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Natty bakes Raspberry White Chocolate Tarts

July 20, 2010

My high school boyfriend was a traditional romantic and PROUD of it. From the age of fourteen he was writing, playing and recording songs for me on his guitar and saxophone (two songs that stick out in my mind were called “Just wanna be with you tonight” and “Paradise”– aww) and he also loved treating me. Growing up he had always worked after-school and weekend jobs and by high school he had started entrepreneurial ventures of his own. He just adored being hugely generous with me and I was pretty much spoiled rotten; most importantly with his utter devotion and adoration of yours truly, but also with a lot of the clichéd material symbols of affection like chocolates, flowers, jewellery and nice dinners.

A vivid memory of this kind of thing is the night of our one year anniversary. I guess in hindsight it sounds pretty ridiculous, but he got us a limo for the occasion and we were driven to Sotto Sotto where I was wined & dined…um, yeah just to clarify we were tenth graders! After dinner we were driven to get gelato in Little Italy and then finally we went to the beaches to walk along the boardwalk and sit on the sand. I guess you could say that I wasn’t an unlucky girl.

We didn’t fight all that much…I mean what do couples in high school really have to worry about? (PC alert!: I guess I should qualify that with North American middle class high school couples) In the same vein, who even WAS I back then? My high school diaries suggest a pretty generic teen girl, but with a slightly kooky/artsy/rebellious side, who still had a whole lot to learn about…pretty yawn I know. Anyway, a few times when we DID fight my high school bf would drive up to this chocolate place north of the city and then drop off a packet of heart-shaped white chocolates with raspberry filling at my house. They were delicious and definitely made a sweet ending to our little squabbles.

Well the other day one of my SickKids research teams had a summer party and I had a taste of this really yummy white chocolate raspberry pie. It reminded me of the heart-shaped makeup chocolates of my teen years and on my way out I quickly asked how it was made. I wasn’t directed to an exact recipe but a few low-cal/low-fat ingredients such as cream, butter and white chocolate were mentioned. After doing some googling, page-flipping, guessing and trial baking I came up with a very simple but tasty recipe. I hope to serve these tarts or something similar at my Dad’s 60th birthday.

Sure I love chocolate but I'm no Augustus Gloop

Sure I love chocolate but I’m no Augustus Gloop

Now I love chocolate just as much as the next person but I’m not one of those crazy chocoholic would-rather-eat-chocolate-than-get-down kind of girls. Even when it comes to picking desserts, unless I’m in one of those chocolate-craving moods, I will easily choose a carrot cake with a rich cream cheese frosting, a tiramisu done right or a homemade strawberry shortcake over a chocolate torte, chocolate layer cake or even a molten chocolate cake. I suppose I would make an exception for chocolate mousse (or a chocolate mousse cake) as well as certain Belgian chocolates I’ve tried which really ARE worth all the hoopla.

Some fast facts and opinions about chocolate:

  • Fact: According to my Larousse Gastronomique (best present- thanks sister!) a good chocolate “is shiny brown, breaks cleanly and is free of lumps, tiny burst bubbles and white specs. It melts on the tongue like butter, has a true flavour of chocolate rather than of cocoa and is neither greasy nor sticky”
  • Opinion: I have tried chocolate in other parts of the world and can taste a difference even in the cheapest most commercial chocolate- for e.g. I find that basic British and South African chocolate tastes creamier or milkier to me than Canadian or American chocolate bars.
  • Fact: Chocolate was first consumed in the form of a drink and this was pretty much it’s edible identity for a long long time. The first solid chocolate bars only started to appear in the early to mid 1800s.
  • Opinion: So I don’t currently live in the land of amazing chocolate. So what? We still have some good places. Juliet et Chocolat in Montreal is a fun experience. In Toronto, Chocolate Addict in Kensington is cute, MoRoCo chocolat in Yorkville looks like a chichi chocolate paradise but probably overpriced and I have heard good things about Soma in the Distillery District.
  • Fact: Eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants.
  • Opinion: Peanut butter and chocolate are a SUCH a good combination. Over the years some of my favourite corner store chocolate bars have included Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Reese’s Pieces, Wonderbar and Butterfinger.
  • Fact: My mom has a tradition of giving me kinder surprise eggs. The toy is the best part and the chocolate is just a bonus (opinion).
  • Opinion: If you can, try and support fair trade chocolate. Green & Black is a good example of an easy to find chocolate bar which claims to be using pretty much all fair trade certified cocoa beans for their products.
  • Fact: Money DID used to grow on trees. Way back in the day cocoa beans were used as a form of currency.

Another fact that lots of people know is that white chocolate isn’t technically chocolate. Although it contains cocoa butter it is lacking cocoa solids which are also required in order for a substance to be considered chocolate proper. Without the cocoa solids it is super sweet and lacks the depth/complexity of say a dark 70% chocolate. I agree with Nigella when she says that white chocolate can be a bit “sicky” and for this reason, I think it’s nice to pair it with something a bit different. For example, Nigella suggests a white chocolate passion fruit mousse and Regan Daley suggests white chocolate tropical chunk cookies (side note-In the Sweet Kitchen is an AMAZING baker’s companion- thanks again sis!)

I know raspberries are very sweet but they also have a certain tartness to them. I added some lemon to try and bring this quality out a bit, though admittedly I would still call this particular baking and eating experience a pretty sweet tooth affair. The recipe can be done as a large pie, several mini tarts or as bars.

Natty’s Raspberry White Chocolate Tarts with a Shortbread Crust

Berries from the Bloor-Borden mini farmers market which runs every Wednesday!

Berries from the Bloor-Borden mini farmers market which runs every Wednesday!

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup chilled butter, cubed
  • 1/3 rd -1/2 cup white sugar  (can use even less depending on how rich or sweet you want this dessert)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbs of ice cold water or cream
  • Squeeze of lemon

Filling

  • 225 grams of white chocolate (this is the amount I used – it is one packet of chips- but you can use more if you want the tarts to be harder and the consistency to be more like biting into chocolate…if you use the amount that I used, the end consistency is a bit softer and more pie-like)
  • 125 ml of cream (approximately, again can use more or less depending on taste)
  • Squeeze of Lemon
  • A pint of raspberries (also reserve a bunch for garnish which as you can see I did NOT do for my trial tarts)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Put all of the ingredients for the crust in a food processor and pulse until everything starts to combine together into a ball
  • Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling out
  • Prepare crust into the shape(s) you want (depending on whether you’re making bars, mini pies, one big pie)
  • Bake crust for 20-25 minutes or until it is golden. Let cool
  • Start preparing filling by melting chocolate gently in saucepan (it is easiest to use chips as they are already in small pieces and will be quicker to melt)
  • Take off heat and let cool slightly. Stir in cream.
  • Mash some of the raspberries and squeeze with lemon. It is up to you whether you want to stir them into the chocolate/cream mixture or if you would prefer to simply place them in a layer on the crust and then pour the mixture over it and then top again with the berries.
  • Cool in fridge for at least 3 hours
  • Wasn’t that simple? Enjoy!

Some trial tarts: shoddy presentation, commendable taste.

White Chocolate on FoodistaWhite Chocolate

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 31, 2010 5:15 am

    All this talk about chocolates makes me crave for one right now, but this recipe sure looks good. I’d love to give it a try sometime.If you won’t mind I’d love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it’s all set, Thanks!

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