I’m not really sure that my blog needs another chocolate recipe, but as chocolate is the theme for tonight’s Band of Bakers event, there is one. In any case, it is good to get this one in before Easter gets any closer and the blogosphere is awash with chocolate recipes.
It seems like a very short time since our last Band of Bakers gathering, when we were all at The Crooked Well eating far too much cheese than is healthy to eat in one evening. Tonight’s event is a rather special event as we will be hosting it at The Chocolate Museum in Brixton. Yesssss, there is a whole museum devoted to chocolate. It’s run by the lovely Isabelle who also brought gourmet chocolate to the streets of Peckham in the form of her chocolate shop, Melange. If you haven’t been over there yet, do go, their hot chocolate is to die for.
My offering for tonight’s event is a chocolate and salted caramel tart with chocolate pastry. The filling comprises a layer of firm salted caramel, topped with a decadent dark chocolate ganache. Both layers are chilled rather than baked, so were it not for the pastry having gone in the oven, I wouldn’t be able to bring it to the event (we aren’t called ‘Band of Assemblers’, after all). Adding salt to chocolate and caramel is kind of old hat, heck, there probably a salted caramel product in every cafe and supermarket in the land. Twinings have even brought out a salted caramel green tea, which I am highly skeptical of. When done right, though, the combination of sweet and salt can be wonderfully tantalising and appeals to those who claim not to have an overly sweet tooth, my boyfriend included, who has already snagged a slice of this tart for later.
There are about 25 bakers attending tonight, all bringing chocolate bakes. Something tells me that the combination of caffeine and sugar might lead to a sleepless night indeed.
Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart
For the pastry:
- 175g plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 50g cocoa powder
- 50g icing sugar
- 140g cold unsalted butter
- 2 egg yolks
For the salted caramel:
- 225g caster sugar
- 100g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 100ml double cream
- 1½ tsp sea salt
For the chocolate ganache:
- 225g dark chocolate
- 250ml double cream
- 65g chocolate malt powder
To make the pastry, sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and icing sugar and pour into a food processor. Cut the cold butter into cubes and add to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. With the motor running, add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing until the mixture comes together in a firm dough. Turn out on to a floured surface, and gently knead for a few seconds. Form the dough into a disc and wrap in clingfilm. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry on a well-floured surface and use to line a loose-bottom tart tin. Gently push the pastry into each of the grooves, but do not trim the edges. Return to the fridge and chill for a further 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200ºc / 400ºf / gas 6. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans and bake blind in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat of the oven to 150ºc / 300ºf / gas 2, remove the baking parchment and baking beans and bake the pastry case, uncovered, for a further five minutes. The bottom of the pastry case should be dry and cooked through. Trim the edges and allow to cool.
Whilst the pastry is cooling, make the caramel. Put the sugar and 75ml water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and add the butter, stirring until it melts, then let it bubble away until it turns a light toffee colour, about 10 minutes. Add the cream and the sea salt flakes and boil for a couple more minutes until thickened. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so before speading over the base of the cooled pastry case and setting aside to cool completely.
To make the ganache topping, break the dark chocolate in a glass bowl and set aside. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it almost reaches boiling point, remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate malt powder. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and stir constantly until the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth ganache. Leave to cool for a few minutes before pouring over the cooled caramel. Place the tart in the fridge for one hour to set the ganache before serving.