The introduction of 24/7 food television in the aughts, and the rise of the celebrity chef, led to a more ambitious style of home cooking. These mini-tarts are a good example. They’re not difficult or especially time-consuming, but with their hazelnut shortbread base, chocolate ganache, and raspberry garnish—eating in season was not yet de rigueur—they pack a tremendous “wow” factor.
Mist 2 mini-muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, chop the hazelnuts to the texture of coarse sand. Using a standing or handheld mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl 1 minute. Add the flour and chopped hazelnuts, and mix briefly until the dough forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Pour the chocolate chips into a heat-safe mixing bowl. In a heavy saucepan, heat the cream on medium-high until it just begins to simmer. Remove from the heat, and pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips. Stir steadily until all the chocolate is melted. Keep warm.
Preheat your oven to 350° and set a rack to the middle position. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Form 2 teaspoons of dough into a ball, and press into a cup of the mini-muffin tin, creating a well for the filling with your thumb. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake shells until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.
If the dough has puffed during baking, gently press down with a spoon. When the shells are cool, turn and lift carefully to remove from the pans. Using a pastry bag (or a plastic zip-top sandwich bag with a hole cut in one corner), neatly pipe the ganache into the shells, until almost filled.
Press a whole raspberry, upside down, into the ganache. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Tartlets are best when served within 24 hours.