Chocolate Pretzel Milk Tarts / by Chelsea Zwieg

I have a MAJOR obsession with Christina Tosi. For people who don't spend 95% of their time baking and might not know who she is, she is the owner of Milk Bar in New York and an absolute genius of baking/flavor combinations/inspiration. She is the person who thinks to bake an entire cheesecake and then blend it into a frosting to layer between carrot cake. Or put graham cracker crust into cookies along with potato chips, pretzels and ground coffee. Possibly her most genius creation has been to turn cereal milk (exactly what it sounds like) into everything from ice cream to panna cotta to pie filling. As someone who would eat cereal for every meal if I could (oh wait, maybe I do that already), you can imagine how on board I am with something as wonderful as cereal milk ice cream. However, she has also bottled and sold something equally as genius. And that genius is pretzel milk. 

And so I took a cue from the Tosi arsenal of genius and decided to infuse the cream in chocolate ganache with pretzels because is there anything better than chocolate and pretzels? Ok, maybe cereal. But let's stay on topic here. 

The filling in this tart is made up of pretzel infused milk which is then added to dark chocolate and baked until it's set. Imagine the consistency of a chocolate truffle that tastes like a chocolate covered pretzel. Ok, now try to calm down. The filling is poured into a pretzel crust which takes 2 minutes to put together and is the ultimate combination of salty pretzels and brown sugar. I would imagine that this crust would be the prefect component in any pie/tart where you want a salty and sweet thing going on. Like an ice cream pie? Oh goodness. The tart is then finished with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of pretzel crumbs and chocolate. 

I would love to tell you how long these last in the fridge, but they're definitely all gone. Sorry bout it. 

Side note, I've got my eye on the Milk Bar cookbook so get ready for all milk bar recipes, all the time. 

Chocolate Pretzel Milk Tarts

Makes 8 mini tarts or one 9" tart

| Ingredients

For the pretzel crust: 

  • 2 cups pretzels, ground (this is about 4-5 cups before they are ground, depending on the shape of the pretzel)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

For the filling: 

  • 2-3 handfuls pretzels
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate, chopped 
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature (if you forget, like I always do, soak the eggs in a bowl of hot water to speed up the process)

For the topping:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla


| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325. Place pretzels for the filling on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast 15-20 minutes (they will start to smell very toasty and pretzely). Remove pretzels from the oven and place in a medium bowl. 
  • Bring cream and milk to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour hot milk over the toasted pretzels and let sit for 15 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, make the crust. Butter tart pans and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse pretzels until they are very finely ground, just a little bit coarser than flour. Add brown sugar and pulse to combine. Pour in melted butter and process until the crust clumps together. Divide crust between prepared tart pans and press in in firmly. Be sure to get all of the edges and up the sides. Bake crust 8-10 minutes until golden brown. 
  • Pour pretzel milk mixture through strainer into a liquid measuring cup. It may be necessary to strain it a couple times, depending on how much the pretzels have broken down. Discard the soggy pretzels (or find a super creative use for them and then tell me. Cause I've got nothing). Look at how much milk is left and add/subtract as much as necessary to bring it to 1 1/2 cups. My pretzels absorbed a lot of liquid so I ended up adding about 1/2 cup. Pour 1 1/2 cups pretzel milk back into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  • Place chopped chocolate, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Pour the hot pretzel milk over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is completely smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. If the eggs are too cold, you will end up with scrambled eggs, so make sure they are room temp. 
  • Pour tart filling into shells and bake 15-20 minutes until the filling is glossy and just set in the center. Let cool completely before removing from pans. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip until the cream reaches stiff peaks (if will hold its shape when you pull the beaters out). Top cooled tarts with whipped cream. Sprinkle with extra pretzels and chocolate shavings, if desired.