And again, Dorie Greenspan’s book makes an appearance…
I sifted through the pages of Greenspan’s book searching for the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving this year. I did made an apple pie (with a pretty green new dish I recently purchased), and brought along some ginger spice cookies, but I also wanted something chocolaty that I’ve never made before.
It was like love at first sight. The Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart. The picture in the book looked like I should take a fork to the page and eat the entire thing. So it was settled. I was going to make this tart, with my new pan, from the crust up.
Making the crust isn’t easy. It takes patience, and is worth it. I dedicated an entire post to making the crust alone for first timers like myself. If you’re an experienced crust-maker, you can skip over this post
I wasn’t around when the tart was first cut into, but my family says the caramel layer was very hard, almost too hard to eat. It’s supposed to be eaten at room temperature, which it was, so I found it odd that it was so tough.
However, the next day when I went to have myself a piece, it was fine! It was kept in the fridge and I actually enjoyed it cold. The caramel layer was chewy, but not too hard to eat. The flavors of the chocolate, caramel, and peanuts came together so well, almost like a candy bar. I will definitely make this again.
Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart
Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
For the caramel:
- scant 1/2 c heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar, sifted
- 1 T light corn syrup
- 2 T salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt if you are not using salted butter
For the ganache:
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup plus 2 T heavy cream
- 1/2 stick (4 T) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
- 3/4 c honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 9-inch tart shell, fully baked and cooled
Getting ready:Because you have to work quickly once the sugar caramelizes, you should have all the ingredients for the caramel measured out and at hand before you start. Also have a medium heatproof bowl at hand to hold the hot caramel.
To make the caramel: Bring the heavy cream to a boil.
Meanwhile, put a medium skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat and sprinkle in about 3 T of the sugar. When it melts, stir it with a wooden spatula or a fork and sprinkle over another 3 T. When that sugar is melted, add the remaining 2 T sugar — the sugar in the pan may already have started to color, and that’s fine. Stir in the corn syrup and boil the syrup until it reaches a deep caramel color — it will probably begin to smoke, and that’s normal.
Stand back from the skillet and stir in the butter and salt, if you’re using it. The caramel will bubble furiously and may spatter, so make sure you’re away from the action. When the butter is in, add the warm cream — the caramel will bubble furiously again. Lower the temperature just a tad and let the caramel boil for just 2 minutes. (If you want to check on a thermometer, the caramel should be at 226 degrees F.)
Pour the seething caramel into the heatproof bowl and set it aside while you make the ganache.
To make the ganache: Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and have a whisk or a rubber spatula at hand.
Bring the cream to a boil, then pour half of it over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Working with the whisk or spatula, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at the center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles. Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motion. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don’t stir the ganache any more than you must to blend the ingredients — the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be.
Cover the ganache with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the surface of the chocolate to create an airtight seal. Set aside at room temperature for the moment. (If it’s more convenient, the ganache can be refrigerated or even frozen for future use.)
To assemble the tart: Using a small rubber spatula, stir the peanuts into the caramel. If the caramel has cooled and is too thick to spread easily, gently warm it in a microwave oven using 3-second heat spurts. (Or you can just hold the heatproof bowl about 10 inches above the burner on your range — keep it over the heat for a couple of seconds, then check the caramel’s consistency and repeat if necessary.)
Spread the caramel over the bottom of the tart shell; you’ll have a thin layer. refrigerate the tart for 15 minutes to set the caramel.
Check the ganache. If it has thickened and is no longer pourable, warm it in 3-second spurts in a microwave oven or over direct heat (see the hints for warming caramel, above). Rap the bowl to break any surface bubbles, pour the ganache over the caramel and jiggle the tart pan to even it.
Refrigerate the tart for 30 minutes — no longer — then keep it at room temperature until serving time.