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chocolate caramel tarts

November 25, 2010

Chocolate.

Gooey, melting, velvety chocolate that melts onto your fingers and spreads itself like a warm blanket across your tongue.  The remedy for miserable days and gruff receptions.  A symbol for indulgence.  Darling of dessert makers and bakers worldwide.

Except, perhaps, for this one.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like chocolate… it’s just that I don’t love chocolate.  It sits, undisturbed, in my drawer at work.  Is offered around and nibbled on from time to time.  And when I do get the urge to sample a sliver, it’s just that.  A sliver.

A square of darkest dark chocolate.  A coating around a buttery biscuit.  A milky brown button from a foil-sticker-sealed paper bag.

And that’s enough for me.

(But wait! Don’t you start thinking I am one of those controlled, unindulgent eaters. Leave me alone with a fruit crumble or a bag of salty crisps and there’ll be nothing but crumbs left before you’ve even thought to look twice.  Ahem. Moving on.)

Not so my companions, who inhale chocolate as if it was the only thing worth living and breathing for. And, in particular, the three reasons I made this tart to begin with.

Reason #1 finished his two half tarts within three hours of them being bestowed on him.  For dinner, no less. “Delectable darling” said he, over the telephone some time later, “Like a twix bar in a tart.  If a twix bar was made of Valrhona and had a chocolate biscuit in the middle… the ginger was rather nice too, and you know I don’t like crystallised ginger.”

Reason #2 picked the ginger over the pistachio. “My husband doesn’t like ginger” said she “so this way I’ll get it all to myself.”

Reason #3 was greeted with whoops of delight from hers “Babe,” her husband reportedly said, driving and eying her treasure “I’m really hungry. Can I have a bite?” and then, later, “Oh, it has caramel in it. I don’t like caramel.  Can I’ve another bite?”

As for my non-chocolate loving family & I, we found it rather a treat.  Crumbly biscuitty base.  Smooth, dense caramel. Dark, velvety chocolate.

Which means, unlike most things baked around these parts, it might actually make a reprise.  More so by reason of its versatility.  I made pistachio and also crystallised ginger versions the first time around, and am already contemplating new flavours.

Armagnac soaked prunes?  Chilli powder and pop rocks?  Maple roasted bacon?

The possibilities are endless.

chocolate caramel tarts

makes 8 individual tarts with a 10cm diameter

CARAMEL FILLING (DULCE DE LECHE)

you will need:

one tin of condensed milk

how to do it:

1. Remove all paper wrapping from the tin.  Place into a pot, ensuring that it is large enough to fully submerge the tin in water, leaving a 5cm body of water above the top of the tin.  Fill the pot with water and boil for and hour and a half, topping up water as necessary.

2. Remove the tin from the water and let it cool to room temperature before opening.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

you will need:

150g dark chocolate (I used Valrhona 61%)
150ml thickened cream

how to do it:

1. Chop the chocolate into small chunks and place in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream until it is simmering, do not boil the cream.  Tip the hot cream over the chocolate and wait for thirty seconds.  Stir the two together until you have a cohesive chocolatey ganache.


CHOCOLATE PASTRY

you will need:

1¾   cups all-purpose flour
¼C dutch process cocoa powder
½C white sugar
1 tsp salt flakes (or ¼ tsp salt crystals)
125g unsalted butter, chilled
2 egg yolks
2tbsp thickened cream
½tsp vanilla extract

how to do it:

1. Toss the flour, cocoa, sugar & salt into a food processor and whiz well to combine.  Cut your chilled butter into 1-2cm chunks and add to the flour mix.

2. Process the flour mix and butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs and you aren’t able to differentiate between the butter & flour mix anymore.

3. Add the remaining ingredients into the food processor and pulse until the mixture starts coming together in a ball.  Tip the mixture into a bowl (or just remove the blade) and press together with your hands until you have a sticky, cohesive dough.  Separate the dough into eight equally sized balls, flatten slightly and wrap in cling wrap.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

4. Unwrap the dough balls one at a time and press into a 10cm tart tin with removable bottom.  Push the dough up the sides with your fingertips, trying to get an even thickness.  I tried rolling this mix out, but was left rather frustrated as it was too sticky.  Better to just flatten and press.  Prick holes in the bottom of each tart with a fork. Repeat for all eight tarts.

5. Heat your oven to 200C (or 180C fan forced).  Line each tart with baking paper and fill with baking weights.  Bake the tart shells for 15 minutes, remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 5 minutes uncovered.

ASSEMBLING THE TARTS

you will need:

1 Quantity Caramel (Dulce de Leche)
1 Quantity Chocolate Ganache
1 Quantity Chocolate Tart Dough
Flavourings (I used crystallised ginger & roasted, chopped pistachios)

how to do it:

1. Remove the tarts from their shells and immediately spoon a large dessert spoon of caramel into the base of each tart.  You should use up the whole tin of caramel filling the eight tarts.  Work the caramel back and forth with the spoon, spreading it into the corners of the tart base.  The caramel will soften as it heats up and you should be able to obtain an even spread.

2. Spread a thin layer of your selected flavouring over the caramel layer.  I used chopped, roasted pistachios (delicious!) and thinly sliced crystallised ginger (even more delicious!).

3. Top with warm chocolate ganache. Sprinkle a a bit of your flavouring on the top to differentiate between the flavours.  Let the tarts set in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.


  • #1
    November 25th, 2010

    I would love one day to find out how or who it was that discovered making caramel this way…

  • #2
    November 26th, 2010

    I’m totally with you on the not loving chocolate. So much so that I demanded a non-chocolate birthday cake, which no one seemed to understand. Love the sound of a twix bar in a tart though, and the addition of ginger sounds lovely!

  • #3
    November 26th, 2010

    I like the way you made the tart. It’s very straightforward, but it came out just right. Also, when I was a kid we used to make the Dulce de Leche at home the same way. Until one day someone forgot to top up the water and the tin can exploded. Hehehe!

  • #4
    November 26th, 2010

    Is it wrong to think this would be nice with my vegemite toast?

  • #5
    November 26th, 2010

    Ohhh they look like something you’d get from Bourke St Bakery! Yum!

  • #6
    November 26th, 2010

    Your filling and topping combos are brilliant! I actually had a nice Zumbo choc caramel tart last night but it could have done with some ginger or something on top, like yours.

  • #7
    November 26th, 2010

    heh i really like that photo with the chopped butter in the blender. it makes me want to eat a cube.

  • #8
    November 26th, 2010

    They look awesome. And actually don’t seem that difficult to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • #9
    November 26th, 2010

    These tarts look delicious!

    I’d love for you to submit some of your beautiful photos, and a link to your posts, to my food photo gallery showcasing the best baking, desserts and sweets on the web.

  • #10
    November 27th, 2010

    Wow they look so cute and delicious,and now I am incredibly hungry. I love all your photo’s they are absolutely beautiful 🙂

  • #11
    November 27th, 2010

    They really do look decadent.

  • #12
    November 28th, 2010

    Hi I have just nominated you for a game of blogger tag, have a look at my site, and if you are so inclined, please play along 🙂

  • #13
    November 29th, 2010

    Oh my these do look so good! And the additional flavours of the pistachios and ginger – love it!

  • #14
    December 2nd, 2010

    wow these look delectable!

  • #15
    Joy
    November 27th, 2012

    WOW!
    This sounds absolutely delicious! I will try this next week! Excuse me, as I wipe the drool from my desk

Shez