Sunday, 11 March 2012

Salted caramel chocolate tart

The adult version of the Twix. Ah... Twix. I can never get enough of it. Heck with the Snickers and Mars bars. Nothing beats a Twix. It always comes in a pair which mean double the delight for the same price. That chocolate/caramel/biscuit combo can never go wrong. I am a sucker for chocolate coated biscuits. Chocolate fingers? Love it. Chocolate Digestives? MMmmm... 

 These days, whenever I rip apart the wrapper and take that first bite, I get flashbacks of my early army days... Every Sunday night, I'll be at the bus interchange along with my platoon mates waiting to board the bus that would take us to the ferry terminal. It is the last moment of being in a civilian world. A world where the commanders can never do anything to us recruits. Knowing that I'll be suffering for the next 6 days, I take comfort in my bar of Twix which I would munch on just before we board the bus. And this happened every Sunday for 3 months. Ah.. good times indeed. 

For this tart, I chose to use Pierre Herme's sweet tart dough recipe instead. It is by far my favourite tart base recipe and I'll be blogging about it next. I've also used the sea salt which I made from the seas of South Australia. Here's the link to my adventure of making sea salt. If I had to make this tart again, I would definitely use milk chocolate instead of dark. I felt that the dark chocolate ganache overpowered the caramel. So try using a chocolate that has less than 70% cocoa solid. 

Chocolate Caramel Tart with Sea Salt by Anita
Makes one 9-in tart or six 3 1/2-in tartlets


Pâte Sablée (Sweet tart dough)
140g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
240g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

115g heavy cream
200g sugar
pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Ganache
340g bittersweet (60%-66%) chocolate, coarsely chopped
460g heavy cream


For the pâte sablée: 
Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer. Add eggs and mix just until incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix on low just until incorporated. Scrape out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disk. Wrap fully and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Flour work surface and roll out dough to 1/4″ thick. Lay into a 9″ tart pan or tart rings of your choosing and trim excess dough with a knife. Refrigerate for an hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line tart shell with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes (check earlier if you are baking individual tarts), turning halfway through. Remove foil and weight and bake for 10 more minutes (individual tarts may not need additional baking time). Tart shells should be lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool fully on wire rack before filling.

For the caramel: 
Place cream in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Set aside while you cook the sugar. Combine sugar with 5 tablespoons of water in a heavy saucepan. Cook over high heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to boil and cook without stirring for about 4 minutes until it turns dark amber. Swirl to ensure it cooks evenly.

Take mixture off stove and pour cream slowly into the sugar (it will boil up so don’t pour in all at once.) Stir until incorporated and smooth. Add in salt. If caramel has cooled too much and become thick, place over heat and warm until it is liquid enough to pour.

Pour the caramel into the tart shell, covering the bottom evenly. Let cool until it firms and is no longer shiny. You can place the tart shell in the refrigerator to speed up the process.

For the ganache: 
Place chocolate and salt in a heatproof bowl. Place cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat on the stove. Pour cream over the chocolate and let sit for a few minutes. Then whisk slowly and gently to combine. Do not stir too vigorously as this incorporates air into the ganache and gives it a less smooth and velvety texture.

Pour the ganache into the tart shell over the caramel. Let set at room temperature for at least 3 hours or up to 12 hours. (If you place the tart with warm ganache into the refrigerator, the ganache can cool too fast and end up cracking – unsightly but still edible, of course).

Sprinkle with sea salt before serving.

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