The recipe cited by the L.A. Times uses an oatmeal-cookie base for the shell, but to suit my taste, I knew I had to use a less-sweet crust, so I made a tartlet shell out of bittersweet chocolate and walnuts. I also am only baking for 1, so I halved, then quartered, then eighthed the recipe and adjusted it a bit and ended up with 2 miniature tarts.
The end result was total indulgent deliciousness, especially after it had been refrigerated overnight (and devoured for breakfast on this Post-Rapture Sunday), though my idea of food whose addictive qualities borders on crack is still going to be something on the order of a bowl of fresh guacamole with homemade tortilla chips or a big mess of cooked potatoes.
The filling is a lot like a pecan pie filling, minus the pecans, or like some chess pies I've had. Very silky when eaten warm; dense and smooth when cold. I am pretty sure that my kids will love these when I make them again, though I may have to sweeten the crust a bit for them since they are not as enamored of dark chocolate as I am.
Crack Pies in Miniature
makes 2 mini tarts
For the tart shell
For the filling
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 T walnuts
- 2 T confectioner's sugar
- 1 T unsweetened cocoa
- 1 T espresso powder
- 2 T unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
- 1 yolk
- 3 T brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 t powdered milk
- 4 T unsalted butter, melted
- 1-1/2 T heavy cream
- splash of vanilla extract
- splash of bourbon
- 2 yolks
Make the tart shell
Make the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In the food processor, pulse the walnuts, flour, confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder until the nuts are finely ground.
- Add the butter and pulse until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs.
- Add the yolk and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.
- Divide the dough into 2 pieces.
- Spray 2 miniature tart pans with cooking spray and pat the dough into the pans. This is a very sticky dough, so I dipped my fingers in a bit of flour first.
- Press some non-stick foil into the pans over the top of the crust and bake for 20 minutes.
- Take out the pans and let cool.
- Lower heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together the brown sugar, milk powder and salt, making sure that there are no clumps.
- Add the melted butter and cream and stir until all the dry ingredients have dissolved.
- Whisk in the egg yolks and stir to combine, but don't over-beat the mixture.
- Pour into crusts and place the pans into a roasting pan and pour in boiling water until it's about halfway up the outside of the tart pans.* (See Notes)
- Bake for 12 minutes, then lower heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake another 8 minutes or until the center has just set. It should still be jiggly.
- Take out and let cool. Chill in the fridge, even better.
- When you're ready to serve it, sift confectioners sugar over the top.
- My tart pans are the kind with removable disc-bottoms, so since they're n a water bath, it is important to wrap the outsides with foil so that none of the water seeps in. If you have 1-piece tart pans then there is no need to wrap them. I made the mistake once of baking a cheesecake in a springform pan without wrapping the pan before putting it into the water bath.