It's hard to believe we are almost mid-way through December. It feels like time is racing! Here I am with another Famous Fridays edition for you already. This week it's Gale Gand, a pastry chef and restaurateur I have long admired, back when I first saw, "Sweet Dreams", her Food Network show. She has such a warm, inviting, non-intimidating style that I just connected to right away. And though she's an award-winning pastry chef, her recipes are totally accessible and achievable at home. These adorable little Coconut Chocolate Tartlets are a perfect example...
These tartlets are like coconut macaroons on steroids. Totally amazing and addictive. When my son sampled one he said, "These taste like they came from a fancy bakery!" and promptly popped another one in his mouth (the batch, unsurprisingly did not last long). And they are easy, like most recipes in Gale's cookbooks are. I think she has 8 of them to date and I've yet to find a crazy complicated recipe that looks untouchable.
If you're hosting a holiday party or want to bring something a little special to a holiday get-together, you should definitely consider making these. People will cheer when you unveil a platter of these little cuties and while they look like they took a lot of time and effort, no one will know that you didn't slave away.
All you do is mix together egg whites, sugar and coconut by hand and then spoon the mixture into well-sprayed mini-muffin pans (I didn't bold the well-sprayed by accident, even if you use a non-stick pan, spray it well--or risk a kitchen meltdown!) You make little wells to leave room for the divine chocolate ganache that you will fill them with once they're cooked and cooled.
When they're done, you have golden chewy coconut cups--
Then you're ready to fill them with the easiest of fillings, literally some chopped chocolate melted by pouring a little heavy cream over it.
Now, if you're an Almond Joy fan, you top them with some chopped toasted almonds. If you lean more to the Mounds persuasion, leave them unadorned. Both taste amazing, the wonderful toasted coconut chewiness of the cups combined with the rich silkiness of the chocolate ganache-it's a perfect flavor/texture combination.
So if you've got any holiday plans this weekend, give these a try and maybe add a Gale Gand cookbook or two to your wish list, hint, hint!
Gale's Coconut Chocolate Tartlets-Famous Fridays
Prep Time: 20 minutes (including filling tarts); Bake Time 12-15 minutes
- Heaping 3/4 cup sugar
- A little less than 1/2 cup egg whites ( I used about 3 eggs)
- A little less than 2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
- 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (original recipe called for 8 oz and it was way too much)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Toasted chopped almonds to use as a garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and spray a 24 cup mini-muffin pan well with Pam or some other vegetable spray.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, egg whites and coconut. Put a spoonful into each muffin cup and press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides, making a well in the center for the chocolate filling to be added later. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until the cups are golden brown. Be sure to check midway through baking and make sure bottoms of cups have not risen--if some of them puff up, remove the pan from the oven and with a little spoon, press down on centers to push them back into place and continue baking till done. Let cool completely and use a plastic knife to loosen the rims of the cups from the pan if necessary.
3. Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the cream in a small pot, just until it boils and then pour it over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 1 minute. Then whisk it gently to finish melting the chocolate until it is smooth and shiny.
4. Fill the tartlets by carefully spooning the chocolate mixture into the cups and place a few nuts on top if using. Let the tarts sit at room temperature for about 1 hour until serving. The original recipe says you should make these the same day you serve them, but I think they tasted just great the day after, so I think you could probably make these the day before without any problems, as long as you store them at room temperature in an airtight container.
Note: Recipe adapted from Short & Sweet by Gale Gand.