Monday, November 12, 2012

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart

Well,  today was the day. Today was the day I registered for classes for the upcoming spring semester.  It was like any other time in the past, you know.  Tons of time wasted spent researching classes and professors, and attempting to figure out how to best pick classes so that you'd get the maximum amount of weekend time possible. It was no different this year, except today, I registered for classes for the last time ever.  WUT?! 

Yes, it's true.  I'm a senior in college, with one semester (ok 1.5 semesters) left until commencement.  Where did the time go and how did this happen?  Is this even real life?  

Someone, pinch me, please.



It's crazy to think that at this time next year I won't be writing blog posts from my dorm room, and I won't be editing photos in the library instead of doing homework.  Nope.  None of that will happen next year.  It's a little mind-boggling and a little overwhelming, but at the same time, is very, very exciting!  At this time next year, I'm going to have something much bigger to think about...grad school applications.  Ew, I don't even want to think about that in those terms.  Grad school is only a thought that is looming in the back of my head right now; I know I'm gonna have to just suck it up and create a portfolio and work on applications, and take the GRE (ugh) at some point, but for now, I'm trying to just live in the present and not stress too much over what's going to happen later on in the year.  There's too much fun to be had right now!  The holidays are right around the corner (my absolute favorite time of year, hands down), and thoughts of Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, and Thanksgiving (!!) are preoccupying my thoughts.  

Real life?  Psh.  It can wait.  Especially when there are photos of a chocolate and salted caramel tart staring at my face. 



While I consider this chocolate and salted caramel tart to be one of the best, most delicious, and wow-worthy desserts I've made to date, it is also without a doubt one of the most CHUBZ things ever.  Seriously.  I cut what I thought was a relatively small slice for photographing, and then proceeded to eat it once I was finished taking photos.  That small slice I cut for myself was too big.  I was so full after maybe only three bites.  I then passed the slice on to my sister, who also managed to eat three bites, before the slice was passed on to my dad, and then to my mom who ate the last three bites that were left.  One tiny slice was enough to satisfy four people. Those three tiny bites were so delicious though.  



This tart is not for the faint of heart.  That goes without saying, of course.  The tart is incredibly rich and decadent, and requires a tall glass of milk and time for a nice nap after dessert is over.  Trust me, you'll need it. It's ok though.  This combination of chocolate, butter, caramel, ganache, and sea salt is totally worth it.  Yes, sea salt is one of the ingredients that truly takes this tart over the top, as if the caramel sauce and ganache couldn't do that on their own.  If adding a little sprinkling of sea salt to the top of the tart intimidates you, don't let it!  That whole salty-sweet combination that people are obsessed with nowadays is definitely worth obsessing over.  The little hints of saltiness that you'll get as you make your way through a slice of this tart really bring out the flavors of the caramel sauce and the ganache, and help make this tart truly spectacular. Don't skip out on this step!  Be bold, but not too bold...a little sprinkling of sea salt is all you need. 




The tart looks like it might be complicated to prepare, but trust me, it's really quite simple.  The key is to know that this is one of those desserts that require some planning ahead, as you need to allow for the tart shell to cool down after it bakes, and then several hours for both the caramel and ganache to set. The extra hours needed are worth it though.  You'll get a delicious and completely impressive dessert that you won't be likely to forget anytime soon.  The only issue I had, which isn't a real issue, now that I think about it, is that the caramel layer of the tart oozed out a bit more than I would have liked.  This is no big deal though, because we're all friends here right?  There's no reason for judgement!  Whether or not the caramel oozes out of the middle, this tart is a winner in my book.  Enjoy!

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart
recipe from Sweetapolita 

Ingredients

For the Crust:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Caramel

1 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
7 tablespoons heavy cream

For the Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream
115 grams dark chocolate, finely chopped (bittersweet will work as well)

sea salt, for garnish

Directions

To prepare the crust, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.  In the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolks and the vanilla. Once incorporated, mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.  Remove the dough from the mixer, and transfer to a fluted 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Gently and evenly, press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan (using a small measuring cup or drinking glass to press the dough into the pan helps ensure it's even).  Refrigerate the tart shell for 30 minutes.  


About ten minutes before taking out the tart from the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and position a rack in the middle of the oven.  After 30 minutes have passed, remove the tart shell from the refrigerator, and prick the tart all over with a fork, and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes***.  Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack, and allow it to cool completely.

To make the caramel sauce, in a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water, and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Without stirring, heat the sugar mixture until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reaches about 340 degrees F.  The syrup should be a rich amber in color.  Once the caramel has reached the 340 degrees F, remove from the heat, and whisk in the butter and cream (the mixture will begin to bubble up immediately, so be careful as you stir!).  Pour the caramel into the cooled tart shell, and allow it to cool slightly, then place the tart shell into the refrigerator until the caramel has hardened, about three hours.   


To prepare the ganache, heat the heavy cream until it is almost boiling in a small saucepan.  Place the finely chopped chocolate in a medium bowl, and pour the hot cream over the chocolate.  Allow it to sit for a moment, and then slowly stir with a rubber spatula until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.  Pour the ganache evenly over the tart, and spread evenly over the caramel with a small offset spatula.  Refrigerate the tart until the ganache has set, about two hours.  Sprinkle the tart with sea salt, slice, and serve chilled.  Enjoy!





***blind-baking the crust (?)- ok, so maybe I lied.  There was one other issue I had with the tart aside from the caramel oozing out from the middle.  I found that even though I had pricked the tart shell all over with a fork before baking, it sort of inflated and ballooned upwards.  The crust fell slightly as it cooled, and ended up not being a very big deal (you couldn't even tell once the caramel and ganache were layered on top), but I think that the next time I make this, I might want to try blind baking the tart shell.  To blind bake the tart shell, simply follow the instructions for shaping the tart, place a large circle of parchment paper over the uncooked tart shell, and then fill the tart pan with pie weights or dried beans, and then bake as normal, removing the weights or beans about halfway through the cooking time.  Whatever method you decide to try, the tart is still delicious!
Makes 1 9-inch tart

2 comments:

  1. My word. This looks divine. And thanks for posting a pic of how the caramel should look on your spoon-I always let mine go too long.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I made sure to include a picture of the caramel, because I always found them helpful when I was first learning to make caramel sauces. Sometimes a picture makes all the difference, even if you're using a candy thermometer!

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