Greetings! I hope you’ve had a wonderful week and that you’re managing to stay warm (it’s -20 F windchill as I write this!). While these late winter months really test my patience, I always look forward to the middle of February for one reason– Valentine’s Day! Have you made YOUR plans yet? Though my husband has always griped that it’s a holiday created by Hallmark, deep down I know he looks forward to it as much as I do. We have a simple tradition started years ago while we were dating. Born partly out of having been poor college kids, and partly out of not wanting to fight the restaurant crowd, we originally spent a romantic night at home, just the two of us making pasta, drinking wine, and enjoying a decadent chocolate dessert. Now we’ve continued the tradition, though we’ve added our two children. Not quite as romantic perhaps, but just as fulfilling. To be honest, I can’t imagine it any other way. Part of the fun in making it a family event is that my little four-year-old boy helped me pick out the dessert this year. What you see is the Coconut Almond Tart that he chose.
Whether you prefer to stay home for a quiet romantic (or family) evening in, or you know you’ll be craving a dreamy dessert when you get home from your night out, you’ll want to indulge in this one. Indulgence really is the best way to describe this tart. The chocolate ganache topping gives way to a thick, cream center. The texture is similar to a good, dense cheesecake, with one significant difference. Coconut. Lots of coconut! I love the textural complexity and flavor that coconut adds in this dessert. Pairing it with the chocolate ganache really sets it apart. Add a cup of French-press coffee and it sends me over the moon!
This is the perfect make-ahead-of-time dessert. While it has a few steps, it’s actually quite simple to assemble. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe. Just give yourself enough time to chill the coconut cream filling.
The Recipe: Coconut Almond Tart
For the Almond Tart Dough
1 large egg
1/4 cup whole toasted almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
For the Coconut Cream Filling
8 ounces good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon light rum
For the Chocolate Glaze and Garnish
2 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 (or more) whole toasted almonds
Make the Almond Tart Dough
In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg and set aside.
Put the almonds and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the almonds are finely ground. Add flour and salt and pulse again until just mixed. Add the butter and pulse until sandy (about 6-10 quick pulses). Pour in the egg and pulse until the dough begins to cohere into a ball. Form the dough ball into a disk, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Make the Coconut Cream Filling
Place the white chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, heat the cream just to a boil. Pour it over the white chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds. Slowly, starting in the center of the bowl, whisk the cream and white chocolate until smooth. Cover and refrigerate this ganache for 4 hours or overnight before proceeding.
Assemble the Tart
Dust a work surface with flour. Place the disk of chilled dough on the work surface and divide into 6 equal portions for 4-inch individual tarts, or leave whole for a 14-inch x 5-inch tart. (Note: the dough will be sticky. Make sure to turn it with a bench knife or offset spatula as needed and keep the working surface floured). Use a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough into a 5 1/2-inch circle just over 1/8 inch thick. Very gently press each dough round into a 4-inch tart pan with removable bottom. You may have a bit of dough leftover if using one large tart pan as opposed to the smaller 6 pans.
Place the tart pans in the freezer for 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line the tart crusts with aluminum foil, and fill each one 3/4 full with pie weights or dried beans. (I skipped adding the pie weights, as I’ve read it’s not necessary to do if you freeze the dough beforehand.) Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer tart pans to a wire rack to cool.
Make the Coconut Cream Filling
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the white chocolate ganache at medium speed until soft peaks form. Do not overwhip. Note: I felt the mixture was “heavy” and never really achieved a “whipped” look . Gently fold in the coconut and the rum. Divide the filling among the tart shells and place in the refrigerator as you make the chocolate glaze. If using one big tart pan, you may have a bit of coconut filling leftover. Make sure there is enough room for the chocolate glaze to set safely on the top without overflowing.
Make the Chocolate Glaze
Place the milk and dark chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it is just about to boil. Pour it over the chocolates and whisk to combine. Let the mixture set for about 10 minutes. Remove the tarts from the refrigerator and spoon the glaze evenly over each one. Top each tart with one almond and refrigerate again until the glaze sets up, about 10 minutes.
The tarts can be stored, tightly covered, in the refigerator for up to 2 days.
Source: Baked Explorations
Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Would love to hear what your traditions are. See you next week!