetuates conformity.
    (hey, that would be a good t-shirt)

    And your tarts weren’t even a failure! Just good. “Good” is good too!

  • War Pig

    Mostly truck, heirloom varieties which sell well. Some people call it a market farm. I call it a truck farm. I also grow maize or “Indian corn” as decorations. I grow popcorn some years, but not this one as with the rain everything was late.

    I also board riding mules for two families and I have some heirloom, free-range hogs that I use to keep woods and such clear, and for eating. I have to be careful where I let the hogs forage in mushroom season, though, or I don’t get any mushrooms and I love morels. I’m a small operation. I sell all my truck products to local markets and restaurants. Cabbages, celery, lettuce, carrots, sweet corn, cucumbers, herbs, zucchini, sorghum, onions, scallions, parsnips, peppers (banana, bell and hot), watermelon and the rest. The truck part of the farm is not huge. I make about $45k/year off it. I let the hogs go in after the harvest is through and clean up the leftovers, turning trash into meat. I also slop the hogs with whatever I can pick up for free in town from restaurants and markets. Old potatoes, soft fruit, old bread, day-old cooked hotdogs, expired milk. Anything expired for human consumption they’ll give away I can take and give to the hogs to supplement their forage.

    I also have a decent garden for my family and myself. I grow cabbage, carrots, onions (several kinds), scallions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, a little rhubarb, stone mountain watermelons, peppers (banana, bell and various hot peppers from jalapenos to habaneros). My brother has chickens, turkeys and geese (all free range foragers as well as fed) and keeps three or four cattle, a few forage goats for weed control, grows the family sweet corn, cantaloupes, pumpkins, peppers (we have a contest each year to see whose are hotter)and other veggies. He also has a lot of wild, blackberry vines on his place. I have two mulberry trees. He has three apple trees (two golden and one Macintosh) and two pear trees.

    So between us we grow and can enough produce & fruit to keep us all year and give away to the family as presents. My neighbors, who I remove their snow as they’re older, have some concord grape vines and they give me some to make jelly each year.

    I sell all my truck produce as I said to local concerns. They cannot legally buy my hogs as they are forage and slop fed. That’s okay, the hogs keep the woods from being overgrown and clean up pastures behind the mules, and my family and I have no problem at all eating our slop-and-forage hogs.

    I gets eggs, chicken and the odd turkey from my brother. He gets pork and watermelon and things from me. His wife can can anything, she was raised a farm girl and was one of 11 kids. I’m pretty fair at canning myself and my cousin and her brood come over and help me can when the harvest is full on and they take some home as payment. So do my daughters.

    I was thinking of keeping bees, but decided not to bite off to much. I have wild honeybees and bumblebees here and they do a good job. In my woods I have sassafras and sometimes collect the bark for tea, but not enough to sell or anything. I get plenty of morels most years but usually eat them myself or give some to my brother as I’m greedy where they’re concerned.

    Truck farming doesn’t take a lot of work except at harvest and planting. I can do it all myself, more or less. Sometimes I hire in a little help. The mules graze and forage all day and are fed hay with some ADM feed in the evening in the barn. They’re no trouble at all. All I have to do with the hogs is change their forage areas and give them any leftovers I pick up for free in town or canning scraps. I use the hog and mule manure as fertilizer. I have one small-to-medium tractor with attachments and a Gator UTV as well as a pickup truck, of course.

  • @War_Pig, sounds like an amazingly good life. :)

  • War Pig

    Yeah, it is. It’s a lot simpler and far less “exciting” than my military career. Instead of mayhem and destruction, I’m now retired and into truck farming and mule babysitting. It really helps, you know. I was raised half on a farm. We did split our own wood back then and all. Going back to the land has helped me, a lot. I bought the place after I retired and after my wife passed on. The work keeps me busy so I don’t sit around and think too much. I take out dead and damaged trees and cut and split them for firewood and dry some of them for making bowls and things on the lathe. Wood turning is very relaxing.

    No more drinking cobra venom, no more knife & gun & garrotte work unless I’m attacked by criminals. I work the land, I harvest and can and preserve in all sorts of ways from smoking to canning to freezing to drying. With a lot of help in the preserving department.

    Know anyone who can use several tons of zucchini? ;-)

  • Raain

    I like the idea about using a muffin tin to make tarts or mini-pies! Thanks for sharing the recipe and ideas.

    Also, regarding zucchini, it seems like there’s always so much of it! I haven’t tried my hand at it yet, but when I do I will try to have a lot of recipes and canning supplies ready. Fried zucchini flowers sound good, and I made some stuffed zucchini once which was pretty good.

    The truck farm sounds excellent. Very inspiring!

  • War Pig

    If you’re not vegan/vegetarian, try stuffing the zucchini with a sausage & ground beef based stuffing. Zucchini can also be crinkle-cut, battered and deep fried as well as made into all sorts of pickles. I add jalapenos to the mix for zesty, bead & butter, pickled zucchini.

    Here’s a great recipe for stuffed zucchini I got from AllRecipes.com I like it a lot and so does my grandson.

    Ingredients

    4 medium zucchini
    1 pound ground beef
    1 pound Italian sausage
    1 small onion, chopped
    1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
    1 egg, beaten
    1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
    1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
    1 cup water

    Directions

    1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Grease or spray a 13×9 inch baking dish.
    2.Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Chop and reserve about 3/4 of the seeds for the stuffing. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, sausage, chopped onion, bread crumbs, egg and the reserved zucchini seeds. Place the meat mixture equally into all of the zucchini halves; mixture should be piled up over the top. Place the filled zucchini halves into the prepared baking dish.
    3.In a bowl, stir together the crushed tomatoes, tomato soup, and water. Spoon the tomato mixture over the filled zucchini, liberally. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes. You may want to place foil or a cookie sheet underneath the baking dish because it tends to bubble over and splash.

    NOTE: For the Italian Sausage, just buy Italian sausage links and remove the casings and crumble it up like loose sausage. While you can use regular sausage I advise at least trying the Italian once. The flavor is MUCH better. You can even sprinkle on some oregano before serving these as an added touch. Play around with it and customize it with spices and things. I always put banana pepper rings over it before baking as I love their flavor.

    My grandson and his football team buddies can eat these BY THE DOZEN. I had a manager of Donatos pizza ask me for the recipe after he tried them at a dinner party of mine once. People ask me to bring these for potluck dinners as well.