Monday, December 29, 2008

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart

Normally I wouldn't post or even make a 4-part recipe because of my basic laziness and lack of patience, but this one for a Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart was so good I thought I should share.  This recipe comes from the Cacao Crazy class, my usual partner in crime, Michelle from The Accidental Scientist, and I took through Kapiolani Community College's culinary program a couple weeks ago. The funny thing was, for some reason both Michelle and I thought we were going to taste and learn about chocolate in this class, not cook with it, but cook we did.  Along with this recipe we also made a Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding stuffed in a Kabocha pumpkin and tried some spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate.  The class was given by Chef and Chocolatier, Melanie Boudar, who recently opened a chocolate store in Kailua: Sweet Paradise Chocolatier.  (I just may need to have a field trip over there to sample soon).  

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart
Melanie Boudar, Sweet Paradise Chocolatier
Serves 6

Sweet Pastry
3/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp almond flour (or substitute any nut flour)
2 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
pinch salt
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and sliced
1 large egg yolk beaten with 2 Tbsp ice water (may not use all--don't get dough too moist)

Mix the flour, almond flour, confectioner's sugar and salt in food processor. Pulse the butter into the flour mixture.  Gradually add egg until dough is moist but not too moist.  Gather into ball and flatten on plastic wrap, chill for 2-12 hours.

Roll dough onto lightly floured surface to 1/8" thickness and line a 9" tart pan with removable bottom.  

Prick with fork and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place tart on baking sheet.  Line with parchment and weight with pie weights, rocks or beans.  Bake 10-12 minutes until dough is set.  Lift off paper and set aside.  Bake until golden brown, about 12 more minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  

Salted Caramel Cream
1 tsp powdered gelatin
1 Tbsp water
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1/8 tsp sea salt (Fluer de Sel)

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a custard cup and let stand 5 minutes. Bring the cream to a boil and set aside. Put the sugar in a separate, tall saucepan without any liquid and cook over high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until melted and dark caramel in color.  

Carefully whisk in the hot cream (it will boil up) and cook until caramel is dissolved.  Whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and whisk in the caramel mixture, tempering the eggs slowly first with some of the caramel).  Return to the saucepan and add the soaked gelatin. Stir over low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 4-5 minutes).  Remove from the heat and stir in butter and sea salt.  Strain through a wire sieve into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it begins to set. Spread in baked pastry shell and refrigerate until fully set.

Dark Chocolate Whipped Cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled until tepid

Whip the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Whisk 1/3 into the tepid chocolate until smooth.  Fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Nut Brittle 
1/2 cup sugar
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter sliced thin
3/4 cup toasted, peeled nuts coarsely chopped  (almonds, peanuts, mac nuts, etc.)
pinch salt

Lightly oil a metal spatula and rimmed baking sheet on a heatproof surface. Cook sugar and butter in saucepan over high heat, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer read 310 degrees F., about 10 minutes.  Add the nuts and salt and swirl in pan to mix.  Pour onto baking sheet and spread thinly with spatula.  Cool completely and break into pieces.

To assemble tart:
Spread Salted Caramel Creme evenly in baked pastry shell.  Cover evenly with a layer of Dark Chocolate Whipped Cream and garnish by dotting the surface of the tart with small shards of Nut Brittle.  You can also drizzle melted dark chocolate over the top before serving.

Notes/Results:  As usual, Michelle was the perfect cooking partner. She willingly took on the shell, I did the salted caramel cream (which was easier and less scary than I thought it would be) and we assembled our tart together. The instructor and her helpers demonstrated the whipped cream and the nut brittle and made enough for all of us to use.  We each ended up with half a tart to take home.  I garnished mine with some drizzled melted dark chocolate on top.  Delicious!  It met my sweet salty needs perfectly. I think I would have been just as happy without the whipped cream but it was tasty and added a nice fluffy texture and more chocolate flavor to the tart.  I  think even being NOT A BAKER!, I would maybe buy a tart pan and attempt this at home sometime.  

Sweet Paradise Chocolatier
20-A Kainehe St.
Kailua. HI
Wed-Sat 11-6


  1. I love the idea of fleur de sel and sweets together. Looks awesome, you have all the fun!

  2. What a fantastic class. What an incredible dessert! You make it seem so easy, I just might have to give that a try. My mom loves caramel, so this would be a dream dessert for her. Amazing!

  3. two flavors I love...I will make note of this chocolate shop also, next time I'm home, I'm checking it out :)

  4. Wohow, super decadent, but therefore worth a try..

  5. Sounds like a fun class and you DEFINITELY need a field trip to the new chocolate shop. Your tart looks perfect!

  6. Hey! Those are my hands! I'm famous! This was fun with you, as usual, you are my favorite cooking partner and foodie-partner-in-crime. I think we need a field trip: buy you a tart pan, go taste some chocolate, and then maybe a walk on the beach? (the beach to add a "healthy" component to the whole thing?!) Maybe we can go walk by Obama's place?! xoxo

  7. Taste, learn, AND cook with chocolate? Sounds like a nice bonus if you ask me :)


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