OK, so I had a Daring Bakers challenge that didn’t work for me. I want to state, for the record, that I did not blame the recipe – I know it was the fault of the baker (me!) I knew I could do better – and I learned a lot from reading other Daring Bakers blogs. I learned why my mousse didn’t work – my chocolate was too cool. I learned to add the butter to the caramel before the cream to prevent it from seizing. I learned to warm the cream, melt the chocolate into that, refrigerate, and then whip into a perfect mousse. And what happens when you learn all of this new information?
I wanted to redeem myself!!
So here it is – my improved tart. I did change the crust, using Dorie’s recipe for Sweet Tart Dough. I made mini tarts, because I loved the look of the mini tarts. And now I know why everyone else liked these so much – I can’t get enough!! I think I’m gonna gain 10 pounds this weekend…..
I’m including the recipe for the crust I used, but the caramel and mousse are from the same recipe as the Daring Bakers challenge. I did use the tips that I found on Fanny’s blog, and those tips made for a perfect caramel layer and chocolate mousse!
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Sweet yet sophisticated, this Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart has a homemade caramel filling topped with a milk chocolate mousse.
For the Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1 cup (250 g) heavy cream (30–40 percent butterfat) or crème fraiche, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons (50 g) unsalted butter
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 2–½ tablespoons (15 g) flour
- 1–¼ cups (300 g) whipping cream, very cold
- 8 ounces (250 g) milk chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup or lemon juice
For the Crust:
- Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in – you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some of the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at at time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses – about 10 seconds each – until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
- I did this without a food processor – just a pastry cutter/blender. It worked – it just takes more time and some elbow grease!!
- Butter the tart pans. Press the dough lightly into the pan – be careful not to press too much – you want the dough to keep it’s crumbly texture. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and press down into the tart crust. Bake the crust – I found that 18 minutes worked about right in my oven for 6 mini tarts.
Make the Caramel Filling:
- In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until all of the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to boil. Stop stirring. Don’t stir anymore! (If you continue to stir, sugar crystals may form and make the caramel grainy.)
- Reduce the heat to low and continue to slowly boil until the color of the caramel changes from clear to a deep, golden amber. Remove from heat immediately! Stir in the heavy cream or crème fraiche and then add the butter. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.
- In the small mixing bowl, beat the eggs and then whisk in the flour until no traces of flour are visible. Pour the egg and flour mixture into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Add the caramel mixture to the crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. (Baking time will be shorter in mini tart pans.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Make the Chocolate Mousse:
- Put the chopped chocolate into the glass bowl and melt in the microwave, cooking for 30 seconds on medium heat. Stir and repeat until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Stir the remaining small bits of chocolate into the melted chocolate and set aside to cool.
- When the chocolate is cool, put the whipping cream into the bowl of the stand mixer and beat it using the wire whisk attachment. The cream should have stiff peaks. Gently fold in the cooled chocolate until fully incorporated. Don’t beat it or the mousse will lose volume.
- Spread the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel layer. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator. (Optional: Reserve about ¾ cup of the mousse. Put it into a plastic bag fitted with a decorating tip and pipe stars around the edges of the tart.)
Make the Sugar Decorations:
- In the small saucepan, add the sugar and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until all of the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to boil. Stop stirring.
- Reduce the heat to low and continue to slowly boil until the color of the caramel changes from clear to light amber. Quickly pour it onto the parchment lined baking sheet, making designs as you go. The melted sugar will begin to cool as you pour and you will get some filaments, but that’s ok. Allow the sugar to cool thoroughly, then break it up into small pieces and put them on top of the tart.