Here is today’s post all about caramel, since now I guess I write a caramel blog or something.
In the February 2002 issue of Martha Stewart Living, there was an article on some stunning chocolate desserts that I filed away and have periodically returned to through the years, without ever making any of them. I was particularly enamored with a chocolate caramel tart that featured caramel-dipped pecans with sinuous tails of caramel that stretched five or six inches and were beautifully (you know Martha!) draped over the tart. The recipe and photos do not appear to be on the MSL site, but you can see the the recipe here.
Last week, I made the whole shebang as one of Jacob’s (four) birthday desserts, and thought I’d give you a little how-to.
If you’re interested in DIYing, I used the Edible Hudson Valley Raspberry Truffle Tart recipe of mine, whose photos are here and the actual recipe is here, but I omitted the raspberries. Instead, I thinned out the caramel used for making the pecans (I used almonds though—for the recipe, click on that link two paragraphs ago) with a quarter of a can or so of coconut milk and made a caramel layer I poured over the baked and cooled tart shell. Oh, back up, I also replaced 1/4 of the flour in the recipe with cocoa powder, for a chocolate crust. Then, after the caramel layer has set up in the fridge for a while, pour on your chocolate ganache layer as directed in the Raspberry Truffle Tart recipe. Let it set up a while, and garnish with the caramelized nuts.
The nuts (again, see the link above for the recipe). They are tricky. I really wish a temperature had been specified in the recipe. I messed around and ended up with a bunch of too-soft ones. With more practice I think this could be a real show-stopper dessert though—I see sugarwork in my future! I managed to get enough respectable ones for the tart, which firmed up nicely—and by that I mean: became rock hard. These are perhaps more of a garnish than an integral component of the dessert, as they take some serious chompers to consume.
Oh! And I made another tart. Inspired by the Butterfinger milkshake from Terri, I chopped up some butterscotchy, butterfingery candies I had hanging around (these!) and mixed them into the ganache for that tart, otherwise it was the same as above–no raspberries. I ran out of regular tart dough because, um, some of it fell on the floor, so I used some extra chocolate dough I had, which is why it has that ebony-and-ivory look. I’m telling you, this is the tart of 1,001 guises!
Considering I made them at midnight after the Fancy Food Show, I’m pretty happy with both. Go forth and caramelize, my lovers!