Good morning everybody! I hope you are all sufficiently recovered from any New Year celebrations and are enjoying the start of the new year! Today will be spent taking down all our Christmas decorations at home which is always a sad day – Christmas is my favourite time of year and I don’t quite think I’m ready to get back in to the swing of work and no festive foods just yet!
Anyway, on to my first recipe of the year which, unfortunately, is not the healthiest. If you’re anything like me you will be trying (and probably failing) to start the year on a slightly healthier note than that of the festive period. I have eaten my body weight in chocolate, cheese & mince pies over the last month and this tart was my last indulgence before heading back to London next week, so I’m trying not to feel too guilty about it, everything in moderation and all that!
The salted caramel that I used was made a few weeks ago by my dad, who (I think mistakingly) used dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar in his recipe. This gave the caramel a more treacle-y flavour than I was expecting but it still tasted gorgeous, so that is a variation you may want to try out.
I was a bit disappointed that there was no distinct layers of caramel and chocolate but only from a visual perspective, as this didn’t affect the taste in my opinion; you still got the sweet and saltiness from the caramel alongside the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate, which was definitely needed to balance the otherwise overpowering sweet caramel.
Any leftover caramel can be covered and stored in a jar in the fridge where it will keep for up to two weeks. The tart should keep for up to a week if stored in an airtight container, but it tastes so good it probably won’t stay around that long anyway. Enjoy!
Ingredients (Serves 10-12)
For the pastry:
180g Plain Flour
90g Unsalted Butter, cold and cubed
1 Tbsp Icing Sugar
1/2 – 1 Egg, beaten
For the salted caramel:
200g Caster Sugar
90g Unsalted Butter, cubed
120ml Double Cream
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt Flakes
For the chocolate layer:
50g Caster Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
125g Dark Chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
75g Butter, cubed
For the pastry:
Add the flour, butter and icing sugar into a food processor and blitz quickly until the butter starts to form small lumps. Add half of the beaten egg and carry on blitzing for a few seconds or until the mixture is starting to come together. If the pastry still looks a little crumbly after 15-20 seconds then add a little more egg.
Once the pastry has come together to form a smooth dough, take it out of the processor, press into a circular disk about 2cm thick then wrap it in cling film and leave in the fridge for it to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Whilst the pastry is chilling in the fridge, grease a 20cm deep, loose-bottomed tart tin with butter and leave to one side.
When you’re ready to use the pastry, remove it from the fridge and place between two sheets of cling film (this is so much easier than rolling it on a floured surface). Roll the pastry out to a large circle (about 5mm thick) that will line both the base and sides of the tin.
Remove the top layer of cling film and carefully flip the pastry over the tart tin, so it can be gently pressed into the edges of the tin (the bottom layer of cling film should still be attached). Once fitted into the tart tin, cut the excess pastry from the edges of the tin with a sharp knife so it has a neat finish.
Remove the remaining layer of cling film and prick the base all over with a fork before chilling the pastry again in the fridge for 30 minutes, or 10 minutes in the freezer.
Whilst the pastry case is in the fridge or freezer, preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
Once the chilling time has passed, remove the pastry from the fridge/freezer and line with foil, leaving at least an inch overhang over the sides. Fill the tin with baking beans (rice also does the trick, and can be re used) and place in the oven to bake blind for 20 minutes, until the pastry base is dry.
Remove from the oven and take out the baking beans and foil, before baking in the oven for another 3-5 minutes until the pastry is lightly golden. Now remove from the oven and leave to one side.
For the caramel:
Add the sugar to a medium sized heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over a medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
Once all the sugar has melted to a thick amber coloured liquid, add the butter immediately and stir into the caramel until it is completely melted. (The caramel will bubble when you add the butter so be careful not to burn yourself here)
Once the butter has melted into the caramel, slowly drizzle in the cream. Allow the mixture to bubble and boil for 1 minute before removing from the heat and stirring in the sea salt.
Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes to thicken whilst you prepare the chocolate layer.
For the chocolate layer:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, egg & egg yolk together until it is thick and creamy in colour.
Add the chocolate and butter to a heat proof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Leave these to melt together, stirring occasionally so you have a smooth mixture. Once melted, leave to cool for a 2 minutes.
Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the sugar and egg mixture and whisk until it is smooth and glossy.
Spread the thickened caramel over the cooled pastry base and level off with the back of a dessert spoon. Spoon the chocolate mixture on top of the caramel, again using a dessert spoon to give it a nice smooth and even surface.
Place the tart in the centre of the oven and bake for around 20-25 minutes until it is almost set but still has a slight wobble to it.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for at least 45 minutes before removing from the tin and serving with a good scoop of ice cream on the side, delicious!