Wednesday, 29 August 2007
Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart
It's Daring Bakers Challenge time again!!
This is my second month in this group and thus my second official challenge. I must say that it is turning out to be a really interesting group and I'm having a lot of fun.
Only problem is that my weight has gained with all this dessert making. My wife has asked if the DB's can stop issuing dessert challenges.... :)
Anyway, this months challenge was issued by Veronica and Patricia and is really up my alley. I love anything to do with Chocolate and I've also had plenty of experience making Caramel. So when I saw the challenge for this month, I lifted my haughty little nose into the air, gave a snort and did my arrogant rooster shuffle. (it's really quite a sight to behold...!!)
August has been a particularly busy month with most of my weekends taken up. Anyway, I finally decided to do this challenge on the weekend of 18 August. The recipe specifically said that the dough needed to be prepared a day ahead. And so it came to pass (yeah, I love that line) that on the Friday evening after work, I prepared the dough..... and that was when my nose started to angle sharply downwards in humility.
Firstly, I didn't understand why a dough needs to be prepared in advance. Why not just prepare the dough and bake it straight off I asked myself haughtily (while still doing my rooster shuffle)... I even asked around on the DB blog but I didnt read the answer that would provide assistance till after I had made the challenge.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was expecting a thick sort of dough. You know, the sort of dough that you get with ready made Shortcrust pastry. But no! This dough was like cookie dough - in fact even a little like cake dough. To complicate matters, the shortcrust recipe was for 3 tarts and so I halved it. It was just so soft and mushy I figured I HAD to have done something wrong. The rooster has just left the building....
I contemplated adding some flour to the dough but I thought I'd just stick to the recipe and have some faith. So I worked the dough into a ball and chucked it into the fridge.
The next morning I woke early since I couldn't sleep thinking about the tart - she was mystically beautiful with pouted lips and seductively swaying hips - Oh sorry, I meant the Chocolate Caramel Tart! Hehehehehehe. :)
So while everyone was asleep, I took the dough out of the fridge and found it had hardened. I rolled half of it out and lined the fluted flan pan that I had decided to use. This was another 'headache' for me. I realised that the pan would probably be too thin for the tart but at the same time, I wanted something that looked nice. I didn't fancy making it in a springform pan or a square pan either so I chose the fluted flan pan. (I actually also like the sound of that - fluted flan pan - reminds me of a fancy Peter Pan kind of thing, but I digress)
The pan lined well and I docked the dough all over before covering it with greaseproof paper and filling it with red beans to bake it blind. I shoved it in the oven to bake and then took it out after the required time. I hastily poured out the red beans and then peeled of the baking paper. The crust was lovely! The rooster was back!
While the crust was cooling, I made the caramel. I used my trusted method of just adding a few spoons of water to the sugar and then boiling it till it caramelised. The recipe said that the caramel should be made by the Dry Method but Veron had allowed this to be deviated. I added the cream after letting the caramel cool a little. This caused the caramel to harden a little but I had expected this. A little stirring over heat and everything combined nicely again. I then added the eggs and flour. No problems there.
It was time to fill the pan and it was then that I realised that I would have a lot of caramel left over. Even after filling the flan pan half full, there was still a fair amount of caramel left over.
Next step was to bake the caramel-egg mixture and again this was no problem. I baked it for about 20 minutes - slightly longer than the recipe stated - on the advice of other DBs who had said it didnt really set.
While the tart was baking, I made the mousse, again with little problem. One thing I would do differently if I make this again, would be to chill the caramel filled tart before covering with the mousse to allow the caramel to set up properly rather than just cooling it. When I tried to put the mousse on, the caramel layer was still a little soft and started to break a little when I spread the mousse over it. So... I decided to pipe the mousse on and then smoothen it out.
With lots of caramel left over as well as mousse, not to mention shortcrust dough, I decided to make mini tarts. These turned out rather well too!
Finally, to finish off the dough, I made shortcrust cookies.
Taste wise it was a little sweet but still very delicious. Some of the DBs had commented that the cinammon in the crust was a tad overpowering so I reduced it a little. I found that I like the slight cinammon aftertaste that it created. The melding of Chocolate and Caramel flavours was wonderful and combined nicely with the nutty crust. I think I got my layers right even though they may have been slightly on the thin side. I think any thicker and the dessert would be cloying.
The wife and kids loved the dessert although they too felt that it was a little sweet and would be much, much better with Dark chocolate rather than milk. I tend to agree. This however didnt deter them from finishing off half the tart after dinner!
Just look at my two darlings stuffing their faces on their Second Serving of Chocolate Tart - too immersed in eating to even smile!
All in all, yet another very satisfying Daring Bakers challenge. Check out the rest of the Daring Bakers and more information about the group at .
The Daring Bakers Blogroll
This is the recipe that was given to us and in the spirit of the Daring Bakers, we HAD to follow:
Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart (by Eric Kayser)
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration time: 1 hour
One 9-inch(24-cm) square pan; 1 10-inch (26-cm) round baking pan
½ lb (250 g) chocolate shortbread pastry (see recipe below)
1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 g) heavy cream (30-40 percent butterfat) or crème fraiche
¼ cup (50 g) butter
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) flour
1 ¼ cups (300 g) whipping cream
½ lb (250 g) milk chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).
2. Line the baking pan with the chocolate shortbread pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes.
3. In a saucepan, caramelize 1 cup (200 g) 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.
4. In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.
5. Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.
6. Spread it out in the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
7. 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.
8. Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.
To decorate: melt ½ cup (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.
Chocolate Shortbread Pastry
Preparation time: 10 minutes
To make 3 tarts, 9 ½ inches (24 cm) square
or 10 inches (26 cm round)
1 cup (250g ) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 g) confectioners’ sugar
½ cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts
2 level teaspoons (5 g) ground cinnamon
4 ½ cups (400 g) cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons (10 g) cocoa powder
A day ahead
1. In a mixing bowl of a food processor, cream the butter.
2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, the ground hazelnuts, and the cinnamon, and mix together
3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing constantly
4. Sift in the flour, the baking powder, and the cocoa powder, and mix well.
5. Form a ball with the dough, cover in plastic wrap, and chill overnight.