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Thursday 7 May 2015

Double Chocolate Tartlets - Teatime in Paris

It's nice to be able to impress your friends and family with a dessert that looks like it was made by a pastry chef, but  I often feel those fancy French pastries are beyond my ability or available time.  I had heard that chocolate pastry was really difficult to work with and ganache seems like a tricky thing to make,  however nothing could be further from the truth as you can see from these Double Chocolate Tartlets.

It's all thanks to Jill Colonna, author of Mad about Macarons,  the book where she debunked the myth that macarons are difficult to make, (see The Great Macaron Challenge) this time she has taken on the challenge of making French Patisserie recipes accessible to all in her new book Teatime in Paris.

The book begins with some introductory chapters demystifying Parisian pastry, "How the French eat pastry and yet can stay slim" and a very useful chapter entitled "French Pastry a step at a time".  Jill then goes on to provide some notes on ingredients to help you make a success of your bakes. Then we get into the recipe chapters, each has a story sometimes a little history all of which makes this an entertaining read as well as a practical cook book.

Here are a few of the recipes that stood out for me by chapter:
Something for Teatime:  Honey, Rose and Green Tea Madeleines; Almond Tuiles and Speculoos Ice Cream.
Choux Time: A step by step guide to making choux pastry; Cream Puffs; Lemon and Verbena mini-Eclairs and Coffee Eclairs (omg)
French Tartlets: Caramel, Walnut and Maple Tartlets, Double Chocolate Tartlets (see below) and Fast Fig, Almond and Lavender Tart.
Millefeuilles; Mint and Strawberry Millefeuille and Wild Blackberry Millefeuille.
Parisian Macarons: Step by Step guide to making macarons; Salted Caramel Macarons; Raspberry, Lime and Tarragon "Maclairs" and Rhubarb and Poppy Macarons.
A French Tea Party:  Paris-Brest-Edinburgh Choux-Nut, Lime and Bitter Chocolate 'Maclair' Tartlets and St Honore with Violet.

Towards the end of the book a chapter called Favourite Sweet Walks in Paris  takes you on a guided walk around the "City of Light" pointing out some of the famous and best patisseries in Paris.

Finally there are a few suggestions for essential and luxury baking equipment.

Who is it for? Anyone who likes to bake and is looking for a little bit of a challenge, but likes the idea of a helping hand and simple instructions written not by a pastry chef but by a home baker like themselves.

Pros: A wide range of fancy pattiserie, cakes and dessert recipes are provided.  The step by step instructions with pictures are really clear and there are lots of extra tips from Jill.  I also like that you have the basis for creating your own variations on the recipe.

Cons: If you already have Mad about Macarons, then you already have the instructions on macaron making, although there are some new flavours to entice your palate.

The Verdict: Programmes like the Great British Bake off have brought pastries like Paris Brest, macarons and all manner of fancy tartlets into the British consciousness as something that can be made at home.  This book gives you the tools to create these yourself and, if my experience is anything to go by, Jill's recipes make them much easier than you would think.

Here is Jill's recipe for Tartelettes au Chocolat, and the story that goes with it:

Having visited Sacré-Coeur and dodged past the giant rolls of colourful fabrics at the bottom of Montmartre’s bustling hill, head to Rue des Martyrs to escape the summer crowds. The further south of Pigalle (SoPi) you walk towards the 9th district, the more tempting pastry and chocolate boutiques appear. One of my favourites is Sébastian Gaudard and just across the road is a little chocolate shop and yet more pastries at Arnaud Delmontel. The beauty of these chocolate tartlets is that the variations are endless. Serve them plain with a simple dusting of unsweetened Belgian cocoa powder, or spoon a tablespoon of jam on the bases before pouring on the ganache and topping with fruits.

