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February 25, 2008

Chocolate Caramel Tart

I'm not dead, just sick family and late at posting

So this month for our Chocolate Therapy we chose Tarts. Since She likes fruit and I like Caramel we chose different Tart Recipes. Although I plan on making the same tart as she did for a suprise for my Hubby soon. I picked a Caramel Chocolate tart I had seen on many Daring Bakers pages back in Aug 07. I've been wanting to make it since then and now I can say I did. It wasn't too hard or even very time consuming. I did run into a little issue that I'll fix the next time I make it (definatly a repeat)

Chocolate Shortbread Crust
Single 10 inch crust

9 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, room temp
5 Tbs powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C plus 3 Tbs flour
1/4 C Cocoa
1/2 C ground nut (I used Pecans, but macadamia, or almonds would work too)

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy about 1.5 mins. Add the flour and mix until light and fluffy about 2 mins. Gather dough in ball and press into bottom and sids of a 9 or 10 inch tart pan. Cook at 300 for 40-45 mins, let cool before filling. (if cooking more with your pie then cut time in half)

The crust was easy enough. I made a double batch and filled 2 tart pan with a bit of dough to spare. We made a few cookies out of the rest. I was suprised how good it was. I was worried that it needed a bit more sugar. And while a little more sugar would have made it a bit better, it was still quite good.

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart
1 10-inch round tart

half baked shortbread crust
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 tbs corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup butter
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
2 ½ tablespoons flour
1 ¼ cups whipping cream
½ lb dark chocolate

In a sauce pan bring the sugar, water and syrup to a boil over medium high. When the mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring and wait until it turns a golden caramel color. Incorporate the heavy cream and then add butter. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.
Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.
Spread it out in the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Prepare the milk chocolate mousse: beat the whipping cream until stiff. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie, and fold it gently into the whipped cream.
Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.

Here is where I ran into some difficulties. I'm not sure WHAT happened. It might have been the visitors I had in the middle of the crucial step of making the caramel... My caramel never reached the color I wanted, and then started to separarate. I am still kicking myself that I just didn't start over at this faze. I've made caramel enough that I should have known better. In the end it was a sweet sugary jelly type center. That had nice texture, but was missing the cooked caramel flavor that I was going for!!! I turned it down too low since some visitors came by, and I shouldn't have done that.
But over all we all really liked it. It was a great balance between the super thick and crunchy crust, the sweet center and the dark chocolate thick, yet creamy mousse. I am looking forward to trying it again, but cooking the caramel right. I'll update you!
I have one more tart recipe to make for the month, but it will have to wait until March, as there are few days left this month and they are all a bit on the full side.