A Valentine’s Day Treat

Photo by Tim Turner

Chocolate-Coconut Macaroon Pies
by Gale Gand and Julia Moskin
from Short + Sweet (Clarkson Potter, 2003)
Makes 24 tartlets

The “dough” for coconut macaroons is so easy to make—just sugar, egg whites, and coconut—that I was tempted to see what else it could do. It’s easier to work with than a pastry dough because there is no need to roll it out, it stays wherever you press it, and it holds its shape well after baking. These little cups of toasted coconut, full of creamy dark chocolate, are like chocolate-dipped macaroons in reverse: lots of chocolate and a little coconut. I love the flavors together.

Heaping 3/4 cup sugar
Scant 1/2 cup egg whites (from about 3 large eggs)
3/4 pound (scant 2 1/2 cups) sweetened flaked coconut, such as Baker’s
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
A few toasted almonds, chopped

1. Heat the oven to 350ºF (175°C).

2. Mix the sugar, egg whites, and coconut together. Put a spoonful into each of 24 nonstick mini-muffin cups or individual tart molds. Press the “dough” into the molds to make little cups, with sides and a well for holding the chocolate filling. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans, then gently remove. (See Note) (You may need to run a plastic knife around the rim of the cups to loosen them.)

3. To make the filling, place the chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce-pan just until boiling, then pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute. Whisk gently to melt the chocolate completely. Keep whisking until smooth and glossy.

4. Fill the tarts by pouring in the warm chocolate filling. Sprinkle a few pieces of chopped almond in the center of each tart while they’re still warm. Let them set at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving, and serve them the same day they are made.

Note: The coconut shells can be up to 2 days in advance and kept at room temperature in an airtight container. The chocolate ganache can be refrigerated for up to 5 days; re-warm it in the microwave or in a bowl set over simmering water until it is pourable.

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