Tuesdays With Dorie - Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

>> Tuesday, September 29, 2009

FINALLY! After waiting about 16 months, it is now my turn to host Tuesdays With Dorie. Pictures really sell me on a recipe. Although there are many great recipes without pictures, I tend to pick a recipe based on the picture. I've had my eye on Dorie's Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart for ages. The caramel is what really sold me. I love the combination of caramel and salted peanuts, not to mention the chocolate ganache. I used semisweet instead of bittersweet chocolate and salted peanuts.

I feel like such a bad hostess because I couldn't get a decent picture of the tart. For starters, the crust doesn't look like a tart crust. Seems like even though I used frozen butter and froze the crust before baking, the edges melt. Do I not press the crust in thick enough? Is it because I mix by hand and not with a food processor? Taste wise it's delicious.

I made this recipe twice. The first time I used my 11 inch tart pan. Mixing the peanuts into the caramel made it really hard to spread, so the caramel didn't make it to the edges. That and the tart is 2 inches bigger than what Dorie made. The peanut halves were also too big.

The second time I used baby tart pans, so I cut the recipe in half. This was my first time using the pans. The crust shrank like usual, and that really frustrates me. Shrunken crust makes it harder to remove from the pan. With the caramal layer, I decided to use baby food processor to chop the peanut halves and sprinkle on top of the caramel instead of mixing it in.

I really do love this recipe, but I still have ways to go before I can get the crust perfect. Hope all you TwDers enjoyed dessert this week.

Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

Scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

3/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 9-inch tart shell made with Dorie's Sweet Tart Dough (p.444), fully baked and cooled

Getting Ready: Because you have to work quickly once the sugar caramelizes, you should have all the ingredients for the caramel measured out and at hand before you start. Also have a medium heatproof bowl at hand to hold the hot caramel.

To Make the Caramel: Bring the heavy cream to a boil.

Meanwhile, put a medium skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat and sprinkle in about 3 tablespoons of the sugar. When it melts, stir it with a wooden spatula or fork and sprinkle over another 3 tablespoons. When that sugar is melted, add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar - the sugar in the pan may already have started to color, and that's fine. Stir in the corn syrup and boil the syrup until it reaches a deep caramel color - it will probably begin to smoke, and that's normal.

Stand back and stir in the butter. The caramel will bubble furiously and may spatter, so make sure you're away from the action. When the butter is in, add the warm cream - the caramel will bubble furiously again. Lower the temperature just a tad and let the caramel boil for just 2 minutes (226F on candy thermometer). Pour the seething caramel into the heatproof bowl and set aside while you make the ganache.

To Make the Ganache: Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and have a whisk or a rubber spatula at hand.

Bring the cream to a boil. Then pour half of it over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Working with the whisk/spatula, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles. Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don't stir any more than you must to blend the ingredients - the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be.

Cover the ganache with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface to create an airtight seal. Set aside at room temperature for the moment.

To Assemble the Tart: Stir the peanuts into the caramel. If the caramel has cooled and is too thick to spread easily, gently warm in the microwave in 3-second spurts. Spread the caramel over the bottom of the tart shell; you'll have a thin layer. Refrigerate the tart for 15 minutes to set the caramel.

Check the ganache. If it has thickened, warm it in 3-second spurts. Rap the bowl to break any surface bubbles, pour the ganache over the caramel and jiggle the pan to even it.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes - no longer - then keep it at room temperature until serving time.

Baking: From My Home To Yours pages 355-357


Jayne 7:12 AM  

Thank you SO much for choosing this recipe - I loved it (probably too much!) and so did friends and family members. Nice job on yours!! It looks delicious!

natalia 7:12 AM  

Ciao Carla ! This recipe is really a great one !Thank you for choosing it !! I'm trying to give it ot the neighbours as fast as I can : it's too dangerous !!

Isabelle 7:14 AM  

merci Carla pour le choix de cette recette, c'était franchement très très bon !

Nancy/n.o.e 7:25 AM  

Thanks for choosing this tart - it's now one of my top 5 Dorie recipes. Great tips about the nuts and caramel.

Flourchild 7:35 AM  

This was a hit with my family! Thank you for the wonderful choice!

LyB 7:44 AM  

Thank you so much for giving me an excuse to finally make this tart! It is such a fantastic dessert!

dorie 8:52 AM  

I'm so glad you chose this recipe because it's one of my favorites. About the crust, you can certainly make it without a processor -- bakers did for centuries -- but if you do it by hand, you have to be extra careful about keeping it cold. If you make the crust by hand again, try freezing the tart pan with the crust in it before baking it.

Jennifer 9:31 AM  

I really liked this recipe, too, and you are right, the photo in the book really sells it!

Emer,  9:39 AM  

I love salt wtih caramel! :D You should try making salted caramel macarons, both me and a friend have tried and failed spectacularly. Maybe you will have more luck since you are more experienced. They are really tempramental. I think it depends on the humidity of the air even!

Joy 9:41 AM  

Thanks for the great pick! This one was tough to photo for me, too, yours does look delicious!

steph- whisk/spoon 9:41 AM  

i know what you mean about shrinking crusts--so frustrating, esp when you've tried so hard to keep things cold, etc. but thanks so much for this pick--a truly decadent and delicious choice!!

myfamousrecipe 9:57 AM  

I was delighted that you chose this chocolate/caramel/peanut combination, and it didn't disappoint! Thanks!

vibi 10:10 AM  

Thanks Carla for a great pick this week... if I go into diabetic coma though, we'll blame it on you! LOL LOL LOL

Amanda 10:19 AM  

Hey Carla thanks for hosting this week! Isn't it funny how we feel so pressured to have nice pictures! :) Yours look totally fine to me :) I am wondering if your problems with the dough are because you are mixing by hand, it could be getting overworked. The food processor does such a quick job of it, doing it by hand might be taking too long making it too soft? I'm not sure, just a theory. At any rate, thank you for the fabulous pick, my daughter has been wanting me to make this for months :)

ostwestwind 10:45 AM  

Thanks for being the host this week!

