chocolate and coffee brulee tarts

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with a friend in Woollahra at my new favourite restaurant, Chiswick. We watched one of the dessert chefs hard at work bruleeing a Bombe Alaska and I suddenly remembered the unused blowtorch I had hiding away in my cupboard. I went home and decided I needed to make something that needed a blowtorch ASAP. This is what I came up with.

I had some leftover chocolate pastry in the freezer so I used that to make the tartlet shells.

I didn't have a recipe for the filling so I adapted a chocolate custard filling I'd used before.

I tried out the blowtorch with both fear and trepidation. I managed not to melt anything and I still have my eyebrows and eye lashes so I count that as a success. The brulee tart had a satisfying crack when I tapped it with a spoon and that lovely slightly burnt sugar taste. It didn't have quite the coffee hit I expected so I've slightly increased the amount of coffee in the recipe.

Here's the recipe for you.

Chocolate Coffee Brulee Tarts (makes 12)
Chocolate Pastry
225 grams plain flour
25 grams cocoa powder
125 grams unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
85 grams caster sugar
1 egg

Place the flour, cocoa, butter and sugar in a food processor and mix until you get crumbs. Add the egg and mix again until a dough starts to form around the blade. Take the dough out of the food processor and bring together into a ball.
Wrap the dough in paper or plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. You'll only need half the dough for the tarts so place the leftover dough in the freezer and use another time.

Preheat the oven to 190˚C (375˚F). Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tray. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface then roll with a rolling pin until 3-4 mm thick. Cut into twelve 10 cm circles using a cutter and use the pastry to line the muffin tin. Trim the excess dough neatly around the edges and place a cupcake liner and baking beans/ceramic weights into each tart shell. 

Place the muffin tin onto a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes before carefully removing the weights and the paper. Return the tartlet shells to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until the tart shells are dry, crisp and very lightly coloured. 

Reduce oven temperature to 150˚C (300˚F) and place the muffin tin onto a cooling rack while you prepare the filling.
Chocolate Coffee Custard Filling
3 eggs
90 grams caster sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla essence
250 mls (1 cup) cream
125 mls (½ cup) milk
1-2 tsp espresso powder or to taste
extra caster sugar to serve

In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the sugar and the vanilla. Heat the cream, milk and the coffee powder in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the coffee dissolves. Reduce the heat to low. Pour the coffee mixture into the bowl containing the egg mixture and stir well then return to the saucepan and heat for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Don't allow the mixture to boil.

Place the muffin tin back on the baking tray. Strain the custard mixture through a fine sieve into a jug then carefully pour into the prepared tart shells. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the custard is barely set and still has a wobble in it.

Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack and allow the tarts to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing them from the tray. Allow the tart shells to completely cool.

Just before serving, cover the top of the tarts with an even layer of caster sugar and using a blow torch, caramelise the sugar or place under a hot grill. Serve immediately.

Time for me to go. I'll be back on Wednesday with some photos from my visit to Dungog.

See you then,



  1. Hi Jillian

    We would love to share this recipe on our merlo coffee website and in our friends of merlo newsletter.
    Please let me know us know if this is okay?

    Many thanks
    the merlo team

    1. Hi Jenn,

      that would be fine. You can email me info at if you like

  2. Hi Jillian

    We absolutely love this recipe and would love to share it on our Facebook and in our friends of merlo newsletter. Please let us know if this is okay?

    See you latte,
    the merlo coffee team


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