Tartlettes au Chocolat/Double Chocolate Tartlets
Makes 8 tartlets
Preparation time: 25 minutes, Cooking time: 30 minutes, Chilling time: 1 hour 30 minutes, Temperature: 160°C/320°F fan (Gas 4)

Chocolate pastry cases:
125g butter, at room temperature
75g icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
½ tsp salt
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
240g plain flour all-purpose), sifted
20g unsweetened cocoa powder

Ganache filling: 
160g dark chocolate (at least 60% solids)
80g milk chocolate
230g single cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Using a stand mixer with a paddle beater, slowly mix the butter, sugar and salt until pale and creamy. Just for a few seconds, gradually add the other ingredients until the dough is well mixed, then stop. Form a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Cut out eight tartlets. 
  2. Bake the tartlets for 10–15 minutes at 160°C/320°F fan (Gas 4). Allow to cool, and remove from their moulds.
  3. To make the ganache filling, break the chocolate into chunks in a bowl. Heat the cream with the vanilla extract in a saucepan until nearly boiling. Pour over half of the hot cream directly into the bowl of chocolate.
  4. Stir using a wooden spoon and combine until the ganache is smooth. Top with the rest of the hot cream and stir until completely melted and silky.
  5. Pour the hot ganache into each tartlet and top with a cherry, berries or keep plain. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least an hour to set. Take the tartlets out of the fridge 30 minutes before eating.
  • Infuse the seeds of 12 cardamom pods and a teaspoon of grated ginger in the cream while making the ganache and serve with a mango and passion fruit salad. 
  • Why not spread the bases with thick cut marmalade and top with Cape gooseberries?

Teatime in Paris! A Walk Through Easy French Patisserie Recipes
Author: Jill Colonna
Published by Waverley Books, 7th May 2015
RRP £14.99

For recipes and more information about Jill Colonna's books visit the Mad about Macarons website

I have one copy of Teatime in Paris to give away. 
Simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below.  UK entries only please. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm entering the Double Chocolate Tartlets for three different challenges.

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At 7 May 2015 at 09:27 , Blogger Unknown said...

Oooooooh that chocolate tart. I might ask my OH for this cookbook just for that chocolate tart.

At 7 May 2015 at 10:39 , Anonymous Jill @Mad About Macarons said...

Janice, your photos of these chocolate tartlets are divine! Thank you so much for your kind words - I am thrilled you liked the book.

At 7 May 2015 at 18:18 , Blogger Christina | Christina's Cucina said...

I have yet to dive into Jill's latest book, but these Chocolate Tartlets are fabulous!! A great way to get started into French pastry baking, and to encourage more of it, I'm sure! Just lovely, Janice!

At 7 May 2015 at 20:32 , Blogger Lucy Bakingqueen74 said...

The book sounds just up my street, I will definitely be putting it on my wish list! Thanks for entering your double chocolate tartlets into #PerfectingPatisserie, they look so good with that thick chocolate ganache.

At 7 May 2015 at 21:23 , Blogger Janice said...

It's full of lovely recipes Bintu, I'm sure you would enjoy making them and your family would enjoy eating them!

At 7 May 2015 at 21:24 , Blogger Janice said...

Thank you, Jill. The tartlets were delicious, thank you for the opportunity to review.

At 7 May 2015 at 21:24 , Blogger Janice said...

I'm sure you will make something fabulous when you decide what to make, there are so many beautiful pastries.

At 7 May 2015 at 21:25 , Blogger Janice said...

You are welcome Lucy, your challenge could have been made for this book!

At 7 May 2015 at 22:00 , Blogger Unknown said...

This looks like a great little cookbook, and that tartlet looks delicious! I love your variation suggestion of adding cardamom and ginger to it!

At 7 May 2015 at 22:16 , Blogger The Baking Explorer said...

Wow they look so delicious! Thanks for entering into Treat Petite.

At 7 May 2015 at 23:16 , Blogger Foodie Quine said...

I'm rather scared of pattiserie! My baking is definitely more rustic than pretty and precise. I do fancy giving chocolate pastry a go.

At 8 May 2015 at 13:34 , Blogger Anita-Clare Field said...

Wow, utterly gorgeous, I am very petrified of baking so I think I will leave these to the experts !

At 8 May 2015 at 15:30 , Blogger Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Oh that looks good Janice and you could change up the fillings too with a nice pastry case like that.

