Saturday, July 4, 2015

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Tarts

Who can resist chocolate, pastry, and cream?
(And why even try?)

Raspberries and chocolate remind me of two people on a blind date--they chat a while, but something is missing. They can't quite connect. In fact, you may have the impression that chocolate just wants to use the raspberry for show, a trophy fruit to make himself look good.
It's true that raspberries are sweet, slightly tart, and giggly; but they aren't shallow in the least. They are sincere, eager to please. Their taste is so delicate--how to describe it? A hint of comforting cream. A floral bouquet. Sweet, fresh, sour. Gentle as a first kiss.
But chocolate is a skilled lover who has taken kissing to a high art. Chocolate is dark, smooth, slippery. To catch you off guard, he'll flash a shy, sheepish look. When he looks down, a lock of brown hair falls into his eyes, and you can't resist pushing it back. That's his cue. He'll move in for a Hollywood kiss, one that knocks you out of your shoes. Stars whirl across the sky. Planets collide. And the devil rides to Georgia on a fiddle. This kiss has a midnight-in-the-mountains kick. But really, it's wonderful, too. Irresistible. You imagine him offering Eve a ganache-covered apple. No wonder she was tempted.
Chocolate has a reputation for loving and leaving other foods. If you add dairy, though, chocolate and raspberries will fall madly in love. Cream is a sort of bridge that creates a happy marriage. And puff pastry gives the dessert a solid foundation (and a comforting texture).

My mother made this dessert every July 4th. Store-bought puff pastry wasn't an option, and she made it from scratch. Her hand moved lightly over the dough, as if she were playing a harpsichord. My job was to whip the cream. We did not have a mixer until the mid-1960s, and I used an old whisk. Just when I thought my arm would fall off, the cream thickened. As a reward for my diligence, I got to lick the bowl. 

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Tarts

1 package puff pastry shells (frozen)
Godiva Dark Chocolate Sea Salt  (squares--on the grocery's candy aisle)
Drizzled chocolate (Smucker's Special Recipe Dark Chocolate Sauce)
Star cookie cutter
whipped cream

Before baking puff pastry shells, press a small star cookie cutter into the top (and center) of each shell. Bake the pastry according to directions.  Remove from oven. When pastries are cool,
pop out star centers and set aside. Cut Godiva chocolate into pieces and place into shells.
Bake about 3 to 5 minutes or until chocolate has melted.
Remove from oven and cool.
Add whipped cream. Drizzle with chocolate sauce or melted chocolate. I'm fond of store-bought
chocolate sauce for a quick topping. I zapped the jar in the microwave for 20 seconds, then used a fork to add tiny squiggles over the cream and pastry.
Place "star" pastry cut-out on top of the whipped cream.
Dab a little whipped cream on the bottom of a raspberry and place on top of star.
You can add shaved chocolate, if desired, or raspberry jam.
The variations are endless, and all are easy!

Each bite is layered with the crunch of pastry and bittersweet chocolate, with a whisper of sea salt.

The fluffy, cloud-like cream rounds out the texture, adding a just-right softness.
A PRINTABLE RECIPE is available.

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  1. Yum! Those look amazing and I love it when the ingredient list is so manageable!

  2. Your mama raised herself quite a cook! And the devil rides to Georgia on a fiddle. Now that's one I've never heard!

    1. Oh, honey, go listen to "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," written and performed by The Charlie Daniels Band. I added the fiddle as a clue to the song (I love to put "puzzle pieces" in my posts) and to characterize chocolate as a handsome cad/devil; also I love good ole Tennessee ballads and bluegrass fiddle music. A child of the South, for sure.

  3. Very festive! This looks like a fantastic dessert Michael, hope you had a great 4th:@)

  4. Can't wait to try this! Simply spectacular ~~~

  5. Why do I feel like I need to go to confession now :) Looks divine Michael Lee!

  6. Oh my, they look amazing! I love the patriotic flags too. I hope you enjoyed an extra one of those tarts for me!

    Thanks for sharing your delicious recipe at the #sundaysdownunder link up. I have pinned your post and shared on social media.

    Best wishes for a wonderful week,
    Natasha in Oz

  7. first i don't know how i missed this, then i felt sorty smutty reading it with my lips slightly parted and my breath just a wee bit imparied, girl you got that writers magic, i loved how you treated herbs, but when you fall over to the dark world of chocolate, be still my heart!

  8. All I could picture was Clark Gable as chocolate lol I'm in! ;)


  9. I don't think I'll ever think about chocolate the same way again ;) Love your star-studded tarts!