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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Salted Caramel Heaven

So lately I've been having this obsession with salted caramel. Especially after I finished my jar of Salted Caramel Spread from Burch and Purchese (*cry!*). And ALSO after I made my Epic Chocolate Cake which featured a salted caramel layer. And so, I've been experimenting alot lately with recipes. For SOME reason lately I've been reading random recipes, not printing anything out or writing anything down, and just going into the kitchen to try re-create them. Admittedly its because they are either short or similar to what I've done many times before. But that's so uncharacteristic of me because I normally ALWAYS stick to the recipe only because I want it to come out EXACTLY how it turns out in the picture. It seems like I'm starting to get a bit more experimental....

Well it seems to be the case with salted caramel. I made 3 batches in one week. And they all tasted different, in either the caramel component or the salt component. One tasted like butterscotch, one was way saltier than the other. And then the LAST one I made was probs the BEST one in my opinion. BUT, I still think it needs refining.

I'll also quickly add that the best way to eat this is with a spoon =P. Of course you could eat it with ice cream, cake, biscuits, but seriously, a spoon is all you need.

Anyways, so, after making all the these batches of salted caramel, and even after giving a few jars away, I was left with QUITE alot by the end of this week. And then I remembered this Masterchef episode, the one with the Masterclass featuring Vincent Gadan, the owner of Patiesse in Waterloo. In this particular masterclass he made a few tarts, one of them being a Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart. I looked up the recipe but I was soooo not bothered to go through all the pastry making and more ganache making steps, especially after coming home from a long day of placement, so  thought I'd make my OWN version of it. AGAIN, very uncharacteristic of me! So I made my OWN sweet pastry cases, and my OWN chocolate ganache. What is wrong with me?!?! Admittedly these components really aren't that hard to recreate without a recipe, but this is a big thing for me!!

Anyways, the tarts turned out really nice!! And they taste soooo good, as you would expect from a chocolate tart of any kind =P. And it was so easy because all I had to do was make the pastry and ganache which didn't take long, but I'm guessing if you didn't have pre-prepared salted caramel on hand and had followed the Vincent Gadan's recipe to a T you would be in the kitchen a bit longer. So I'm going to give you MY version of a Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart
An Eesh Original!

Salted Caramel
1.5 cups granulated sugar (300g
50ml water
240g butter, cubed
1 tsp salt (I would add this carefully and a bit at a time, taste as you go and stop when you think it's salty enough - the level of saltiness tolerated is different for everyone!! ALSO be careful if you used SALTED (normal) butter, just make sure you taste before dumping a whole load of salt in)
200ml cream

Sweet Pastry
225g plain flour
110g butter
80g sugar
1 large egg

Chocolate Ganache
170g double cream
110g dark chocolate
60g milk chocolate
30g butter

1. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan, and cook on low heat until it turns golden brown. Swirl the pan, don't stir, to make sure the colour evens out.

2. Add the butter little by little while gently stirring with a wooden spoon. (Be careful! The mixture is very hot; it sizzles and might splatter.)

3. Add the salt, and cook for an additional two minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the warmed cream. Mix until well combined.

5. Pour into jars and let cool. The spread should keep for at least three months in the refrigerator (I keep mine outside because I know it won't last three months =P).

6. For the pastry - Pre-heat oven to 180C (350F). Beat the butter and flour together in an electric mixer until resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add sugar and egg and beat until combined. Using hands, bring the dough together, roll into a disc and place in freezer for 10-15 minutes to rest.

7. Roll out pastry onto a floured surface, until its about 5mm thick. Grease 5 pastry tins, and place pastry in each tin, making sure all parts are equal (I literally just squashed the pastry in because I was THAT lazy, but hey, it worked =P).

8. Bake tarts in oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Take out, place on a tray and cool in freezer for 5-10 minutes (you can put them in the fridge, I just wanted to speed up the cooling process).

9. Fill each tart up to 1/2-1/3 full of salted caramel. Place tarts in fridge to set (approx. 10-20 minutes).

10. For the ganache - Heat cream over medium heat, to the point just before it boils. Mix in chocolate and stir until smooth. Add butter and stir until melted. Set aside to cool.

11. Once both the caramel has set and the ganache has cooled down, pour ganache over caramel layer, filling to the top of each tart. Place in fridge to set (approx 20 minutes).

I also added a few white chocolate chips on top, inspired by Max Brenner =D.I know it seems like alot of steps but it's actually quite easy! And it doesn't take long believe me!

And even after all that refrigeration and setting, the first thing I do is nuke a slice for 10 seconds and mmmmm melted chocolatey-caramely-salty goodness....

Yaaaayy all gone!! Now time to make some more =P

Mmmm enjoy!! =D xx

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