At 8 May 2015 at 21:20 , Blogger Hello said...

Looks delish :-) x

At 9 May 2015 at 08:41 , Anonymous Made With Pink said...

Wow! These look so good! Definitely my kind of dessert. Not to sure I'd like cardamom infused ones though, but these are my ideal dessert just as they are.

At 9 May 2015 at 15:58 , Blogger Unknown said...

well, aren't they divine little tarts... I LOVE your book reviews they are so honest and to the point. Love these chocolate tarts too. salivating!

At 9 May 2015 at 17:01 , Blogger Cakeyboi said...

How perfect is that book for my little Treat Petite Eurovision quest? These look delicious Janice, thanks for taking part.

At 10 May 2015 at 17:39 , Blogger Janice said...

Thank you, not my variation though, it's in the book. There are lots of these excellent ideas for the recipes.

At 10 May 2015 at 17:39 , Blogger Janice said...

You are welcome, and they were delicious.

At 10 May 2015 at 17:40 , Blogger Janice said...

I'm pretty rustic myself Claire, however the instructions are very clear, so I'm sure you would make some lovely bakes.

At 10 May 2015 at 17:41 , Blogger Janice said...

Gosh Anita-Clare you are so good at cooking, you can't really be scared of baking, it's not hard at all.

At 10 May 2015 at 17:42 , Blogger Janice said...

There are lots of filling ideas in the book, Passionfruit and Lemon Meringue Tartlets sound really lush.

At 10 May 2015 at 17:43 , Blogger Janice said...

Thanks Charlene.

At 10 May 2015 at 17:44 , Blogger Janice said...

Thanks. Lots of ideas for different flavours if you don't like cardamom, maybe elderflower pastry cream or rose pasty cream, both sound lovely.

At 10 May 2015 at 17:45 , Blogger Janice said...

Thank you Dom.

At 10 May 2015 at 17:45 , Blogger Janice said...

I know, that's what I thought Stuart, was clapping my hands with glee!

At 11 May 2015 at 21:11 , Blogger Choclette said...

Those tarts look superb as is the book. You're well ahead of me in writing up Janice, but I will get there.

At 11 May 2015 at 21:37 , Blogger lozzle said...

looks lovely i'm happy eating any cakes

At 11 May 2015 at 21:46 , Blogger Kim Neville said...

Look mouthwatering. Would love to try out :-)

At 12 May 2015 at 14:03 , Blogger Unknown said...

These look amazing. I will have to look out for this book.

At 12 May 2015 at 22:01 , Blogger GG said...

Great sounding book, I love books that have hidden gems like the patisserie walk. What's not to love about recipes for great pastries and a guided tour. GG

At 19 May 2015 at 15:32 , Blogger Unknown said...

I've been looking for something chocolatey tarty to make for the bank holiday - these look amazing! I think it will have to be this!

At 21 May 2015 at 15:38 , Anonymous Jill @MadAboutMacarons said...

Thank you, Janice. What lovely comments here - and I think we have a few budding chocolate pastry testers to give it a go - you've certainly tempted everyone with your lovely photos! And I've finally found a way to link this up on my homepage - including the giveaway! Thanks so much again for such an honest and wonderful review.

At 23 May 2015 at 22:18 , Blogger Janice said...

You are welcome Jill. I genuinely enjoyed making the tartlets and I'm sure I will be returning to the book to make more pastries.

At 25 May 2015 at 20:15 , Blogger Anne said...

Book sounds amazing. We enjoyed some delicious goodies when we visited Paris. I love a good Chocolate eclair, cream scone or Macaroon.

At 25 May 2015 at 20:55 , Blogger kj19 said...

scones with cream and jam

At 25 May 2015 at 21:58 , Blogger Katherine said...

My favourite tea time treat is a healthy slice of Victoria sponge :)

At 27 May 2015 at 20:21 , Blogger Lucy Bakingqueen74 said...

My fave tea time treat is a pavlova!

At 5 June 2015 at 10:34 , Blogger Choclette said...

And thanks for linking up the tarts to #WeShouldCocoa - I really must get on with that review!


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