Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Chocolate and Caramel Tarts

Does anyone else dislike condensed milk? Well, I hate it. I can hear my mum now, telling me, "Don't say hate, it's a very strong word". Well, I haaaate it. Sorry if you do like it though. I don't find it disgusting, I just find the milk powdery taste rather...overpowering.  Buuut...I like caramel? Besides there are those recipes that boil a can of condensed milk for about 5 hours, and then have to wait for it to cool so it doesn't explode. I'm making it from scratch. Hey, I think it's likier to fail this way (i.e. crystallisation)...but I like the flavour a lot better and it's faster. I also don't own a candy thermometer and I've always bluffed my way through these recipes...they always work.

By the way, I was searching up pictures of caramel tarts...and I just wanted to say that I don't want to see soft ganache style chocolate and runny caramel. I want a chocolate topping that SNAPS and caramel that is not runny, not chewy/hard but just right. It should provide (I sound kinda formal here?) that slight resistance when you bite into it and teeth marks will be visible and...combine that with the flaky pastry and... I wanna another one.

Also, please excuse some of the photos. The process photos were taken at night with the dodgiest lighting. And the others at... 7am in the morning. Except the one with the bite marks (at about 4pm that same day) because...because the teeth marks looked cool.
1. Cutting the butter into the flour.
2. My caramel wasn't actually that dark. It's just the lighting...although I do prefer it slightly bitter.

3. So. It was waaay prettier than this. Yes, that may possibly be a single chopstick.

4. Chocolate.
5. Caramel that has chilled. Why does it look kinda oily?
6. Shiny, shiny, runny chocolate.

It's a different photo from the one at the top. I promise!
Hard chocolate that snaps and not too soft, not too firm caramel.
They're like caramel slices, but I recently hold a hold of some tart tins. And it looks a lot nicer, albeit a bit more time consuming.

Chocolate and Caramel Tarts
Makes 8 (7.2cm in diameter)

35g cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup +1 tbsp plain flour
pinch of salt
~1 tbsp cold water
**Or use my sweet pie crust recipe, although you would only need a third of it...meaning you'd need 1/3 of an egg.

Caramel Layer:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp water
3 1/2 tbsp double cream
3g butter

Chocolate Layer:
50g dark chocolate, preferably with at least 70% cocoa solids

For the Pastry:
Cut the cold butter into the plain flour and salt, and add 1 tbsp of water. Roughly stir it in until it forms a rough, slightly patchy coloured ball, adding more water if necessary. Chill for around 10-15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Divide into 8 pieces and press it into the tart tins (7.2cm in diameter). Prick each base twice with a fork and then bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. If necessary, take them out halfway and squish down the bases. I find that blind-baking is too bothersome for small tarts. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

For the Caramel:
Add the sugar, lemon juice and water into a small saucepan. Melt the sugar over low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the caramel is a dark golden colour, about 10 minutes. Remember to brush down the sides with cold water to get rid of any crystals of sugar as to prevent the caramel from crystallising when it cools later on. Do not stir (which I still sometimes do, because I get booored). Heat the double cream for about 20 seconds in the microwave and then add it with the butter and salt to the caramel. **Be careful, the caramel with boil upwards rapidly. Boil on a high heat for another 2-3 minutes, until a drop of caramel in cold water turns into a soft ball (soft ball stage...but I think that just applies to the syrup)

Cool for about 3 minutes and then pour into the bases evenly, roughly about 1 tablespoon each. Chill until completely cool.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in about 20 second intervals or less to prevent overheating. Alternatively, use a double broiler (but c'mon, how much chocolate are we working with here?) Spoon roughly 1 teaspoon over the caramel. Tap each tart a few times to evenly distribute the chocolate. Chill again until the chocolate has set.

Remove from the moulds and serve.

1 comment:

  1. omg u ALWAYS make them so mouth watering, i must taste them when i come back!!! lol i read u plane letter when i got off the plane and it is um quite comprehensible...wat's GNO?


So what do you think?