Good morning everyone, hope you’re good! Still haven’t done anything exciting as of late so I really have nothing to blog about. I can’t wait until I can drive T_T. I’ve been going through my camera and folders lately looking for old photos to scrapbook and I came across some photos I took of some baking I did a couple of months ago, so I decided why not share it with you guys? Cooking/baking is one of my New Year’s Resolutions so whenever I manage to cook something up, I do feel a sense of achievement and I love looking for easy or really delicious recipes to try and share!So today I’m going to be sharing with you this recipe to make a Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart! As you guys probably know by now, I really love salted caramel and this just looked too good not to try! I’m not professional baker, so even though I did get this recipe from Home Cooking Adventure (find the original recipe here) and followed it as closely as I could, I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to know exactly what the process was like from a complete and utter kitchen noob (plus this is a US recipe so I’ll share with you what I used and where I got it from if you’re from the UK).
Almond Tart Base:
- 160g plain flour
- 30g ground almonds – Tesco
- 30g unsweetened cocoa powder – Tesco (I used Green & Blacks Organic cocoa)
- 50g sugar (normal granulated sugar is fine)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 110g cold unsalted butter – Tesco
- 1 tsp vanilla extract – Tesco
- 1 egg (I always use free range)
- 1-2 tbsp chilled water
- 300g sugar (normal granulated sugar is fine)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup (roughly 120ml) double cream (heavy cream is American) – Tesco
- 70g unsalted butter – Tesco
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (roughly 120ml) double cream – Tesco
- 120g bittersweet (plain/dark) chocolate – Tesco
- Sea salt crystals
It seems like a lot but actually it wasn’t all that expensive, I think the equipment you might need is more expensive than all the ingredients so it might be wise to make sure you have the right equipment for the job!
Let’s get started!1. First step is to mix all of the dry ingredients together for the base – super easy! Simply put the flour, cocoa powder, ground almonds, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix together.2. Add the butter to the mix and use a fork to create a crumb-like mixture by pressing it into the flour mix, you don’t want the butter to melt into the mix so it needs to be cold. You can use a processor if you have one and I’d highly recommend this because it took me a long time to get it to this stage and I still wasn’t sure if I had done it correctly lol (your arm will hurt after a while too).3. Next add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix to create the dough. You’ll notice that there isn’t quite enough liquid to get the dough to hold together so this is where the chilled water comes in. I think I added a little too much, so I’d start off by adding 1 tbsp and then see if you need anymore because as you can see from the photo, my dough was quite moist and it ended up being sticky which made it difficult to play with later.4. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead to ensure that all of the ingredients have mixed. Wrap in cling film and flatten into a fat disc before popping it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes; since mine was a little sticky, I think I left it in the fridge for just over an hour before taking it out.5. Silly me totally forgot to take photos of the next couple of steps =_= sorry! After the dough had been in the fridge for some time, I took it out and rolled it out so it was about 1.5cm thick and slightly bigger than my tart pan before pressing it in. This is where the stickiness was a pain because even with the flour on the surface, the dough was still sticky and kept sticking to my fingers and I had to do a lot of stretching and remoulding to ensure the dough covered the tart pan properly. I used a silicone tart pan that you can easily find on eBay and you shouldn’t have to grease it because that’s the whole point of it being silicone, at least I didn’t have any problems. Then you have to put it back in the fridge for a further 30 minutes.
6. After it has been refrigerated, prick the dough several times with a fork. Take some baking paper and line it on the base, then use some baking beans/ceramic baking beads and completely cover the base before putting it in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at gas mark 4 (180C). Take out of the oven and be careful as everything will be hot, especially the beads! Remove the weights and put back in the oven for 10-15 minutes before finally removing and allowing to cool, it will look as above! At this point it says to remove it from the pan once cool but I found that my case was starting to crack!!! Not sure if it is because I didn’t give it long enough to cool or because I didn’t trim the pastry down and left an ‘edge’ to it but there was no way it was coming out without breaking O_O so I left it in the case and it was fine (also made it easier for me as I was transporting it to my sister’s the next day).7. Next step is the caramel and this is the really tricky part! Unfortunately I only have two photos of this process simply because it happens so fast and you really have to watch it or it will burn!! So take a reasonable-sized pan, and add the sugar and water over a medium-high heat and allow it to cook until it turns a caramel-colour – DO NOT STIR IT. Personally I kept it on a medium heat as I didn’t want to risk burning it since I couldn’t stir it away from the edges and although it took a little longer, nothing went wrong with it! I watched it like an absolute hawk because if I burned the pan then my dad would kill me…8. Once it has turned a caramel colour you need to remove it from the heat and add the cream, it says it will bubble a bit but I found it frothed quite a lot! Don’t worry though, it will settle down! Put it back on the heat for a further 1-2 minutes and stir it constantly until smooth. Remove it from the heat again and add the butter and salt, stirring until it has all mixed in.9. Allow the caramel to cool slightly before pouring it into the crust, then refrigerate for 4-5 hours.
10. Again, I completely forgot to document the next step for the chocolate ganache but this is probably the easiest bit! Simply heat the cream in a pan until it starts to boil at the edges then pour over the chocolate, let sit for a moment and then stir until smooth. Done!11. (I apologise for this photo, it looks far from appetising but it had just come out of the fridge). Pour the ganache on top of the caramel and then refrigerate for a further 2-3 hours.
12. Sprinkle with sea salt crystals before serving!
Honestly? I was disappointed with this recipe BUT everyone else thoroughly enjoyed it! This is probably to do with the products I used; I think maybe I should’ve used a slightly sweeter cocoa powder because the pastry wasn’t very sweet and despite having the caramel and chocolate on top, it wasn’t sweet enough for me.
I also noticed that the caramel wasn’t salty enough for me! Some might think it fine but to me it just tasted like normal caramel, so I think perhaps adding a little more salt to the caramel will really allow that salted caramel flavour to stand out (how many times can one say caramel in a sentence??).
The base was breaking when I tried to remove it from the case and this might be to do with the edge that I left on the base as in the video she completely cuts this off, so the extra pastry might’ve had too much weight on it for it to be removed easily but since I was travelling it wasn’t a bad idea to leave it in the case and when I removed it fully, it was perfectly fine.
Lastly I would remove the dessert from the fridge some hours before serving so that it can soften drastically. In the photo above it had just been removed from the fridge having spent the night in there, and I needed to add the garnish before leaving for my sister’s however the ganache was too hard for the crystals to sit on top! I actually had to get a lighter to make the ganache slightly moist for the crystals to stick to something (hence why there is a very obvious moist-looking area in the middle).
When it had been allowed to warm to room temperature, the chocolate went back to looking like chocolate and was pleasantly soft. Also it makes cutting and eating A LOT easier if you get it out beforehand. My sister got it out right before serving ¬_¬ so the caramel was incredibly chewy and the ganache was not as soft as it should’ve been, so be aware of that!
Anyway that’s it for this tutorial/review! I hope you enjoyed it and that my noob comments might help anyone attempting to make it for the first time! Everyone else really enjoyed it, especially when it had warmed to room temperature (my sister got back to me on her second piece and exclaimed that it was SO much better). I think if the sugar to salt ratio had been balanced a little more with regards to the pastry and caramel then I might’ve enjoyed it a little more but hey, everyone else loved it and I can always try again in the future with some subtle changes!
Thanks for reading, until next time~♥