Salted caramel and chocolate are a match made in heaven – so decadent and delicious that this tart just cries out to be made. The pecans give it a more rounded and interesting flavour and make for a very impressive-looking tart. If you are pushed for time you can make the pastry and caramel filling days in advance, then bake and assemble when needed, making the whole process very easy indeed. For a tart as flavourful as possible, make sure that you cook the caramel to be fairly dark. Don’t burn it, but if you don’t cook it enough it will just taste sweet and not of caramel.
This recipe comes from Edd Kimber’s “The Boy Who Bakes”.
500g shop-bought sweet shortcrust pastry
flour, for dusting
butter, for greasing
For the caramel layer
150g granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon Sea salt
90ml double cream
10g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
30g crème fraîche
150g toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
For the chocolate layer
185ml double cream
45g light brown sugar
225g dark chocolate (at least 60–70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
40g unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Lightly flour the work surface and the rolling pin, and roll out the pastry to about 4mm thick. Lightly butter a 23cm tart tin and line with the pastry. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) gas mark 4.
Line the tart with baking parchment and fill with a layer of baking beans or rice. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and beans and bake for a further 10–15 minutes or until the pastry has turned a light golden brown. Allow to cool before removing from the tin and assembling the tart.
To make the caramel layer, in a medium pan melt the sugar over medium heat until dark brown in colour, stopping before it starts to smoke. Remove from the heat and pour in the salt and half the cream. The mixture will bubble violently, so be careful and go slowly.
Once the mixture has settled, add the remaining cream followed by the butter. If the mixture is lumpy, put the pan back on the heat and stir until smooth. Pour into a heatproof jug to cool and stir in the crème fraîche. Mix in the chopped pecans, reserving a few for decoration, then spread evenly over the cooled tart shell.
To make the chocolate layer, put the cream and sugar into a medium pan and bring to a simmer. Put the chocolate into a medium bowl. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and leave for a few minutes before stirring in concentric circles, starting into the centre and working your way out. Once you have a smooth ganache, stir in the softened butter.
Pour over the chilled tart and top with the reserved pecans. Allow the chocolate to set before serving.