Mini Chocolate Almond Meringue Tarts

Mini Chocolate Almond Meringue Tarts

Mini Chocolate Meringue TartsI know this may seem like an odd selection for a recipe post just a few days before Christmas. It’s not holiday specific and it doesn’t contain peppermint, molasses or ginger, or any other Christmasy baking ingredient that is usually expected this time of year. What you have here is a tasty little party dessert that covers all your festive baking bases. Almond paste is the dominant flavor in the crust, which then accents the rich chocolate ganache filling. But lets not forget the meringue. These lovely white peaks are the finishing touch that brings all of the components together into one delicious mini dessert.

I developed this recipe solely based on inspiration. It is not a Paula Peck recipe nor one from her colleagues. I happen to try a version of these little delights at an Italian Bakery in New Jersey that I often frequent. A chocolate tart with an almond flavored crust seemed brilliant to me and I’m always a sucker for meringue. I had seen the recipe for Almond Short Pastry in my grandmother’s book , “The Art of Fine Baking,” and the use of both ground almonds and almond paste convinced me it would make the perfect tart dough. The richness of the hard cooked egg yolks (one of her best tart-making techniques) combined with the nutty almond pairs beautifully with the chocolate filling. The meringue may be over kill but it definitely gives these tartlets the snowy-peak feel appropriate for holiday entertaining. Besides, who can resist the pillowy white marshmallow texture on top of almond chocolaty morsels of magic?


Almond Short Pastry
1/2 cup almond paste
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup unbalanced almonds
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup butter
pinch cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 hard boiled egg yolks, pushed through a sieve

Chocolate Ganache
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1-12 ounce bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lightly grease a muffin pan.

Cream almond paste with raw egg yolks until soft. Place almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.

Mix flour and ground almonds together and place in a bowl, making a well in the center. In the well, place sugar, salt, lemon zest, softened butter, spices, hard boiled egg yolk, and almond-paste mixture.

With finger tips, combine the center ingredients, gradually incorporating flour and nuts to make a smooth, firm ball of dough. Chill until firm enough to roll between sheets of wax paper (about 1 hour).

Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Using a 3 inch round cookie cutter or top of a glass, cut out rounds of dough and gently place them in muffin tin, lightly pressing down to line each cup. Chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until just barely beginning to lightly brown. Half way through baking, prick centers of cups so they do not continue to puff up. Allow to fully cool.

While tarts cool, make the ganache filling:

Heat the heavy cream and milk in a pot over medium-low until it simmering slightly. Remove from the heat; add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until well incorporated. Beat the eggs and add them to the chocolate mixture, stir until completely combined. Pour the filling into the cooled tartlets and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes until the filling is set and the surface is glossy. Cool completely.

While tartlets cool, make the meringue topping:

Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch.
Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined.

Pipe mixture onto tartlets. Raise oven heat to 350 and place tartlets in oven, until meringue is golden (about 5-10 minutes). Cool.

Yield about 12 mini tarts.

Mini Chocolate Ganache Meringue Tarts



Blueberry Tart

Blueberry Tart | imPECKable Eats

Blueberry Tart

Fruit tarts are abundant in “The Art of Fine Baking.” They are some of the most seasonal recipes throughout the book and as the high season for blueberries approaches (though a bit late this year), it seemed like an obvious choice for this classy summer dessert. It’s also the only time of year that blueberries are affordable enough to make a whole tart full of them. Frozen just will not do and for those of us berry addicts, this tart is a delicious delivery method for these healthy bursts of juice.

We made a fair number of fresh fruit tarts with blueberries in culinary school, but none quite like this. In addition to my grandmother’s exceptional rich tart pastry dough (lemon zest and hard boiled egg yolks are key), a quick pseudo jam is made with half of the fresh blueberries and then combined with the remainder. This not only adds an additional layer of texture and flavor, but also a sweetness that can help balance out any berries that maybe slightly under ripe. With all this decadence, a layer of pastry cream maybe overkill. But I can’t seem to resist the urge to add the sweet cream with a touch of almond paste, even if only so that I can eat the leftovers with just a spoon. The star of the show though, remains the blueberry tart – with each ingredient perfectly distinguished in every bite.


1 recipe rich tart pastry dough
4 cups blueberries
3/8 cup sugar
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 recipe pastry cream (optional)

Grease a 9-inch tart ring and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll pastry dough an 1/8 inch thick and line tart ring. Chill.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chilled pastry in oven, taking it directly from freezer or refrigerator so it is as cold as possible. Prick bottom all over with a fork. Prick 3-4 times during first 10 minutes of baking to prevent bottom of pastry from puffing up. If sides of pastry should sink down during first 10 minutes of baking, simply press them back with a fork. Bake for a total of 25 minutes, or until shell is golden brown.

In a heavy saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and cinnamon. Cook over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Raise heat and boil rapidly about 8 minutes or until blueberries thicken and acquire the consistency of jam. Cool.

Combine raw blueberries with cooked jam, mixing gently. Spread a thin layer of pastry cream (if using) on the bottom of the baked tart shell. Combine raw blueberries with cooled jam, mixing gently. Spoon into tart shell.

Adapted from “The Art of Fine Baking,” by Paula Peck


Sour Cream Custard Cherry Tart

Sour Cream Cherry Tart

Sour Cream Cherry Tart

Like the many cake recipes in “The Art of Fine Baking,” I’ve barely scratched the surface of the tart recipes. Now that summer berries are on the horizon, you will see more tarts from me soon. So simple in flavor, tarts are a lovely (and classy!) way to emphasize fresh seasonal fruit. When I started seeing cherries at the fruit stands on the streets here in NYC a few weeks ago, I was inspired to make this easy Sour Cream Custard Cherry Tart. The only time consuming part of this recipe is pitting the cherries. Sometimes I still think my fingers may be a little too pink.

I prefer to make the tart shell from scratch. My grandmother’s rich tart pastry recipe is exceptional (especially the lemon zest) but to further simplify this recipe, a store bought shell can be used. The star of this tart is really the cherries (not the custard), so make sure to use fresh sweet ones. Frozen or canned will ruin both the texture and taste of the tart. Cherry fans are sure to appreciate this elegant end to that first summery meal.


1 recipe rich tart pastry
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pitted sweet cherries

Line a 9-inch tart ring with rich tart pastry. Chill, preferably in the freezer, for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs with sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Arrange pitted cherries in unbaked tart shell. Pour egg mixture over them. Bake about 45 minutes on the lowest rack of the oven, or until the custard is firm and the tart is brown. Serve chilled.

Adapted from “The Art of Fine Baking,” by Paula Peck.

Sour Cream Cherry Tart Slice