Tuesday, March 19, 2013

salted caramel + chocolate tart

mb post.
normally loud and bustling.

the same building where my parents would go to buy stamps and send letters,
and here i am, thirty years later.
in that same building,
rolling dough and making bacon brittle.

i drag myself from my heat-blasted car to the front doors.
i stand outside wait for craig to come let me in.

that light coming from the back, that's where i'm headed. it's still and silent, peaceful, and approximately FAR too early.

sometimes i am ready, coffee in hand and ready to seize the fucking baking day.

other times, i am absolutely no-no please not now no Not Ready. i just woke up 17 minutes ago, and my body should not be trusted to operate a vehicle, oven, or human sized kitchen aid.

and the lists.. jesus. they're daunting to look at in the morn.
i secretly hope a pot will fall on my head so that i can go back home to my bed.
but that never happens. so the bread and tart making continues.  

salted caramel tarts are a thing. a classic thing. a simple thing. a thing that people love, adore, and gush over. 
we worked on perfecting them for a week, so they have been very much on the brain.

i made one at home, the way i like it, heavier on the caramel with a thin sheet of ganache. 

so while this isn't exactly the one i make at work everyday, the classic construction is the same.
the pate sucree crust, buttery and crunchy, more like sugar cookie than flakey pie crust.
thick and glossy caramel.
ganache. deep and shiny.

and salt.
the flakey kind. lots. 

Salted Caramel + Chocolate Tart
adapted from all over. martha stewart, saveur, work

for the tart dough:
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp heavy cream

for the caramel:
1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
6 tbsp water
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp (2 g) kosher salt
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped*
6 tbsp (90g/3 oz) unsalted butter
6 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp creme fraiche

for the ganache:
3/4 cups heavy cream
6 oz 55%-65% dark chocolate 

make the tart dough: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and confectioners' sugar. mix on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. add egg yolks, and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. add half of the flour, and mix on low speed just until the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. add remaining flour along with the salt and cream, and mix just until flour is no longer visible, about 1 minute. turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a flattened disk. wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. 
when ready to use, roll out dough on a floured surface, about 1/4 inch thick. drape over the tart pan of your choice (round, rectangle, square, mini round tarts) and gentle press into corners. using a sharp paring knife, trim away excess dough. prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes (or the freezer to cut down on chilling time)
preheat oven to 350 degreesF. line the tart shell with a piece of parchment leaving an overhang, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. bake until edges are just golden, 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your tart(s). remove parchment and weights. return to oven and continue baking until golden brown, 10-15 minutes more. cool completely. 

make the caramel: in a medium heavy saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. cook undisrupted until the caramel turns a rich amber color, then remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, vanilla bean seeds, and cream. the mixture will bubble up. whisk until smooth and beautiful. pour caramel into cooled tart shell(s) and let cool slightly; refrigerate until set 3-4 hours. 

make the ganache: bring heavy cream almost to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream. let sit for a moment, then stir around with a rubber spatula and whisk until smooth. pour ganache evenly over tart. 

the amounts and ratios of caramel to chocolate is completely up to you. with that, you might have more or less leftovers of caramel and chocolate ganache. 

*you can still make perfect beautiful caramel without vanilla beans! 
so if you don't have a vanilla bean, don't fret. make it without it. 

suggestions for leftover caramel: ice cream, caramel can transform ice cream. 
this is what i want: olive oil ice cream + caramel+ toasted peanuts + sea salt. done deal. 

 just follow the caramel principle: chilled for thick caramel. room temperature caramel will be less thick. heated caramel will be thinner and saucy. ..and you can pretty much include it in any dessert. 

suggestions for leftover ganache: heat until thick, glossy and pourable, then pour onto a tall bundt. banana? yes. i've also been eyeing this pecan molasses one. 


  1. This is the most amazing looking thing I have ever seen in my life, I can't even...

  2. This looks incredible! I love the generosity of the thick caramel layer.