I’ve had this recipe clipped from a Donna Hay magazine for way, way too long. Last week I was flipping through recipes, looking for ideas for Sunday dessert, and this totally leapt off the page at me.
Not only did the combination of components sound absolutely phenomenal, but I’m really partial these days to recipes that can be made in steps… bonus if each step can be completed within the amount of time that a 7-month old naps :)
I’ve been crazy about the combination of chocolate, caramel and sea salt since my sister started making stops at a local chocolate shop last summer and showing up to our house with baggies of chocolate-covered salted caramel. Everyone in our family has become a little obsessed with them, then a few weeks ago, she brought a bar of super dark chocolate with sea salt. The salt is flaked and provides little bits of crunch when you bite into the bar. It’s basically one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, so when I saw this tart, with all of its chocolate and caramel and salt, I knew it would be a big hit.
This chocolate crust is tender and topped with a super simple caramel filling made from just sugar and water. (The recipe calls for superfine sugar, which I order from King Arthur Flour, but if you don’t have any, you can just run regular granulated sugar through a food processor or coffee/spice grinder.) The caramel sets up in the perfect consistency – it’s firm, yet still soft and just a bit gooey when you dig into it with a fork. Add chocolate ganache to the equation and you have a heart-stopping dessert that will leave folks oohing and aahing over an empty plate.
If you’re looking for an incredibly impressive dessert that has a wonderful balance of sweet and salty, and varying textures, this is your recipe. Plus, each component can be completed easily and relatively quickly, which makes this a perfect recipe for assembling ahead of time.
Make the Crust: Place the butter and sugar in a food processor and process until pale in color, about 10 seconds. Add the cocoa powder, flour, egg and vanilla and pulse until a soft dough forms (about 10 1-second pulses). Turn out into a round 9-inch tart pan and press into the bottom and up sides. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prick the dough with a fork and bake for 15 minutes, or until the dough is baked through. Set aside.
Make the Caramel Filling: Place the cream and butter in a small saucepan over low heat and warm until the butter has melted; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to high and boil, without stirring, until dark golden and the mixture reaches 340 degrees F on a thermometer. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture (be cautious, as it will bubble up). Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the fleur de sel and pour into the pastry shell. Refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes.
Make the Chocolate Glaze: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 2 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate over the caramel layer. Refrigerate until set, at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with additional fleur de sel before serving. Leftovers should be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.