I wish I had taken a picture of this tart once it was sliced to show the just set and slightly runny caramel interior as it would sum up more than any words could just how delicious, rich and decadent this tart is. If you’re not a lover of caramel, especially the kind that just edges on being ever so slightly bitter, than this might not be the dessert for you. But if you are then you need to make this and quickly. It’s not a tricky dessert to accomplish but you do need to make a caramel and I know that some people tend to encounter problems with this. The best tips I can give for making caramel is to use a very clean saucepan and have a pastry brush and a bowl of cold water handy to brush down any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan as the sugar melts. Those pesky crystals are the reason that your caramel may not be colouring but if you keep vigilantly brushing down the sides of the pan with a little cold water on a pastry brush then you shouldn’t encounter any problems. The other golden rule is never stir the caramel, just swirl the pan a little. My last warning on the caramel is to make sure you take it off the heat before it gets too dark. The darker it is the more bitter the caramel will become. I let the caramel cook for a little more than I should have and the caramel was slightly too bitter. A little bitterness is good as it’s a nice balance against all the sweetness but next time I will take the caramel off the heat as it just turns amber. This is very rich dessert so a thin slice is all that’s needed which makes this tart go a long way but it keeps well and is great for large parties.
Ingredients Adapted from Donna Hay
¼ cup (25g) Dutch cocoa
1½ cups (225g) plain flour
125g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
½ cup (80g) icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoons iced water
sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
For the salted caramel:
1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
50g unsalted butter
1½ cups (330g) white sugar
½ cup (125ml) water
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
for the dark chocolate ganache:
150g dark chocolate, chopped
½ cup (125ml) single (pouring) cream
To make the salted caramel, Place the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside. Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over low heat and cook, swirling the pan, until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high, bring to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes, without stirring, until the mixture is a deep caramel colour – the darker the caramel becomes the more bitter it will be; if you prefer less of a bitter flavour take the caramel off the heat when it is a golden amber. Remove from the heat and working quickly, add the salt and cream and butter mixture and whisk to combine – be careful as the caramel will boil up when the liquids are added. Return to the heat and cook for a further 2 minutes or until thickened slightly.
To make the pastry, place the cocoa, flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor running, add the egg yolk. Add the iced water and process until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently bring together to form a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm-thick. Line a lightly greased 24cm round loose-bottomed tart tin with the pastry.
Trim the edges and prick the base with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper, fill with baking weights and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is just cooked. Allow to cool in the tin. Spoon the salted caramel into the tart shell and refrigerate for a 2–3 hours or until set.
To make the dark chocolate ganache, place the chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until melted and smooth. Allow to stand for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly. Pour the chocolate mixture over the caramel and refrigerate for 1–2 hours or until set. Bring to room temperature and sprinkle with sea salt flakes to serve.