Yesterday I tried to make those little cookie bowls I saw on Pinterest. Epic fail as my daughter would say. But I did successfully make her birthday banner and these little chocolate meringue bites. Strange because none of the above items are really at all related so I'm not sure what was going on in my head. Nevertheless here are the chocolate meringue bites.
It's puff pastry and warm chocolate and an airy meringue that tastes like toasted marshmallow. How could it be bad? It isn't. And I felt the portion was just enough to satisfy a little chocolate craving (actually maybe two will be enough) I think what I enjoyed most about this little creation is that it seemed to come together so easily. The imperfections are what made it so attractive to me. The pastry baked into all different shapes and sizes. The chocolate melted just enough to fill all the nooks and crannies of the pastry. And the meringue only took a minute to whip up. I had this fantastic dessert in no time!
Now I did do a few experiments.
First - I left the pastry flat then baked the disks.
Yes - when I added the chocolate and put it back in the oven there was chocolate everywhere! Using the muffin tin was definitely the way to go.
Second - I piped the meringue for a more polished effect. This was really pretty but didn't work with the rustic look of the pastry. Just using a spoon to place a dollop on top made me much happier with the whole presentation.
Third - the chocolate ganache should ideally be made a day ahead. You really want the chocolate completely chilled and firm otherwise you have another big mess in the oven.
And by the way - I use this chocolate recipe for so many things that I always keep a bowl of it made and in the fridge. It is originally from Cook's Illustrated (of course it is - I love them) and it's the glaze recipe for their Boston Cream Pie. I use bittersweet chocolate instead of the suggested semisweet but you can use whichever you prefer.
YOU WILL NEED:
1 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 cups of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
dash of vanilla extract
1 package puff pastry
flour for work surface
3 egg whites - at room temperature
around 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
dash of salt
bring the heavy cream and corn syrup to a full simmer.
off the heat add the chocolate and stir until smooth.
add the vanilla extract.
stir well then cover and chill overnight.
oven to 350
lay your puff pastry on a well floured work surface.
roll this until its about 8 by 10.
using a circle cookie cutter cut out 6 or 9 circles - depending what size cutter you are using.
yesterday i used a 3 1/3 inch cutter and today i used a 4 inch cutter.
not sure i really noticed a difference.
while the circles are still on the work surface - poke holes all over each one especially around the edges.
spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray.
then carefully lay each piece of pastry in a muffin slot.
bake about 12 minutes - until golden brown.
leave them in the pan and let cool completely.
once the pastry is cooled - make your meringue.
using a mixer whip the egg whites on medium high.
when foamy add the cream of tartar and a dash of salt.
slowly incorporate the confectioners sugar.
scrape the sides one time then mix for another minute.
now to assemble the tartlet.
roll a little disk of chocolate - shape it to sort of fit whichever cup you are working with - flatten it a bit then place in the center of the pastry cup.
repeat and fill all of them.
now add a small spoonful of meringue to each chocolate mound.
bake around 8 minutes - just until the tops are toasted and chocolate is beginning to melt.
let cool for a minute.
using a butter knife - carefully remove each tartlet from the tray and just hand them out! with a napkin of course.
serve and enjoy.