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Monday, June 14, 2010

Mini Chocolate Berry Tarts


So it's been pretty impossible to post updates lately, and this problem stems from the fact that my computer is in a semi-permanent state of dead. The computer is less than a year old and therefore still under warranty, but for some reason it's been taking an ungodly amount of time for it to get fixed. I have photoshop installed on that computer, and though you might not be able to tell from the horrible state of most of my own photography, I do like to touch up a couple of things before I upload pictures. For instance, the lighting in my apartment isn't always that great for taking pictures of food, and things that are actually in vibrant delicious colors end up being captured in sad, flat, unappetizing colors (with a little help from my non-pro point & shoot camera). With a few lighting adjustments on photoshop, I can get the colors in the photo to be pretty close to how they are on my kitchen counter.

That being said, I realize I can't really hope to keep a blog going if I don't continue to update it (plus I miss writing about whatever I ate the day before), so I'll make a couple of posts without my precious photoshop until this problem can be fixed.

On to the food! Last week, a friend and I were basically whining to each other about how stressful the past few weeks had been. Early in the week, we began dreaming about the weekend and how we could relax by the lake at her house and do absolutely nothing. The idea of mojitos sprang up pretty quickly, and then all that was left was some kind of ridiculously girly looking snack.

I came up with the idea of miniature berry tarts since I always see tiny pastry shells in the freezer aisle at my supermarket, and I've really wanted to try making something with them for a long time. I was even more surprised when I looked on the back of the box and saw that they were already baked. All I had to do was fill them with something and serve.

For the filling, I really wanted to use nutella, a chocolate hazelnut spread, but unfortunately it's loaded with dairy. However, my supermarket stocks something called chocolate "soy-nut butter," which is essentially a similar concept to nutella using toasty soy beans instead of hazelnuts. The taste isn't an exact mimic, but the flavor is very smooth and chocolatey with nutty overtones.

Blackberry and Raspberry Tarts, hangin' out in my fridge

Miniature Chocolate Berry Tarts

Prebaked frozen phyllo shells (the ones I purchased came 15 to a package, but since they were tiny, I bought two and made 30 tarts)
Enough berries to top each tart: raspberries, blackberries, or both (or whatever you have, blueberries might be good too)
A jar of chocolate soy-nut spread, or nutella if you don't have dairy issues
Mint leaves for garnish (optional; I had them lying around because of the mojitos and had the idea to add them last minute)
Zipper sandwich bags

Follow instructions for defrosting your pastry shells on the back of the box. Mine came in a little tray to keep them from breaking, but leaving them in the tray while I worked helped to keep them steady. Spoon a few tablespoons of chocolate spread into a zipper sandwich bag, trying to get most of it into one corner of the bag. With scissors, snip off the very edge of the bag (like a frosting bag), being careful not to make too large of a hole. I initially cut too much of the bag off and the chocolate began oozing out on it's own, leaving me to put the oozing bag inside of ANOTHER bag and snip another hole.

Using the sandwich bag like a frosting bag, squeeze a small amount of chocolate spread into each pastry shell. Don't worry if they aren't very attractive at this point. Gently shake the shells in their tray. This will cause the chocolate to level out.

Gently press a berry into the chocolate spread in each shell. Tear the tops off of some mint leaves if they are too large, and press the ends into the chocolate. I actually used the leaves to cover any spots on the tart shell where I accidentally globbed on chocolate. Chill them in the fridge for a little while before serving. It will make the chocolate spread harden just a little bit, and keep them from being too runny.

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