Chocolate Caramel Tart: Simple meets Sexy :D

Chocolate Caramel Tart

Chocolate Caramel Tart:  9″ tart serving 6-8

As an amatuer baker, it’s so exciting to get sucked into the esoteric world of decadent desserts and complicated processes. Completing each step successfully feels like an achievement, even though perfection remains aeons away 🙂 In a way it is as helpful as it is harmful. On one hand it goes a long way in increasing your understanding, knowledge,confidence and sense of satisfaction and yet at the same time it takes you away from perfecting and indepth understanding of any one technique, any one subject. Do I like it – of course yes, since I am not here to attain PhD in the changing heights of cake domes depending on the changing mood of the baker :D. I am here rather to indulge in a passion which allows me to satisfactorily create sublime and luxurious home made desserts that touch the heart and soul of each individual I serve it to. But at the same time, I have come to realize, in my race to conquer each challenging creation, I have sometimes overlooked the sheer power of simplicity; Simplicity of processes, ingredients and recipes.

So it was time for me to pause and think on this topic when I came across this amazingly delicious and deceptively simple chocolate dessert that I write about today. Of course it comes from master pastry chef David Lebovitz, an expert whose blog I follow as much for its recipes as for the stories of his Parisian rendezvous 🙂 He talks about going for the best ingredients and working them in simple ways to come up with utterly fabulous results. Case in point the chocolate caramel tart, a plain yet rich chocolate dessert that allows the chocophile to rejoice in the sanguine seduction of chocolate just as it allows the sweet satisfaction of caramel to enhance the chocolate experience even further. It made me think how such a simple and non fancy looking dessert can create such strong rapture and delight. Perhaps I had been too hasty in trying to figure out more complicated desserts in the process overlooking the power of calculated simplicity. Late I was but arrive I did. And when I made and served this dessert to a few friends, their satisfaction was a testament to my new learning from the treasure trove of Monsieur Lebovitz. This recipe has been adapted from his website with minimal changes to the filling but I have gone ahead and used my own tart/pie recipe in place of his. It works wonders, trust me !!! The secret to this recipe is the use of truly high quality ingredients. I used Valrohna chocolate for the filling but you can use any other equally great brand of chocolate. Since the flavor is predominantly chocolate and caramel, compromising on the chocolate quality direclty compromises the taste of the tart 🙂

A. 1 recipe Tart Dough ( or go ahead with your favorite version, if you have one, as long as it is sweet and simple :D)

B: 1 recipe filling (as follows)

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup  (10 Oz) sugar

6 tbsp warm coffee (I mixed 2 tbsp of instant coffee with 6tbsp water, but if you have strong brewed coffee, even better)

4 Oz unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

4 Oz high quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 Oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 large eggs

1/4 cup  flour

1 tablespoon dark rum or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or both :D)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350ÂşF. Spread the sugar in an even layer in the bottom of a large, heavy-duty saucepan or Dutch oven. Cook the sugar over moderate heat until the edges liquefy and being to caramelize. Use a heatproof utensil to stir the sugar a bit and encourage even melting.

2. Once the sugar is melted, it caramelizes rather quickly. When it starts to smoke, but before it burns, turn off the heat and stir in the coffee. (The mixture will bubble and seize a bit.)

3. If the caramel has seized up in places, stir it gently over low heat until smooth. Then add the butter and salt, and stir until melted, then stir in both chocolates until smooth.

4. At this point, while Mr Lebovitz asks to go ahead and add eggs, I let the mixture cool a bit (about 10 mins) and then added the eggs. Just wanted to make sure I didn’t have chocolatey scrambled eggs for dessert :D. Once you have added the eggs, mix in the flour. Stir in the rum or vanilla extract.

5. Pour the mixture into the pre-baked tart shell, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes, just until the filling starts to rise and crack at the edges but the center is still jiggly. Do not overbake.

6. Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing. Serve it with whipped cream, any style 🙂

Expert tips:

1.Tart will keep for up to three days at room temperature, well-wrapped (or 4-5 days in the refriderator).

2. If any bits of caramel remain after adding the butter, simply stir the mixture over very low heat until they’re all completely dissolved. If any stubborn little bits remain, you can strain the buttery caramel through a mesh sieve, before adding the chocolate.

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