Every so often I find a recipe that sounds good as I am stumbling through a magazine, the internet or the newspaper. No occasion presents itself, so I stick it in my recipe binder or save it to my hard drive for “later.” Later usually comes in the form of an afternoon with some free time seasoned with a sweet tooth.
Recently, I found a recipe for Chocolate Caramel Tart. I realized that two of the three parts of the recipe are gluten-free and the third seemed easily adaptable, plus, I had a lot of the ingredients on hand.
The original recipe came from a website called the Travelers Lunchbox.
My adaptation includes gluten-free and a few other simplifications, eliminating certain ingredients, or making slightly smaller portions.
For the crust:
2 3/4 cups King Arthur gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar, unsifted
1 stick unsalted butter, cold
For the caramel:
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup and 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
3/4 – 1 teaspoon (level) rock salt or coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
For the ganache:
3/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey (I used a little more)
4-5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter, diced
For the crust, sift together the flour, powdered sugar and salt and cut the butter into chunks. Place in a food processor and process, adding the eggs at the end, until a dough has formed. Roll out the dough into a circle and fit into an 11-inch removable bottom tart pan. Chill for at least half an hour. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the crust for about 25-30 minutes or until it is a light golden color. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
To make the caramel, pour the sugar and water into a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Boil until the sugar has started to caramelize and turn golden brown. This will take a while, but the transformation from clear to golden will happen very quickly at the end. At the same time, in a separate saucepan, bring the cream and salt to a boil. Remove the caramelized sugar from the heat and very carefully add the cream – be careful as the mixture can rise rapidly in the pan. (This definitely happens, even if it is warm, the cream bubbles up when the warm caramelized sugar hits it. I suggest using a large pan for the heated cream.) Stir carefully over a low heat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Remove from the heat, add the diced butter, and stir again until smooth. Pour into the cooled crust and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
To make the ganache, bring the cream and honey just to a boil and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a minute or two then stir until everything is smooth. Add more honey if it is too bitter. Once the mixture has cooled a little add the butter and stir gently until the mixture is smooth. Pour in an even layer on top of the cooled caramel, return to the refrigerator, and chill for 4-6 hours before eating.
Overall, the tart turned out well. It was extremely hard when cold. I had to let it warm in order to slice it. It was a bit mushy at room temperature, and the ganache was soft, but overall it was very good. If I had to make it over again, I would not have boiled the caramel sugar quite so long, so that it would be softer when cold, and I would have added more chocolate to the ganache so it would be harder when cold.
It is a tricky dish, and I would recommend trying it once or twice before serving it to guests or bringing it to a nicer event.