Silly question, isn't it? Many, many flavors go well with chocolate. It was a challenge, however, to find a recipe that combined the haunting, almost floral flavor of quince with the assertive flavor of bittersweet chocolate.
I tried a couple of recipes, including the pan sweet rolls that I posted in November, but the one that seemed to be the best match was bittersweet chocolate and quince jam tartlettes. The jam was not drowned out by the chocolate and the chocolate was enhanced by the quince flavor. The textures were lovely, too; crisp crust, tender and soft filling enhanced by the addition of ground almonds, and sweet, syrupy quince jam between them. If you can't find quince jam, apricot would be good, too.
A typical British sweet is Bakewell Tarts. They usually are not chocolate, but I borrowed some aspects of those little treasures, including putting jam on the bottom of the tart and pouring a batter enriched with ground almonds over the jam. I'm calling the St. George's Bittersweet and Quince Jam Tartlettes because St. George the patron saint of Britian...it seemed fitting. So the recipe is a combination of four or five recipes for Bakewell tarts, plus the addition of chocolate. You can substitute a good pie crust recipe for the ready-made pie dough for an even better tart.
St George’s Dark Chocolate & Quince Jam Tarts
1 package ready-made pie dough circles, at room temperature and unwrapped
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperture
4 oz. Scharffen Berger Semi-Sweet chocolate 962% cacao)
1 cup slivered blanched almonds
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup quince jelly
¼ cup slivered blanched almonds
On a lightly floured board, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each of the pastry dough rounds slightly thinner to ¼ inch thick. Cut out 4 inch circles and re-roll the scraps to cut more circles until you have 10 circles of pastry. Line ten 3-inch fluted tart tins with the pastry rounds, pushing the pastry into the indentations of the sides. Trim any extra dough at the top of the tins by rolling a rolling pin across the top of each tart tin. Place pastry lined tins on a 11.5 x 17 inch baking sheet that has been lined with foil or a silicone mat. Chill in freezer for 30 minutes.
While tart shells are chilling, cut the unsalted butter stick into cubes and place in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on 30% power for one minute.
While butter is in microwave, chop 4 oz. of Scharffen Berger Semi-Sweet chocolate (62% cacao) finely.
Add to the microwaved butter, stir to blend, then return to microwave and continue cooking one minute at a time at 30% power, stirring after each minute, until butter and chocolate are melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
After the tart shells have chilled for 30 minutes, line each with a 4 inch baking parchment circle and fill with pie weights (dry beans work well). Blind bake in preheated 350 degree F. oven for 15 minutes, turning the baking pan holding the tart pans 180 degrees after the first 10 minutes for even cooking. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
While the tart shells are baking and cooling, combine the cup of slivered blanched almonds and ¼ cup granulated sugar. Process in a food processor until the nuts are finely ground. Set aside.
Mix the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer until beaten, but not frothy, about 1 minute . Add the additional ¼ cup sugar and the ground almond mix. Mix another minute to blend. Set aside.
Once the tart shells are cool enough to handle, remove the pie weights and parchment circles. Stir the quince jelly with a fork to break it down to a spreadable consistency. Spread the bottoms of the tart shells with quince jelly using a total of ½ cup, divided among the tart shells. Set aside.
Into the ground nut, sugar and egg mixture, add the butter-chocolate mixture. Mix well by stirring with a spoon or flexible spatula. When thoroughly mixed, pour into the tart shells, covering the jelly and filling almost to the top. Rap a table knife against the side of each tart pan to break up any large bubbles in the filling. Sprinkle each tart with a about ½ teaspoon of slivered almonds.
Place the baking sheet with the tarts on it into the 350 degree F oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until filling rises slightly and is firm at the edges and nuts are slightly toasted. The center may still be slightly soft.
Cool on rack. Remove tarts from their pans and serve warm, room temperature, or cold.