This week’s Halloween S’Mores Rat Tarts recipe and tutorial has to go down as one of the creepiest we’ve ever featured here at Cake Geek Magazine!
It’s from Helena Garcia’s The Witch-Crafting Handbook, her follow-up to The Wicked Baker.
With over 70 projects for stylish witches to make at home, it is inspired by ancient folklore and all things mystical. Helena offers remedies for your apothecary using foraged ingredients and age-old formulae; fashion accessories for your witch’s wardrobe; enchanting homewares and decorations; devilishly delicious recipes both sweet and savory; and tipsy tonics.
All you need are simple materials and ingredients, a little imagination, and a sprinkling of sorcery.
And this s’mores recipe is on another level – buttery tart base with a decadent salted chocolate custard, topped with torched Swiss meringue.
The decorations are so simple to make, and they will go down a treat with guests for Halloween.
Helena has used a fairly small tart ring (7cm/2¾in) to make them individual portions, but feel free to use whatever you have at home.
Halloween S’Mores Rat Tart: Ingredients
- 300g [2¼ cups] plain [all purpose] flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp icing [confectioners’] sugar
- 225g [scant 1 cup] unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 4–5 Tbsp ice-cold water
- 350ml [1½ cups] double [heavy] cream
- 280g [1²/³ cups] chopped
- good-quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
- 3 Tbsp caster [granulated] sugar
- large pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 100g [½ cup] caster [granulated] sugar
- pinch of salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
TO DECOR ATE
- 100g [3½oz] white modelling chocolate or fondant
- 25g [1oz] black modelling chocolate or fondant
- pink edible powder colouring
- black edible powder colouring
- black edible ink pen
- a little shop-bought royal icing
- food processor
- 8 x 7cm [2¾in] tart rings
- electric hand whisk
- piping [pastry] bag
- small round piping nozzle
- ball modelling tool
Halloween S’Mores Rat Tart: Instructions
Put the flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively, do this with your hands.
Add the water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until the mixture forms large clumps and holds together when you press it in your hand.
Tip the dough onto a work surface and knead it a couple of times to bring it together. Form into a ball, then flatten it, cover in cling film [plastic wrap] and refrigerate for 10–15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan [400°F/Gas mark 6].
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is 3mm [¹/⁸in] thick, then use to line the 8 tart rings.
Don’t trim the edges just yet. Line the pastry shells with baking paper and fill with rice or baking beans, then blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, trim the edges and bake for a further 7–8 minutes. Set the tart shells aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C fan [350°F/Gas Mark 4].
To make the filling, pour the cream into a small saucepan over a low–medium heat until it reaches simmering point. Do not let it boil. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Leave it to stand for a couple of minutes.
Fold the chocolate in with a spatula until it is melted and fully combined, then mix in the sugar and a large pinch of salt. Add the eggs and whisk until fully combined.
Pour the filling equally among the tarts and bake for 10–15 minutes until the custard is set. Remove the tarts from the oven, then carefully take them out of the rings and leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the Swiss meringue, place the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl and mix with a whisk. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and mix until the egg whites reach a temperature of 70°C [158°F], or you can feel the sugar has dissolved by rubbing the mixture between your fingers.
Take the bowl off the heat and, using an electric hand whisk, beat the mixture on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and continue mixing until you reach stiff peaks that only droop slightly when you lift the whisk.
By this point, the bowl should no longer feel hot to the touch. Transfer the meringue to a piping bag. Pipe the meringue on top of the tarts and blowtorch them until lightly coloured.
Using a small round piping nozzle, pipe the whiskers out of royal icing onto a piece of baking paper in a zigzag shape so they look electrified. Leave to dry completely, about 1 hour.
Mould the ears, eyes, nose and tail out of white modelling chocolate or fondant. Add a little black on top of the white bit of the nose and create nostrils with a toothpick or ball modelling tool.
Brush a little pink powder colour inside the ears. In the meringue base, create the eye sockets with a ball modelling tool, then insert the eyes.
Colour around them with the black powder colour and draw on the pupil with the pen.
Drizzle some royal icing in a zigzag over the tail.
Repeat to make features for all the tarts. Place the remaining features on the tarts and serve.
The Witch-Crafting Handbook by Helena Garcia (Quadrille, £15) Photography ©Patricia Niven