sweet summer // chocolate praliné tartlets

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“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. — Natalie Babbit, Tuck Everlasting

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Flowers and dessert and the warm embrace of a sunny afternoon. These are three of my most favorite things. I subconsciously reserve rich, chocolaty treats for the colder months but I was missing the caramelly-nuttiness of praline, which is almost inevitably paired with chocolate. There is little need for commentary on this classic combination. Smooth bittersweet chocolate, crunchy praline filling, and a buttery shortbread crust. An unorthodox choice of dessert in the summer perhaps, but is there really an unsuitable time for chocolate?

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Chocolate Praline Tartlets

makes 6 tartlets

For the tart crust:

204 grams all-purpose flour

60 grams icing sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

128 grams unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg yolk

For the praline:

72 grams hazelnut almond praline paste

15 grams milk chocolate

30 grams feuilletine

For the ganache:

100 grams dark chocolate, chopped finely

100 grams heavy cream

7 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the decoration:

unsweetened cocoa powder

Make the crust: Follow instructions in this post. (This tart crust recipe yields more than 6 tartlets, you can refrigerate or freeze the extra and use it for a different occasion.) Bake the tarts and allow the crusts to cool to room temperature.

Make the praline: Melt the milk chocolate in a microwave. Mix in the praline paste, then the feuilletine. Spoon a generous tablespoonful into the bottom of each tart and even it out. You may have a little more extra praline than you need.

Make the chocolate ganache: Place the chopped dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan. Pour over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for a minute or so. Stir until the mixture is homogenous. Stir in the butter until combined. Divide ganache evenly amongst the tarts. Set aside for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature.

To decorate: Sift a layer of cocoa powder over the tops of the tarts. Consume at room temperature. If you refrigerate the tarts the texture of the ganache will change, which isn’t a bad thing, but the original recipe (from Bouchon Bakery) intended for the tarts to be eaten at room temperature.

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