Chocolate-Crunched Caramel TartPosted: January 21, 2010
Well this is my first time attempting tart crust. Not that is it any different from pie crust, it is just that I don’t have the best track record with ANY pastry crusts. So this year I was gonna conquer pastry crusts and WIN! H had a dinner party of some out-of-town co-workers planned, so when I was coming up with the menu for it, I thought of my new tart pan and what I could possibly make to satisfy 6 men. Well, I went straight to Annie’s Eats and found several good options but this recipe jumped out at me. After reading her review and other reviews of the same recipe, I was beginning to get a bit nervous about making it as everyone seemed to have difficulties with the caramel layer either getting rock hard or being way to soft in a tart. So now I was more worried about the caramel than the pastry crust. Sure I could have just scraped the idea of making this, but as you know my NY goal this year is to step out of my comfort zone in the kitchen, so I had to make this dessert. I contacted Annie on a cooking board we both frequent and asked her all kinds of questions about the tart and caramel. Well luckily she had made another tart recently with a better caramel layer that turned out perfectly and suggested I use that recipe. So, I combined the crunch tart with her mousse tart caramel layer and it was perfection! I did follow the crunch tart directions for baking the crust, and then followed the mousse tart for baking the caramel (wasnt too hot of an oven or too long so the crust was fine) and then finished the tart using the crunched tart directions for the ganache. Thanks Annie for all your great help!! This dessert was gobbled up quickly!
Also, I kept it in the fridge until right before serving as it kept the caramel layer soft but not overly soft and runny if I left it out per the directions and the chocolate layer wasnt runny or too soft either. Keeping mine in the fridge help keep it together and cut very well without drying out or getting hard!
Ingredients: (Here is the combined recipe. Go to Annie’s Eats for each recipe individually)
For the tart shell:
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. very cold water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
For the caramel:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
2½ tbsp. flour
For the ganache:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
To make the tart shell, in a small bowl stir together the egg yolk, water and vanilla; set aside. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and beat on low speed just until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. When you are ready to roll out the dough, unwrap it and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out with a floured rolling pin, lifting and turning the dough occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the work surface. Roll it out evenly until it is large enough to line a 9-inch tart pan and is about 1/8-inch thick. Carefully transfer the dough to the tart pan, pressing it into the sides, and trim to remove the excess.
Cover the dough with foil or parchment paper and fill with baking beads.
Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the foil and baking beads and using a fork, gently poke holes in the bottom and sides of the crust. Bake until the crust is golden, 15-20 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
While the crust is baking, make the caramel. Add the sugar to a medium nonstick saucepan or skillet and heat over medium heat, not stirring, until the sugar begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring only occasionally, until the sugar melts completely turns a golden caramel color (test a drop on a white plate to be sure of the color.) Stir in the cream and butter and mix until smooth. (If the sugar seizes up when you add the liquid, just keep cooking and stirring until the hardened sugar melts again. It can take a while.) Set the mixture aside to cool down a bit.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk and flour. Add a small amount of the caramel mixture, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Whisk in the remainder of the caramel mixture. Pour the mixture into the partially baked crust and bake for 15 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the ganache, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and have a whisk or rubber spatula at hand. Bring the cream to a boil, then pour half of it over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Working with the whisk or spatula, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles. Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motion. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don’t stir the ganache any more than you must to blend the ingredients – the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be.
Cover the ganache with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the surface of the chocolate to create an airtight seal. Set aside at room temperature for the moment.
To assemble the tart, stir the peanuts into the caramel using a rubber spatula. Spread the caramel over the bottom of the tart shell in a thin layer. Refrigerate the tart for 15 minutes to set the caramel. (Because the caramel was already in the shell, I pressed the peanuts into the caramel on top. That seemed to work well. Then I went on to the ganache layer).
Check the ganache. If it has thickened and is no longer pourable, warm it in the micro at 3 second spurts until soft enough to pour. Pour the ganache over the caramel and jiggle the tart pan to even it. Refrigerate the tart for 30 minutes but no longer, and then keep it at room temperature until serving time.