I found this recipe from the restaurant Marlow & Sons, Brooklyn, in a recent issue of Saveur, and thought it would be the perfect ending to my friend Scott’s birthday dinner. Right again! (Just can’t stand myself….) We had Arugula, Pear, Roquefort, and Sugared-Cashews Salad, The Best Coq au Vin, a fantastic BV Georges LaTour from 2004…and ended the evening with this tart. It was t like eating a giant piece of a really good chocolate-covered caramel on—better yet!—a really rich chocolate crust, so you’ve got three gorgeous textures going. You know how you never get enough of those chocolate caramels in the box? Well, this will do ya!
There was one little problem: I have never been able to make caramel successfully, and that goes for the hundred caramel lady apples I tried to make with Emma one holiday season for all of her teachers. We finally had to go to the store, buy the candies courtesy of Kraft and unwrap for hours to get enough for all the little apples. So, this time I tried again…and failed. Then, I tried again…and failed. The third time (that was my limit, and I’d already sent Bruce back to the grocery store for more heavy cream so it was his limit, too), I disregarded the candy thermometer altogether, and simply boiled away until the mixture looked like it was going to explode, but do so as the color of caramel. It actually worked! I am so proud of myself I’m going to submit this to the Cake Collection at http://www.familyfriendlyfood.com/.
Also, I only had an 11 1/2-inch tart pan, so I halved again the recipe and that worked, too.
If you’re a chocolate and/or caramel person, I promise this won’t disappoint.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 1 T Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 t. kosher salt
10 T unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1/2 cup plus 2 T confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 T light corn syrup
1/4 t. kosher salt
6 T unsalted butter
6 T heavy cream
1 T creme fraiche
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Gray sea salt for garnish, optional (personally, I don’t like to mix sweet and salty… so I omitted)
Make the crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until mixture is pale and fluffy; mix in yolks and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients. Transfer dough to a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press dough evenly into the bottom and sides of pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.
Make the caramel: In a 1-quart saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 6 tablespoons water, and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 365 degrees. NOTE: I did this twice to no avail. Then, third try…I just boiled away until the mixture turned a light golden brown; that was the charm. Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, cream and creme fraiche (the mixture will bubble up) until smooth. Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate until firm, 4 to 5 hours.
Make the ganache: Bring cream to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream; let sit for 1 minute, then stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour ganache evenly over tart and refrigerate until set, 4 to 5 hours. Sprinkle tart with sea salt, if desired, slice, and serve chilled.