Coffee Cream Tartlets

Coffee sweetened with cream was the inspiration behind this tartlet that will appeal to fans of tiramisu. A rich pastry cream infused with espresso is cradled in tartlets made with our flaky pie crust over a chocolate base and topped with Bavarian cream. The flavors of the silky pastry cream and the buttery crust contrast nicely with the bittersweet flavors of the coffee and chocolate, a divine combination. Not only do they present elegantly, but they can be made ahead of time, and chilled until it’s time to serve them.

Printable PDF of this recipe here.
Makes 4 tartlets.

1 disk flaky pie dough
4 egg yolks
½ cup + 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
3 tsp vanilla, divided
1¼ cups milk
¼ cup espresso or very strong coffee
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 coffee beans

Roll out pie dough disk into a 16-inch x 20-inch rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Using a 6½-inch plastic lid as a guide, cut out 4 circles. Place each circle into a 4½-inch tart shell, folding any overhang onto the rim. Crimp the edge of each tartlet and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line each tartlet with a 7-inch square of parchment paper, pressing it into the dough. Fill each with pie weights. Place the tartlet shells on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rim is golden brown and the base is dry when pie weights and parchment are removed. If the base still looks wet, return to the oven for a few more minutes. Let cool completely.

Pastry Cream
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, ½ cup sugar, cornstarch and 1½ tsp vanilla until well combined. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk until it comes to a boil. Gradually ladle the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to combine. Then, pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

Over low heat, cook the mixture until it thickens, being careful not to let it boil. Remove from heat.

Strain two-thirds of the mixture through a mesh strainer into one clean bowl, and the remainder into another.

Stir the brewed espresso (or strong coffee) into the larger amount of pastry cream. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

To make the Bavarian cream, whip the heavy cream with the remaining 1 Tbsp sugar and 1½ tsp vanilla to a medium firmness. Pour in the small bowl of chilled pastry cream and gently fold in to combine. Cover and chill for 20 minutes.

Set up a double boiler by adding 1-inch of water to a small saucepan and fitting a small stainless bowl on top. Melt the chocolate chips in the bowl, stirring with a spatula. Remove from the heat.

Brush the melted chocolate onto the interior base of the baked tartlet shells and refrigerate for 5 minutes to set. Reserve extra chocolate for garnishing.

Divide the coffee pastry cream evenly between the 4 tartlet shells and smooth the surface with a spatula. Top each tartlet with the Bavarian cream, creating a dome shape.

Garnish the tartlets with chocolate stripes by dipping a fork in the remaining melted chocolate and dripping it over the tartlets. (You could also use pastry bag with a fine tip to stripe the tartlets with chocolate.)

Top each tartlet with 3 coffee beans. Chill until ready to serve. The tartlets will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.