Recipes Reports Sweet

Chocolate tarts with almond cream + Claudio Corallo chocolate tasting

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Recently I participated in a chocolate tasting in Amsterdam. To celebrate the Dutch launch of the Claudio Corallo chocolate brand, the owner himself visited Amsterdam and hosted a workshop here. And to explain why his exclusive chocolate is truly special, this also involved a chocolate tasting. It was an extremely interesting afternoon that taught me everything about the production process, quality signs and of course the taste of good chocolate.

Claudio Corallo has been living in Africa for over 40 years and owned several coffee plantations there. In the early 90’s he moved to the islands Sao Tomé and Principe in West Africa, where he wanted to use his extensive coffee experience for the production of cacao. However, the bitterness of the cacao beans turned out to be a real challenge.

Although most chocolate brands just work with bitter beans and use them in a complex production process (wherein the cacao butter is separated from the bean, before getting pressed together with the addition of i.e. vanilla), Claudio wouldn’t accept that. He believes that cacao beans simply shouldn’t be bitter. He therefore opened a laboratory and experimented extensively with the production of chocolate.

The end result? Intense chocolate beans, without a hint of bitterness. The proof was delivered and tasted during this workshop. These beans are now used on the islands of Sao Tomé and Principeto to make a high quality of pure, dark chocolate. This all happens ‘bean-to-bar’: the whole production process takes place on the islands and is done by hand.

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Of course those chocolate bars had to be tasted as well. From the intense, but nowhere bitter 100% pure chocolate to the sweet and rich 73,5% chocolate. I especially loved the 80% chocolate, with crispy, crunchy sugar crystals. We also tasted some variations with additions like ginger and rose soaked raisins. The ‘laranja’ was my favorite, with a subtle orange flavor that made the dark chocolate somewhat lighter.

According to Claudio, the 75% chocolate is best for sweet recipes and that’s how I came up with the tarts below. I used my favorite Petit Gateau recipe for the crusts and filled them with half the amount of almond cream. I then made a simple ganache, which would leave the focus on the chocolate. My trick for a shiny ganache is easy: pour hot cream with some honey over finely chopped chocolate and butter. Then you just need to calmly stir in the same direction, until you’ve got a shiny smooth mixture. After half an hour in the fridge these chocolate tarts are done.

The result? Delicious little tarts with a crispy crust, soft almond cream and an intense chocolate ganache. An amazing combination!

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Serves 5

INGREDIENTS

For the crusts:
½ cup + 1/3 cup (100g) flour
1/3 cup (40g) icing sugar
2 tbsp + 1 tsp (15g) almond meal
pinch of salt
2.1 oz / 4 tbsp (60g) cold butter, in small cubes
½ egg, beaten

extra: 5 tartlet rings (3¼ inch/ 8cm)

For the almond cream:
2 small tbsp / 0.88 oz (25g) butter, room temperature
2 tbsp (25g) fine sugar
¼ cup (25g) almond meal
½ egg

For the ganache:
¼ cup (50g) cream
½ tbsp honey
2.5 oz (70g) pure chocolate of good quality, chopped
2 tsp / 0.35 oz (10g) butter
5 almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

For the crusts:
1. Sieve the flour, icing sugar, almond meal and salt into a bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub it with the flour between your fingers until the mixture resembles a crumbly dough.

2. Add a bit of the beaten egg and knead until a dough ball forms. Too sticky? Add extra flour. Too dry? Add extra egg.

3. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm.

4. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and place the tartlet rings on top. Remove the firm dough from the fridge and knead quickly.

5. Dust your working surface with flour and roll out the dough until it’s about ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thick.

6. Cut out five rounds, line the tart rings and remove excess pastry. Refrigerate until use.

For the almond cream:
7. Preheat the oven to 350F / 170C (fan oven) or 400F / 200C (conventional oven).

8. Beat the butter in a bowl until soft. Add the sugar and almond meal and mix well until combined. Add the egg and stir until you’ve got a smooth cream.

9. Scoop the cream into the prepared tart cases. Bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool and remove the rings.

For the ganache:
10. Put chocolate and butter in a bowl. Bring the cream with the honey to a boil.

11. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in the bowl, while stirring calmly.

12. Stir until you’ve got a shiny, smooth ganache. Pour this over the cooled tarts and place an almond on top.

13. Leave to firm up in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

 

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  • Jessica
    22/01/2015

    Denise, I am sure that I can use a gluten-free flour for the crust…but wanted your thoughts.

    • Denise_TLT
      22/01/2015

      Hi Jessica! Haven’t tried it myself, but I think it might work. There is already a bit of almond flour in the crust anyway. Let me know how it goes! Good luck, Denise