Ulrike @Küchenlatein

Mary Ann 11:20 AM  

Great pic! This was so fantastic!

Barbara 11:22 AM  

Gooey, sticky, luscious and divine!

bakingwiththeboys 11:24 AM  

This was a great pick. I really enjoyed it and will make it again.

Valerie 11:47 AM  

I have had my eye on this recipe since the book arrived in the mail! Thank you for a delicious choice. Don't worry about the pictures. Sometimes the best tasting desserts refuse to take take a decent photo, and that is very frustrating. Just remind yourself that it was wonderful to eat..which is all that really matters. :)

spike. 11:47 AM  

I am obsessed with this tart, thanks for picking it!

Rachel 12:00 PM  

My crust fell too! Now I don't feel so bad. Excellent choice. As soon as I purchased this cookbook, I went through looking at all the pictures and thought - I know exactly who I'm baking this for!

Kimberly Johnson 12:18 PM  

Great pick this week! Chocolate, caramel, and peanuts are one of my favorite combinations!

Soy*Baby 12:35 PM  

Great pick. We loved it.

Kayte 12:35 PM  

No one could possibly be a bad hostess who picks a Top 5 recipe...my guys just absolutely loved this. It was fun to make and it turned out well, and I would say you did yourself proud on yours as well. Thanks for the pick.

Sarah 1:05 PM  

Amazing, fantastic, stupendous, delicious, scrumptious, decadent, wonderful pick! One of my favorite things I've ever made or eaten. Thanks for hosting!

Megan 1:58 PM  

Great choice Carla - even though my critics didn't approve, it was fun to make!

Cynthia 2:56 PM  

I REALLY appreciate you choosing this recipe. I made it once about a year ago and loved it. I purchased all of the ingredients and wasn't able to get to it this weekend, but have plans to make it this week. I am planning to make them as individual tiny tarts in mini-muffin pans. I'll let you know how they turn out. Again, thanks for your choice.

Lauryn 3:32 PM  

GREAT pick this week! I absolutely loved this! Definitely a special, decadent treat! Yours looks delish!!!

Cakelaw 6:12 PM  

Looks devine! Thanks for being our host this week. (I couldn't get a pretty photo either, so I just gave up.)

Leslie 7:10 PM  

Enjoy it? I want to marry this tart. What, I can't do that?

I think yours looks great! My crust was also the least successful component but that didn't detract from the taste, which was fabulous. Thanks for picking such a winner!

jillbert 7:40 PM  

Thanks for the great pick! This was my first time making caramel, so it was a big deal for me. Your idea to sprinkle the nuts on the caramel is a good one - I'm making a note of that in my book for next time!

Adam 8:46 PM  

Congrats on finally hosting! Wow, to wait 16 months for anything is a crazy long time. Excellent choice for your blog too... get it CHOCOLATE moosey? :)

Thanks for swinging by my blog again, it wasn't the same without my football fan there.

Pamela 9:20 PM  

This was a phenomenal recipe choice! Thanks so much for giving us this one. Loved it! Great job on yours!

Susan 10:53 PM  

Thank you so much for picking this recipe! I loved it! Your pictures look fine. :)

sarahe 11:08 PM  

thanks so much for picking this--i LOVED it!

Katrina 12:56 AM  

This looks and sounds heavenly. I had to miss this weeks, but can I just tell you how excited I was since your pick came up?! I was out of town. But my husband's birthday is next Monday and I plan to (fingers crossed) post a two for one next week.
GREAT job, Carla and just my kind of pick!

AmyRuth 1:01 AM  

You are a Rock Star for your pick!!! It doesn't get much better than this. This is a perfect dessert for the upcoming holidays, so thank you again for selecting such a delicious dessert.

Di 1:06 AM  

Thanks for a fantastic pick, Carla! This one definitely gets a top spot on my list of favorite TWD recipes. =) Sorry to hear that your crust was uncooperative.

margot 1:50 AM  

Excellent choice, I loved this tart and can't wait for another excuse to make it. Thanks!

Megan 9:14 AM  

I might have to try this for the holidays! Long time no chat, Carla. How have you been? Still at Target?

lasinthekitchen 4:07 PM  

This was such a great pick Carla! I finally made a good tart dough and it's all thanks to you! I love your chocolate ganache - it looks so luscious!
(I love, love, love your blog name and moose header too!) =)

Liz 1:11 AM  

This was a great pick! It's probably something I never would have picked for myself, but I ended up loving it. Thanks for an inspired pick!

Carol Peterman/TableFare 1:58 AM  

I loved this recipe. I am still not sure how these ordinary ingredients came together to create such an extraordinary dessert. I really can’t get enough of it. I was going to take some to friends, but I just keep thinking about having another slice, so it may not make it out of my house.

Ida 1:01 PM  

Oo.. *wants*

Hope you are ok, I MISS MY MOOSEY! <3

Steph 9:42 PM  

Carla! I was really planning on making this, but it didn't happen. I even made the crust, but then my mom threw it out! I feel so bad for not making this when I said I would.


Bizzy B. Bakes 1:43 AM  

What a fabulous choice. Chocolate and caramel. What could be better? You have excellent taste.

Toaster 7:01 AM  

I really, really wish I had not read this cos now I want to cook it and eat it.

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