I’m a self-confessed caramel addict especially when salted caramel (or caramel salé) is in question. I love it when caramel has been push to its limits, the dark amber coloured, bittersweet heaven, a moment just before it turns into burnt sugar. That bittersweet heaven is brought to the next level with specks of fleur de sel de Guérande.
This tart pays homage to caramel salé. I could have simply made a salted caramel tart and that would have been fantastic. I didn’t want to stop at just that when I can use chocolate. Besides, I don’t believe anyone would disapprove of a chocolate and caramel combination.
The chocolate tart would probably be ordinary without the salted caramel. Rich, dark, smooth goodness – comforting, yes but also a little predictable. With the addition of salted caramel, it cries out for attention.
The soft, slightly chewy, smooth, bittersweet, salty caramel layer cuts through the richness of the double chocolate goodness and adds another dimension to this tart. In this sense, it won’t be far fetched to say that the salted caramel is stealing the limelight from the chocolate tart. Well, almost.
While we are still on the subject of salted caramel, here are some of my older posts and recipes on caramel goodness: (Hopefully to inspire you to hop on the salted caramel bandwagon if you are not already on-board)
Recipe: Salted-caramel dark chocolate tart
Makes a 9 inch fluted tart tin (replace it with mini tart tins)
The next time I make this, I would definitely make mini tartlets instead. I think it makes it look cuter and individual tarts would make it a lot easier to serve and eat. The caramel on this one will hold its shape when cut but not when you leave it out in a warm environment for too long.
Chocolate short pastry
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu recipe
This is a very basic recipe for a chocolate short pastry. It uses icing sugar which makes the dough a little softer and harder to handle but it will reward you with a crumbly tart.
140g Plain flour, sifted
25g Dutch-processed cocoa power, sifted
60g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter, cubed
30g egg yolks (about 1 egg yolk), room temperature
1 tbsp whole milk (add more if needed)
Method: (I use the Rub-in method)
1. Place sifted dry ingredients into a bowl and use a whisk to ensure it’s uniform.
2. Using your fingers, rub in the chopped butter into the dry ingredients until you have a breadcrumb-like mixture.
3. Add in egg yolk and milk and incorporate into mixture. The pastry dough should come together into a ball. Do not overwork the mixture. If the dough still feels slightly dry, you can add in a little more milk.
4. Flatten the dough into a disc and cling wrap it. Put it in the refrigerator to chill and rest for at least 1/2 hour.
5. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until 3mm thick on a floured baking parchment so that it doesn’t stick. Transfer the rolled out pastry dough into your fluted tart tin gently and push the dough against the sides of the tin. The dough is quite soft so do work fast especially if you are doing this in a warm environment.
6. Chill the tart in the refrigerator until firm for about 15 – 20 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Line the unbaked tart with baking parchment and fill it with uncooked rice, beans or baking weights. Blind-bake the tart until it is dry for about 20 minutes.
Dark chocolate filling:
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu recipe
This is a very easy to make filling for a chocolate tart. Baking this filling gives it a firmer texture compared to a chocolate tart made using chocolate ganache but it is equally rich and decadent. And hey, it makes transporting a chocolate tart around a lot easier – no need to worries about keeping it chilled.
200g dark couverture chocolate ( I use 65% cocoa), chopped into small pieces
80ml whole milk
200ml heavy cream (at least 33% fat)
2 whole eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
1. Place the cream and the milk into a small pot and cook it under a low to moderate heat. Stir it once in a while until it comes to a boil. This happens when you see that the liquid start to bubble furiously.
2. Pour this mixture over your chopped couverture chocolate. Stir it gently with a spatula until well-combined. When the chocolate mixture has cooled down slightly (about 35-40dgrees), add in the eggs and whisk until combined. Do not overwhisk the mixture as you do not want to encourage air bubbles from surfacing.
3. Fill the blind-baked tart shell and bake in a preheated oven at 165 degrees celcius. The tart is ready when it is nice and firm. This should take about 30 minutes. Do not allow the chocolate mixture to bubble and boil. Let the tart cool on a cooling rack until your salted caramel filling is ready.
*Tips for chocolate tart filling:
*Ensure that you add in the eggs only after the chocolate mixture has cooled down or you will end up with scrambled eggs.
*Fill the tart shell by pouring the chocolate filling into a measuring jug and then into the tart shell that is already in the oven. This will make your job a whole lot easier as you don’t have to worrying about wobbling around with a liquid filling spilling all over your oven tray
Salted caramel filling:
2 tsp Corn syrup
110ml Heavy cream, warmed up over a stove or microwave
40g butter, cubed
1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1. Make a wet caramel by heating water, sugar, corn syrup. Stir mixture before placing it over heat. Heat sugar mixture over low to moderate heat, brushing the sides of the pot with a wet brush at the start of the cooking process.
2. Swirl the pot once in a while so that the sugar syrup cooks uniformly, and to prevent hot spots from forming. Cook sugar syrup until golden amber in colour.
3. Turn off the heat and pour in the cream in a drizzle, a little at a time. The caramel mixture will start to bubble furiously, just keep stirring the cream in with a wooden spoon. If you pour in the cream all at once, the caramel may bubble over and you may have a huge mess to clean up!
5. Take caramel off the heat and allow it to cool. At this point, do not dip your fingers into the caramel to taste it because it’s VERY hot! Allow it to cool to about 60 degree or so before you start whisking the cubed butter in. When the butter has been incorporated, add in the fleur de sel to taste (1/2 tsp is just a general guide).
*Tips for cooking a caramel: refer to my previous post on Caramel au beurre salé. It may not be the exact same ingredients but the way of cooking the caramel is very similar.
Assembling the tart:
1. Pour the caramel onto the baked chocolate tart. Ensure that the caramel is cool (not higher than body temperature) or it will melt the chocolate tart. Use a small palette knife to even and smooth out the caramel. You can use a toothpick to prick away any air bubbles that have formed on the surface of the caramel.