Sunday, July 28, 2013

DB: Chocolate and Caramel Tart

In a "celebration" of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we'd like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

And boy was it a big challenge.  There are so many previous challenges that I've "bookmarked" in my little noggin that I wanted to re-visit for one reason or another, but to this day still haven't go back and try them again.  Well, this month we were given that opportunity for the challenge.  Even after all the notes I made and recipes I saved this month was still particularly difficult to figure out what I wanted to make.

After much debate, I ended up settling on a recent challenge.  Not because I had failed or didn't like the outcome, but because it was fresh on my mind and I had difficulty choosing which particular recipe to make that month.  So this month I decided to revisit the pie challenge and make the chocolate and caramel tart.  That recipe jumped out at me when I saw it initially, but the "Crack Pie" won in the end and I ended up making that recipe for the June challenge.

The Crack Pie was delicious and indeed addicting, but this tart was just as delicious.  This was a tart, rather than a pie and this one involved chocolate whereas the other one did not.  The pastry was perfectly buttery and flaky and baked to perfection.  The filling, oh my, the filling.  A smooth, creamy layer of rich, golden caramel topped by a decadent and rich layer of dark chocolate mousse.  Oh my.  This combination of flavors was absolutely unbeatable.  Each bite was amazing and a little bite of heaven in my mouth.

There were a few different steps, none of which were too difficult, just a matter of waiting for the elements to cool before combining.  But oh, were all these steps worth it.  This tart may look simple but, the simplicity of the looks are made up for by the delicious caramel and chocolate filling.  Top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and you've got a dessert that will please any and everyone.

Chocolate and Caramel Tart


For the pastry-
1 Large egg yolk
5 Tbsp granulated sugar
 1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt
9 Tbsp (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) cold butter, diced
3 Tbsp+ 1 Tsp cold water

For the caramel-
7 Tbsp granulated sugar
7 Tbsp heavy cream, heated

For the Chocolate Mousse-
2 Large eggs
7 Tbsp whole milk
1/3 Cup powdered sugar
3/4 Cup + 1Tbsp (13 Tbsp) whole cream
1 Cup + 3 Tbsp dark chocolate, broken into pieces


For the pastry-

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly spray a 9 inch (removable bottom) tart pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Combine egg yolk and sugar in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Add one teaspoon of water and whisk until fluffy and pale in color.  Set aside.

On a clean work surface, or in a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt.  Add the diced, cold butter and cut into mixture until combined, the texture to resemble bread crumbs.  Continue the process until the texture resembles sand.
it resembles breadcrumbs. Keep repeating the operation until it has the consistency of sand.

Gather the flour mixture into a mound and make a well in the center.  Pour the egg mixture and remaining water into the prepared well.  Using fingertips, incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix until just incorporated but do not overwork. 

Gently gather the dough and roll into a ball.  If the mixture stays together then it's moist enough, if it doesn't stay together, add more water a little at a time until the mixture stays together.

Using the palm of your hand, gently press the mixture away from you on the clean work surface.  Gather the mixture up and repeat.  This process, similar to kneading, will help develop the gluten.  The ball of dough shouldn't spring back when pressed.

Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll the dough into a circle that's about 3 mm thick.  Gently place the dough in the pan and lightly press along bottoms and sides of the pan.  Using a fork, gently prick all over the bottom. 

Place parchment paper over the pie crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Place in oven and bake until set, about 9 minutes.  Remove from the oven and remove pie weights and parchment paper and return to oven for an additional 6 minutes.

Remove from the oven and set aside.  Leave the oven on.   

For the caramel-

Place a heavy-bottom saucepan over low-medium heat and evenly sprinkle sugar across the bottom of the pan.  Stir the sugar until t starts to melt and it starts to become a liquid.  Once about a quarter of the sugar has melted, gently and continuously stir with a wooden spoon until it has developed an amber color.  Do not leave unattended as it will go from amber to burned quickly.

Remove the pan from heat and very carefully and slowly pour the hot cream into the mixture.  During this process stir continuously.  Keep stirring until the bubbling has stopped and the ingredients are well incorporated.  Set aside and allow to cool. 

For the chocolate-

Combine eggs and milk in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the powdered sugar and whisk to incorporate. 

Place cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the chocolate bits.  Stir the mixture until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Set aside and allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and stir gently until smooth and creamy. 

To assemble-

Pour the cooled caramel into the cooked tart shell.

Very carefully, and gently, pour the chocolate mousse over the caramel.

Place the tart in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling has set but is still slightly giggly in the center.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. 

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