Have you ever seen a Portuguese tart? Well, this is not that but this was inspired by that. Little baby baked chocolate custard tarts with a soft centre and flaky pastry, are the perfect little 3 or 4 bite treat.
Why you’ll love these Mini Chocolate Tarts
Made from scratch chocolate custard is so luscious and with the crunch of that pastry, these are just divine.
DIFFICULTY – Easy. The custard is made from scratch but with just a few simple steps. The chocolate pastry is a version of my favourite flaky pastry that is very quick to make. There is a little time in rolling and cutting the dough but once that’s done, you’re just waiting on them to bake.
MAKE AHEAD – Yes, these custard tarts can be made ahead 1-2 days. They will actually keep for longer than that, providing you don’t eat them all in one sitting. The tart cases can be made in advance and frozen for up to 3 months until required.
- Fridge: Store the finished tarts in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
- Freezer: The tart shells can be made in advance and frozen for up to 3 months. Freeze them on a baking tray first, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready for use.
I love a rich custard made from scratch – it just feels so luxurious. You know, that soft, smooth custard filling just melts in your mouth and when it’s poured into a crispy tart shell like these, the texture contrast is just wonderful.
How to make a chocolate pie crust
This recipe is one I’ve adapted from my regular flaky pastry recipe that I just can’t stop using. You can see in the photos how it is so crisp it just flakes apart. The dough is made from just 5 everyday ingredients.
Flour, cocoa and sugar are mixed together in food processor to combine them. Next, we add cubed cold butter – it MUST be cold butter – and process that until it’s a bit like a sandy texture. Finally, we add an egg to the mix and process again until it clumps together.
It’s important not to over process this dough. You want it to come together quickly as the longer it’s out of the fridge, the more chance the butter in it will melt. Cold butter = crispy, flaky pastry. Melted butter will end up with a tough pastry.
At this point I tip the dough out onto a sheet of baking paper, I use the paper to pull the dough together into a disk (again being careful not to overhandle), then I wrap it and place it in the fridge for 1/2 an hour.
How to make mini tart shells
Once you remove the pastry from the fridge, roll it out making sure to lightly dust the surface with cocoa or a little flour (cocoa is often best as flour can remain visible on your tart shells once baked if you use too much). Use a 10cm (4 inch) circle cookie cutter to cut out 12 round disks and then use a knife to cut a little 2cm triangle wedge out of one side of each one. Gently push them into a standard 12 hole muffin tin and bake for around 10 minutes while you prepare the custard.
How to make chocolate custard
For some reason, homemade custard seems to have a reputation for being tricky. I promise you, it is not at all. The only thing you need to keep an eye on is the heat.
- Don’t let the mixture get too hot in the saucepan – low heat only and stir constantly
- Slowly drizzle the hot mixture into the eggs while continuing to stir, so you don’t scramble the eggs.
This picture above shows me pouring the hot milk liquid into the eggs, whilst continuing to whisk. This is called tempering. As long as you pour the hot mixture in a slow drizzle, the air created by whisking will make it cool enough not to scramble the eggs. Pretty scientific, hey. In the second photo you can see the melted chocolate being added to the thick custard.
Once the custard is the thickness that it drops off the whisk or spoon (as opposed to running off), you can portion it out into your par-baked tart shells. Then bake for a further 20 minutes.
How to use custard
Custard can be used in a variety of ways. It is the base for many ice creams, also creme anglais and creme patissiere are versions of custard, so learning this simple technique can lead to so many wonderful recipes. You can use it inside eclairs and profiteroles, for topping cakes and pavlovas or even just eating on its own. See my Tim Tam Chocolate Custard Slice, Fruit Custard Tart and Caramel Doughnuts with Brown Sugar Custard for more ways to use custard.
They’ll come out all crackly on top and dusted with a little cocoa they look so gorgeous. I made some little heart shapes out of the leftover pastry dough, that I baked along with the tarts (see the last step by step image) and they’re a perfect little topper. Just add some fresh raspberries and you have pretty little chocolate custard tarts.
Other recipes you might like
Mini Chocolate Tart Recipe
FOR THE CHOCOLATE PASTRY
- 130 g (1 cup / 4.6oz) plain (all-purp) flour
- 1/4 cup (25g / 1oz) unsweetened cocoa
- 2 tablespoons icing (powdered / confectioners) sugar (notes)
- 115 g (1/2 cup / stick) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 1 large egg
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CUSTARD
- 70 g (2.5oz) dark (50-70%) chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons thickened (heavy) cream
- 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons corn flour (cornstarch) (notes)
- 2 tablespoons water (notes)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon cocoa, for dusting
- Fresh raspberries
- Shaved chocolate
FOR THE CHOCOLATE PASTRY
- Place the flour, cocoa and sugar in a food processor and pulse 2 times to combine
- Add the chilled butter and blitz for about 20 seconds until the lumps are quite small (1-2mm). Add the egg and process another 15 seconds to combine.
- Pull the dough together with your hands and shape it into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1/2 and hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease the holes of a 12 hole muffin tin.
- Roll the dough out on a very lightly floured surface to about 3mm thickness. Use a 10 cm round cookie cutter to cut rounds of dough (try not to reroll too many times). Cut a small triangle out of one edge only about (2cm deep) so each round looks a bit like a pacman. Push the rounds into the holes of the muffin tin. Place in the fridge. (notes)
- Poke holes in the bottom of each shell with a fork then bake for 10 minutes (while making the custard filling)
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CUSTARD
- Melt the chocolate in 30 second bursts in the microwave, stirring well between each until melted and smooth. This should not take more than 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
- Pour the milk and cream into a heavy based saucepan, and add the butter, sugar and vanilla, then heat on very low heat until the sugar has dissolved, stirring regularly.
- While the milk mixture is heating, mix together the water and cornflour until smooth. Pour it into a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and add the egg yolks, then beat on high until light and doubled in volume.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the beater down to low and pour the milk mix in a slow steady stream into the egg mix. Don’t pour it too quickly or the heat will scramble the eggs.
- Once all the milk is added to the eggs, return the entire mix to the saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring with a balloon whisk constantly, until it gets very thick. This will happen quite suddenly after about 5 minutes or so, so it’s important to keep gently whisking increasing intensity as it gets very thick. You will end up with lumpy custard if you don’t.
- When the custard is very thick, remove from the heat and add the melted chocolate. Whisk until everything is smooth and well combined. The custard should be of a consistency that drops off the whisk in blobs (rather than running off in a stream).
- Fill the pastry cases with custard and bake for about 20 minutes until the tops look dry and cracked.
- Once cool, dust with cocoa and top with fresh raspberries, shaved chocolate and the pastry offcuts if you made any.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide)
- Use the pastry offcuts to cut out more little shapes like hearts or flowers to decorate the finished tarts with too.
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
WANT MORE RECIPES WITH CUSTARD? CLICK HERE
This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission for my referral, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Sugar Salt Magic.