Chocolate and caramel – a match made in heaven. That’s what I thought when Veron showed me this recipe – she was the host of this month’s challenge and asked me to be her partner in crime – thanks, sweetie! :)
We exchanged emails with many suggestions for the challenge but truth be told, who can resist this tart? I couldn’t, and didn’t.
The tart is delicious, but not as rich as I thought it would be – the chocolate topping is very light and smooth. The caramel fragments add a delicious crunch to it and the shortbread base is so delicious I have been thinking of using baking the amount left on my freezer as cookies.
I halved the entire recipe and got a 24cm round pie, with only a handful of pastry left.
There’s also some info I need to share: I ended up using the metric system to measure some ingredients and cup/tablespoon/teaspoon to measure others because some of the measurements were a bit confusing in my opinion – for instance, I weighed 2 ½ tablespoons flour and got more than 15g.
You’ll need to chill the pastry overnight, so plan accordingly.
Don’t forget to check the other Daring Bakers’ tarts – there’s a link to the complete list on my side bar.
Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart
Chocolate Shortbread Pastry:*
250g unsalted butter, softened
150g confectioners’ sugar
50g ground hazelnuts
2 level teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 ½ cups cake flour**
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
A day ahead:
In a mixing bowl of a food processor – I used my brand new Kitchen Aid, with the paddle attachment, yay!!! - cream the butter.
Add the confectioners’ sugar, the ground hazelnuts, and the cinnamon, and mix together
Add the eggs, one by one, mixing constantly; sift in the flour, the baking powder, and the cocoa powder, and mix well.
Form a ball with the dough, cover in plastic wrap, and chill overnight – take it out of the refrigerator a while before rolling it out, otherwise it will be too hard.
Caramel filling / chocolate mousse topping:
250g (½ lb) chocolate shortbread pastry (see recipe above)
300g granulated sugar
250g heavy cream (30-40 percent butterfat) or crème fraiche – I used 25% cream, which is the one available here in Brazil
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
2 ½ tablespoons flour
1 ¼ cups whipping cream
250g (½ lb) milk chocolate
Preheat oven to 160ºC/325ºF.
Line the baking pan with the chocolate shortbread pastry (roll it between plastic pieces and it will be a lot easier) and bake blind for 15 minutes.
In a saucepan, caramelize 200g granulated sugar using the dry method until it turns a golden caramel color. Incorporate the heavy cream or crème fraiche and then add butter. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.
Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.
Spread it out in the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes (I baked for 20). Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Prepare the milk chocolate mousse: beat the whipping cream until stiff. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie, and fold it gently into the whipped cream – I set the chocolate aside for a couple of minutes to cool because adding the warm chocolate to the whipped cream did not seem right to me.
Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.
Alternate Caramel Method:
If you have problems with the dry method, you may use this method.
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
Set mixture in a pot over medium-high heat and stir slowly. When the mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring and leave it alone. Wait till desired color is attained.
Proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Melt 100g granulated sugar in a saucepan until it reaches an amber color. Pour it onto waxed paper laid out on a flat surface. Leave to cool. Break it into small fragments and stick them lightly into the top of the tart.
Makes: One 22.5cm (9in) square or one 25cm (10in) round tart
* chocolate shortbread pastry can make 3 tart shells
** there’s no cake flour here in Brazil, so I used a substitute I found on the web: 1 cup cake flour = 7/8 cup all purpose flour + 2 tablespoons corn starch