It all started with a chocolate bar produced by a Seattle based company called Theo. The bar was flavored with fig, fennel, almond, and dark chocolate. I was waiting in line for my latte when I saw it. It was such an interesting flavored chocolate bar that I couldn’t resist. Plus the packaging is very cute and retro – I was sold!
When I first tasted this chocolate though, it actually tasted weird to me. Fennel is such a strong flavor and I had never imagined fennel and chocolate together, let alone adding almonds and figs to the mix. It’s just a flavor combination that my taste buds weren’t expecting. Then, I had another bite, and I realized I really liked it. The bitterness of the dark chocolate is offset by the natural sweetness of the figs and almonds, and the fennel adds this amazing aniseed flavor. Suddenly I found myself devouring the whole bar. The OH insists that it tastes perfect with coffee, but I kind of like it on its own. It’s become a firm favorite in our house ever since.
So, it was this strange little Seattle chocolate bar that inspired me to make these frangipane tartlets. Chocolate, fig and almonds already sounds like a delicious tart, but I knew fennel was going to make this a more sophisticated dessert. The tartlet case is made with a chocolate pâte sucrée. The frangipane is made with almonds and ground fennel seeds with surrounds some fresh figs. The tartlet is then cooked, and finally drizzled with some dark chocolate. This is such a great dessert, and all the flavors go so well together. It’s delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
Chocolate Pâte Sucrée
(enough for 6 x 4 inch tartlets with some pastry leftover)
- 175 g of flour
- 40g of cocoa
- 80g of icing sugar
- 140g of butter, cubed
- 2 egg yolks, beaten with a drop of water
Frangipane and Fig Filling
- 100g of butter
- 100g of sugar
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 3 teaspoons of fennel seeds finely ground in a pestle and mortar
- 110g of ground almonds
- 25g of flour
- 12 fresh figs
- 40g of dark chocolate
- Sieve the flour, cocoa and icing sugar into a large bowl.
- Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg yolks and mix together until the mixtures coming into a dough. You might need an extra drop or two of water.
- Wrap the pastry in cling wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Meanwhile to make the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Gradually add the egg and egg yolk, beating until well combined.
- Add the ground almonds, ground fennel and flour . Then, pulse/ beat together.
- Once the pastry has rested, take it from the fridge and remove cling wrap.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C.
- Grease 6 tartlet tins with a little butter.
- Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface or slipmat.
- Line the tartlet tins with the pastry. There will some leftover pastry. I used this to make some simple round sable biscuits.
- Spoon the frangipane into the pastry cases.
- Slice the figs in half, and push the figs (skin-side down) into the frangipane. I fit 4 fig halves in each tartlet case.
- Place the tartlets in the oven for about 45 minutes, just until the frangipane is set and golden.
- Remove the tarts from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Melt the chocolate and spoon it into a piping bag.
- Pipe the chocolate in zig zag lines on top.
- Serve the tartlets with some crème fraiche or vanilla ice-cream on the side.