Monday, 19 July 2010

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart

As my uni friends were coming to stay for a few days, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to bake some serious nom. I hadn't attempted this recipe before for two reasons: no way on earth would anyone in my family eat this (they're too asian and anti-chocolate), thus leaving me with 14 people's worth of tart to eat myself (not good); and that I had to make caramel from scratch. But there's a first time for everything.

I have to warn you now though, to cut them into slices BEFORE serving/eating them. They are rich, but deliciously mooreish. The chocolate ganache isn't overpoweringly sweet so that the caramel taste really comes through, and the bite from the pastry provides some buttery crunch with the melt-in-the-mouth texture of the topping. Beware, after a few days in the fridge, the pastry goes a bit soft, so, uh...don't leave it unfinished for too long....

The recipe called for a 29cm loose-based tart tin but the only tart tin I had was a 23cm glass one, so there was a rather large amount of pastry and ganache left over. Having filled two ramekins with spare mixture, and having ate more than I would like to reveal (most of it out of pure gluttony), there was still a dangerous amount left. So the layer of ganache on my version is slightly more than would be if a bigger tin was used. No complaints from my friends though!

The only thing I would change is the quantity/type of honey used in the ganache. Maybe it was the Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Tasmanian Leatherwood honey that I used (the cheaper blended ones have a less distinctive taste), or maybehoney-cream-chocolate is a taste that I have not yet acquired, but I would have preferred it just chocolate cream ganache. I've put the original recipe anyway, so you can adjust the quantities to your tastes :)


Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart
Recipe from Green & Black's cookbook
Serves 12-14

For the pastry:
350g plain flour
75g icing sugar
125 unsalted butter, cold
2 eggs

For the caramel:
45 glucose syrup (I used golden syrup)
275g sugar
150ml double cream (I used elmea 30% less fat - no difference aside from calories!)
1 level teaspoon rock salt (again, the 30min walk to my nearest supermarket persuaded me to allow table salt)
25g unsalted butter, diced

For the ganache:
400ml double cream
45ml honey
350g dark chocolate (min 60% cocoa solids), chopped
175g unsalted butter, diced

(okay, slight glip, I can't seem to get rid of this ^ picture without my brower crashing, it's meant to come later, but it's stuck here for now. Help?)
Start off making the pastry. G & B's suggested bunging everything into a food processor, but seeing as I didn't own one, I thought that might be slightly tricky. So off I went with the mixing bowl and my own bare hands, sifting the flour and icing sugar in, and rubbing in the butter until the mixture resembled fine breadcrumbs. Add the eggs last and knead until a dough forms. (Smiley face - couldn't resist).

Roll out the pastry and line your tin. If there are any hanging off the sides, leave it for now as the sweet pastry shrinks quite a lot once baked (also, you can just snap it off and eat!). Pop into the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180C.

After long awaited 30 mins fiddling with your thumbs, blind bake the pastry by covering it with greaseproof paper and putting baking beans over it. I used yellow beans because they were in the cupboard, and no one eats them anyway. Cook for 15 minutes. Then take off the beans and paper, and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes or so, until it is golden yellow and the smell makes you salivate (it's a good indicator, really!). Remove and leave to cool whilst you make the filling.

To make the syrup, pour the syrup into a deep saucepan and turn up the heat until it starts to boil. Slowly pour in the sugar, and stir with a wooden spoon until it starts to caramelise and the colour resembles werther's originals (aka golden brown).

In another saucepan, put the cream and salt in and bring to the boil. Remove the caramel from the heat and add in the cream mixture. WARNING: the mixture WILL rise rapidly, and hot caramel BURNS. I had to learn this the hard way. Use a hand blender to mix the mixture over a low heat until smooth. Take off the heat and stir in the butter with aforementioned wooden spoon (or use another one, your washing) before adding to the cooled pastry case.
To make the ganache, put the cream and honey in another saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate (make sure you have a bowl big enough, I always underestimate just how much volume 400ml actually is). G & B's has again suggested mixing from the outside in with a spatula, and I have no idea what this does to it, so I just used my trusty wooden spoon and mixed it around until everything melted. Does the job. Once ever so slightly (and really, ever so slightly) cooled, add the butter.

Don't forget to let the caramel cool a bit before adding the ganache, otherwise the ganache will force the caramel to the sides (as you can see in the picture), and there will be an uneven distribution, which I don't like because it reminds of my statistics course.

Leave to set for 4-6 hours (if you can wait that long!), and serve with cream or whipped cream.

Lesson learned today: hot caramel can burn. Like, alot.


  1. This one looks tasty, but who would I feed it all to? I wonder if one can divide the ingredients by 7 and still get something that works.. Experimentation for smaller families is needed!

  2. I know how you feel, I have a family of three and the other two don't like desserts! But thanks for the idea, I will definitely be blogging about how to turn massive cakes into smaller portions...but for now, enjoy the leftovers!


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