Chocolate Espresso Brûlée Tarts

The crackle of brûlée, the oozing of an espresso flavoured créme patissiere, a base of dark chocolate ganache & shortcrust pastry to match...these are Donna Hay's Chocolate Espresso Brûlée Tarts...otherwise known as `an excuse to use my kitchen blowtorch & get a chocolate hit at the same time.' 

You might remember I've been stalking this recipe for awhile. When I came across pre-made dark chocolate shortcrust pastry at Edward's Greengrocer & Deli my ears pricked up as here was my chance to make them without having to wrestle with my nemesis (otherwise known as pastry-from-scratch).  As it turned out, I forgot to let the store bought pastry defrost in time, and I was halfway through the recipe...so I decided to have a go at making my own anyway (hence the rustic look!) and it wasn't as scary as I last remembered. It's good to know there's a backup in case pastry-from-scratch and I disagree again in the future...or if I need to make them in a hurry!

I used the Donna Hay app on the iPad when making this recipe (from the June 2012 issue)...my first time trying out the "cook mode" where it breaks down the stages (and the ingredients involved in each stage) into simple steps with large text...makes a recipe like this much easier to follow.  But, here's the `classic' recipe view from the app...

Donna's recipe gives you options for two different sized tarts...I only had moulds for the larger version so it was quite the sugar hit for a Sunday night!  It's hard to see in my photos but the bottom ganache layer is almost as prominent as the créme patissiere so don't be shy to use plenty of both layers.  Also...a recipe with multiple steps, words with french accents, and the final stage of a blow torching might sound like a lot...I was surprised at how easy it turned out to be. You can make a lot of the components ahead of time and then assemble at the last minute. I think that the ganache and créme patissiere actually benefit from some extra time in the fridge so they're thicker when it comes to eating the dessert.  I might try the smaller versions (once I get some pastry cases!) for the next time we have people over for tea. There's nothing like a dessert that looks complicated when you bring it to the table that's secretly pretty easy in the kitchen hey!

Unfortunately the cracked look of the brûlée didn't transfer to my photos because I left them too long until I plated them up...so make sure you do the blow torch part reasonably close to serving...or maybe I didn't blow-torch mine for long enough...oh well, live and learn for next time :) 

Do you have a recipe that you use to impress your dinner guests but it's secretly super easy? Would love to hear about it via the social media links below... 

Design Resources: Paislee Press Digital Papers, Alana Pro Font