Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Milk Chocolate Caramel Tart
For the recipe, please see the related entry in Veronica's Test Kitchen, one of the hostesses for this month's challenge.
Tarts can look deceptively easy, particularly when dealing with caramel, and dry caramel at that. This recipe caused some frustration, but no tears this time. Just laughter - at myself, at the potential ruin of yet another pan, and realizing that it was probably wise to pick librarianship over baking as a career path.
For my first feat, I tried making a crust recipe in a food processor that was about 4 cups too small. I forget that I don't have the biggest one and that most recipes are probably written for a larger bowl. Halfway through I had to dump everything into a bowl and mix it by hand. It seemed to work okay, but was pretty dry. After chilling the dough, it didn't want to roll out very easily - I was able to make most pieces equally thin at least, as you can see in the crust, but had to piece it together quite a bit. One benefit to this recipe was the use of hazelnuts - I had a few cups of hazelnuts in the freezer, left over from the annual bag my Mom sends me from Oregon so I can make holiday treats with the same flavors I grew up with. It was nice to have a reason to use them, although lately I've been sneaking handfuls for snacking, so I imagine the rest won't last long.
The next step was making a milk chocolate mousse. So many good chocolates are out there to select from, and this time I used Lindt Extra Creamy. I was making this tart the night before, and didn't want the crust to get soggy. I decided to make the mousse ahead of time and store it in the fridge until the next day, which unfortunately meant that it set up a great deal. Here you see the texture of the mousse the next morning as I tried spreading it on the tart. It eventually warmed to the touch of my fingertips and I was able to press it down somewhat smoothly, but it lacked the creamy texture it would have had if I had spread it right after making it. It still tasted really good!
The end result was a pretty tart, which I cut into 16 pieces to serve. I agree with the other Daring Bakers about the cinnamon in the crust being overpowering. One co-worker friend said that she thought the slightly browned sugar taste in the caramel added a lot of depth to the taste, and I would agree. Another co-worker said that if I had added peanuts to the caramel layer, it would have tasted like a Snickers bar.
My original intent was to make a dark chocolate version, but I was not impressed with the crust, and the event I was planning to bring it for was cancelled. So for this one, only one whole dessert, but three batches of caramel!
Categories: Caramel, Chocolate, Daring Bakers, Mousse, Tart
at 12:19 AM