Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
- 1 recipe for Sweet Tart Crust
For the caramel layer:
- Scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
- 3/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
For the ganache:
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
Step 1: Click on Sweet Tart Crust for instructions on how to make the tart.
Step 2: Before making the caramel, make sure that you have all the ingredients measured out and ready to go because you have to work quickly once the sugar caramelizes. Also have a medium heatproof bowl at hand to hold the hot caramel.
Step 3: To make the caramel, bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet, preferably nonstick, to medium heat and sprinkle in about 3 tablespoons of the sugar.
Step 4: When it melts, stir it with a wooden spatula or a fork and sprinkle over another 3 tablespoons. When that sugar is melted, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Step 5: The sugar in the pan may already have started to color and that is 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 is normal.
Step 6: Bring the simmering cream to a full boil. Stand back from the skillet and stir in the butter and salt, if you’re using it. The caramel will bubble furiously and may spatter, so be careful.
Step 7: 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. (If you check the temperature with a thermometer, the caramel should be at 226 degrees F.) Pour the seething caramel into the heatproof bowl and set it aside while you make the ganache.
Step 8: To make the ganache, chop chocolate in small chunks. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and have a whisk or rubber spatula at hand.
Step 9: Bring the cream to a boil, then pour half of it over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Working with the whisk or spatula, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles.
Step 10: Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motion. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don’t stir the ganache any more than you must to blend the ingredients – the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be.
Step 11: Cover the ganache with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the surface of the chocolate to create an airtight seal. Set aside at room temperature for the moment.
Step 12: To assemble the tart, stir the peanuts into the caramel using a rubber spatula. If the caramel is too thick to stir or spread easily, gently warm it in the microwave in 3-second spurts. Spread the caramel over the bottom of the tart shell in a thin layer.
Step 13: Refrigerate the tart for 15 minutes to set the caramel.
Step 14: Check the ganache. If it has thickened and is no longer pourable, warm it in the same way as instructed for the caramel above. Pour the ganache over the caramel and jiggle the tart pan to even it. Refrigerate the tart for 30 minutes but no longer, and then keep it at room temperature until serving time.