I was going to dinner at a friends house, and I offered to bring desert. I decided I would try to make something with ingredients I had on hand. I had used all of the eggs, so I knew that would be a challenge. As I was looking through cookbooks, I found what I thought would be the perfect recipe-Chocolate Caramel Tart. This recipe is another one from the cookbook Chocolate & Zucchini by Clotilde Dusoulier. Last week I made her recipe for Blueberry Amandine Tart, which was delicious. So I figured this would be another winner.
I was right. It is heavenly. Extremely rich, but sinfully wonderful. Nice, salty, buttery caramel. Perfectly textured ganache.
Tarte Chocolat Caramel
Pate Salee(see recipe below)
For the Caramel Filling:
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon good-quality honey
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt
1/3 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
For the Ganache Filling:
10 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped
1 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
1. Greast a 10″ tart pan with butter. Prepare the Pate Sablee and line the pan as instructed. Wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to a day.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden, keeping an eye on it. Transfer to a rack to cool, NOTE: I had to bake my crust for 30-35 minutes.
3. Prepare the caramel filling: make sure you have all the ingredients measured out before you start. Combine the brown sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt the sugar slowly over medium-low heat. Swish the pan around from time to time to ensure even melting, but don’t stir. As soon as bubbles form on the surface (avoid overcooking the caramel, which would result in a bitter taste afterward), add the honey, and stir to combine. Add the salt and cream and stir until blended. Remove from heat, add the butter, and stir to combine. Pour the caramel into the tart shell and tilt the pan slowly in a circular motion to coat the bottom of the shell evenly. Let set in the fridge for 40 minutes.
4. Prepare the ganache filling: put the chocolate in a medium mixing bowl, preferably stainless steel. Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Pour half of the cream on the chocolate, let stand for 20 seconds, and stir gently in the center with a whisk, gradually blending the cream with the chocolate until smooth. Add half of the remaining cream, and stir again until combined. Repeat with the remaining cream. Remove the tart pan from the fridge, pour the chocolate filling into the shell, and level the surface with a spatula. Return to the fridge to set for an hour.
5. Remove the tart from the fridge 15 minutes before serving. Cut in small slices-it is quite rich-and serve on its own, or with fresh berries. The leftovers will keep for 2 days, tightly wrapped and refrigerated.
Variations: For the classic chocolate tart, omit the caramel layer. Or, instead of caramel, line the tart shell with fruit or preserves before you pour in the ganache, or sprinkle it with cacao nibs, toasted nuts, or crushed pralines. You can add liqueur, coffee, or spices (cardamom or ground ginger) to the ganache, or infuse the cream with tea (Earl Grey and Genmaicha in particular), citrus zest, or herbs (rosemary, bergmot, basil, lavender) before you use it for the ganache.
Note: You can see from my photo that my caramel was a little too runny. I’ll try cooking it a little longer next time. It tasted great, but didn’t make for a very pretty presentation on the plate.
Pate Sablee (Short Pastry)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) chilled unsalted butter, diced, plus a pat to grease the pan
1 to 2 tablespoons cold milk
1. Grease a 10-inch tart or quiche pan with butter.
2. In a food processor, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the butter and process in short pulses, until the mixture resembles course meal. Add a tablespoon of milk and process again, in short pulses, until the milk is absorbed. The dough should still be crumbly, but it should clump if you gently squeeze a handful in your hand. If it doesn’t, add a little more milk, teaspoon by teaspoon, and give the dough a few more pulses, until it reaches the desired consistency.
3. Pour the mixture into the prepared tart pan and use the back of a tablespoon to spread it evenly over the bottom. Using the heels of your hands and your fingers, press down on the dough to form a thin layer, covering the surface of the pan and creating a rim all around. Don’t worry if the dough feels a little dry-this is normal. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to a day.