These luxurious mini pies come together in two stages: baking flaky, buttery tart shells in ordinary muffin pans, then filling them with a smooth, bittersweet chocolate ganache. Topping each with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream is the final flourish.
- Yield: 18 (3-inch) tarts
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 1 hr 10 mins, plus at least 5 hrs chilling time
- Active: 45 mins
For the flaky pie dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup very cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), in small cubes
- 8 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 3/4 cups whole milk
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, plus more for shaving (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Game plan: You can make the dough and refrigerate it for up to 1 day, or store it in the freezer for up to a month (transfer it to the fridge for thawing the day before you plan to make the pies). The whipped cream is best served immediately, but you can make it in advance by whipping the cream to soft peaks and refrigerating it for up to 2 hours. When ready to serve, continue whipping the cream to medium peaks.
To make the dough:
- In the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken up into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together.
- Dump the dough onto a work surface, press it together, then divide it in half. Press each half into a disk, then place the disks in a large zip-top plastic bag. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes or as long as 1 day.
To bake the shells:
- Coat two standard 12-well muffin pans with cooking spray. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough disks to circles about 1⁄8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch biscuit cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. If you need to, gather the scraps and reroll to cut out more circles. You should have 18 circles total. Line 18 of the muffin wells with the dough. Freeze for 20 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line the pie shells with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place the muffin pans on a baking sheet and bake until the crusts look dry, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the crusts are golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
To make the filling:
- In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. Add the cream, whisking until a smooth paste forms. Slowly add the milk and whisk constantly until smooth. Warm the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or heatproof spatula, until the pudding begins to thicken and bubble, about 6 minutes. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
- Divide the hot pudding among the pie shells and spread evenly. Cover each pie with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.
- Make the whipped cream.
- When ready to serve, place a big dollop of whipped cream atop each mini pie. Garnish with chocolate shavings if you like.