In 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!
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!
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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
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