If you’re scared of something rich, don’t come near this tart.
Oh wait, that sounds a little like a line from Pretty Woman. I didn’t mean it like that – I promise – and although tarts tend to be a theme in my life, it’s only in the food line. I could briefly tell you about that time I was invited to a tarts party, and interpreted it as an excuse to don some fishnets and dangerously high heels, an inexcusably short skirt and not much to hide my décolletage… only to turn up and find that Jemima, the host, meant tarts, as in food – not as in, well Pretty Woman. It was the highlight of their year. I wasn’t allowed to go home and had to endure the whole party being teased mercilessly. But that’s a minor diversion…
Who remembers the Rolo ad of the ’90s? It asked the almost impossible question of who you would share your last Rolo with. It was a memorable one because it made you think about who you’d consider giving that sickly sweet, chewy chocolate with its caramel centre to – they’d have to be special, that’s for sure.
I find Rolos don’t really hit the spot these days. What does hit the spot, however, is this grown-up version of it. Take the caramel, salt it up a little and turn the chocolate into both a sophisticated crust and an exceedingly rich ganache, and you have yourself an outrageous pudding. The sugar load is high, so I’d recommend making this more of a lunch pud than a dinner pud as you might find yourself unable to combat the inevitable sugar rush.
The trick with this recipe is to be both patient and careful when you make the caramel. It went horribly wrong the first time I tried – too much stirring – so just be patient as you heat up the sugar and watch it like a hawk. The other trick is to choose the best quality dark chocolate – at least 70% cocoa solids – which will offset the sweetness of the caramel. Obviously, I only use Absolute Chocolate. The 70% Tanzania will provide a bit more of a fruity flavour, whereas 70% Madagascar is more reminiscent of the earthy tones of coffee. This is something to serve with a big-bodied red that can stand up to the rich flavours, and we chose the Hesketh Small Parcels Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannins get wrapped around the caramel and coat your tongue making it a delectable taste sensation.
- 110g Brown’s Unsalted Butter
- 70g Icing Sugar
- 1 Large Egg Yolk
- ½ Teaspoon Epicurious Hedgehog Vanilla Extract
- 155g All-purpose Flour
- 20g Epicurious Hedgehog Cocoa Powder
- 200g Sugar (normal sugar will work fine)
- 90g Brown’s Salted Butter (room temperature)
- 120ml Bio Whipping Cream
- 1 Teaspoon Cream
- 120g Bio Whipping Cream
- 100g Absolute Chocolate 70% finely chopped
- Pinch of flaky sea salt
For the Tart Cases:
- Cream together the butter and sugar on low speed or gently with your hands.
- Add in the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Turn off the mixer if you are using one, sift in the flour and cocoa powder and then beat again on low speed until just combined (don’t overbeat!).
- Press the dough into the tart case you are using.
- Cover and put in the fridge for at least one hour whilst you make the salted caramel.
For the Salted Caramel:
- In the meantime, place the sugar in a light coloured saucepan if you have, over low – medium heat. Don’t stir too much – just allow it to start melting and browning slightly.
- When you see it is starting to caramelize, you can move it around a little bit but mostly you just want to stop the bottom bit burning by gently moving it to the other side of the pan.
- Once the sugar is completely melted (and at that stage, you can be stirring it as much as you like) then add in the butter and stir in vigorously.
- Add in the cream and salt, and do the same until it’s all combined and smooth.
- Turn off the heat and let it cool slightly.
- Heat the oven to 180°C.
- Once the tart case has cooled, remove from the fridge and use a fork to prick the bottom of the tart.
- Line with baking paper and baking weights or dry rice.
- Place in the oven and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes.
- Carefully lift out the baking paper and weights, and place back in the oven for the base to cook for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Once it’s baked, put it aside to cool then pour in the salted caramel.
For the dark chocolate ganache (make it an hour before serving the tart):
- Simply place the cream in a saucepan and bring up to heat just before boiling – watch it carefully and when you see steam starting to curl up, it’s time to take it off the heat.
- Pour it over your finely chopped chocolate, and leave it for 3 minutes.
- Come back to it with a spatula and stir it together, and you should find you have a great ganache!
- Pour on top of the cooled caramel, and sprinkle some more flaky salt on top and some dried rose petals if you have them.