Salted Caramel & Chocolate Tarts

With one major assignment handed in, I definitely needed some baking therapy this weekend. I decided to try making profiteroles again after having failed twice a few months ago (they failed to rise), and so had bought some thickened cream to pipe into them and a block of chocolate to dip them in. However, after my choux pastry failed for the third time, I decided that I wanted to stick with something that I was more familiar with… shortcrust pastry!

I also had a desperate craving for caramel, but with a lack of condensed milk in the house, I had a look online and realised I could make ‘dry caramel’, where you melt sugar in a fry pan. It’s dubbed a very risky way by which to make caramel, due to its high likelihood of burning, but I felt like I was up to the challenge.

So salted caramel and chocolate tarts it was 🙂 Tastes a lot like a Twix bar or a Caramel Crown biscuit, but SO much nicer because the sea salt flakes take away the sickly sweetness of chocolate and caramel.

So the night before, I prepared my pastry first. For sweet shortcrust pastry, you need:

+ 125g plain flour

+ 62 grams of unsalted butter

+ 1 egg yolk, chilled, and about a teaspoon of chilled water

+ 40 grams of sifted icing sugar.

  1. Process the flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Whisk the egg yolk and chilled water in a bowl until combined, then with the food processor still running, add to the flour mixture. Process until the mixture begins to form large clumps, stopping the machine before the mixture forms a ball.
  3. Turn the pastry out onto a work surface and knead gently to bring together. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, I started on my caramel. To make dry salted caramel, you need:

+ ¾ cup of caster sugar

+ 2/3 C thickened cream

+ 80 grams of butter, chopped

+ Sea salt flakes

  1. Place the sugar in a fry pan over a medium to high heat and cook for five to six minutes (without touching it) or until the sugar turns golden.

 I watched my sugar like a hawk, as I was using the best non-stick fry pan in the house and didn’t want it to burn and suffer the wrath of my sister. You will notice the sugar start to caramelise around the edges, and at this stage I gave it an experimental push around to find the bottom was caramelised as well.At this stage, I mixed the unmelted sugar into the caramel to combine and waited for all the sugar to dissolve.
2.      Reduce the heat to low and add the cream. It will spit and the caramel will seize due to the cold cream, but keep stirring and it will eventually melt again. Stir until it’s smooth. If it froths up too much, take it off the heat temporarily until it subsides then put it back.
3. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring to combine.

Mmmm warm caramel

Set your caramel to one side.

Preheat your oven to 180˚C. Cut your pastry into four portions and roll out each to lay in four pastry tins. Prick the bases with a fork. Line with baking paper and weigh down with rice or pastry weights before baking in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove the rice/weights and bake for a further 10 minutes until golden.

Leave to cool. Sprinkle some sea salt flakes into your caramel, to taste. I put in maybe about a quarter of a teaspoon. Stir, then spoon into the tart shells. Put it in the fridge to chill and set a little.

Meanwhile, make your chocolate ganache. For this you need:

+ 100 grams of dark chocolate, and

+ 1/3 cup of thickened cream

Melt the two together in a heatproof bowl standing over a saucepan of simmering water (not touching the water surface) until combined and glossy, then set aside to cool down to room temperate.

Spread it over your chilled caramel tarts and leave it to set in the fridge for an hour or so. To serve, sprinkle a pinch of sea salt flakes into the centre.

Mmmmmm….Salted caramel has to be my most favourite thing ever! Look at it ooze out of that tart :O I had some leftover salted caramel…and let’s just say teaspoons of it disappeared over the course of the afternoon!

Mmm. Anyway, enjoy the rest of your weekend and happy baking, all! xx

8 Comments Add yours

  1. wow! nicely done~

  2. Lucy says:

    Times like these, I HATE being lactose intolerant because it looks amazing! Even with a dairy-free substitute, it wouldn’t come close to the cream-filled version

  3. Cath Chen says:

    Thanks, guys! And Lucy – I have many friends with various food allergies and who LOVE their food, so I feel your pain…

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