Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chocolate-pumpkin tartlets

Okay, I think I've recovered. I ate leftover Thai food for lunch today, always a sign that my appetite is fully operational. So, on to my last catering recipe: pumpkin-chocolate tartlets.

These were almost my downfall. I started off following this recipe from Delicious Dishings, but something went horribly wrong with my chocolate sablé crust, possibly because I made it in the food processor instead of a stand mixer as recommended. (This is what happens when you don't own a stand mixer. Chocolate sablé crust isn't happening with a hand mixer.) Whatever the reason, I could not roll the crust out; first, it was too crumbly, and then it kind of melted under pressure. I scraped it onto a parchment-lined baking tray, figuring I could bake it in a sheet and then cut out the bases that way, but this too was a non-starter: after only a brief bake in the oven, the dough went right back to being crumbly, and nearly every disk I managed to cut out promptly fell apart.

At 1:00 am on Sunday, I gave up in despair and went to bed, grateful that at least I could swap some other dessert in if necessary and no one (except SP) would ever know. But when I awoke six hours later, my subconscious had provided a solution to my dilemma: make the chocolate base out of brownies instead.

So I did. I made up a basic brownie batter, plopped it into a piping bag, and piped it into mini muffin cups. I underbaked them slightly, and as they came out of the oven I pressed down the center of each one to make a well for the pumpkin pastry cream filling. I finished assembling them at SP's house, using the same piping-bag trick to make the pastry cream look pretty, and topped them with a garnish of grated dark chocolate, as the original recipe intended.

I'd never eaten pumpkin and chocolate together before, but learned from these that it's a pretty great combination. I think the guests agreed; SP told me that she was upstairs with a group of guests when another guest came charging upstairs holding one. He burst into the room and exclaimed to one of her group, "Have you tried these? You have to try these!"

That's my kind of customer appreciation.

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