Round One


Too much Thanksgiving, not enough time. Between the two dinners I’m attending, the leftover potluck on Friday, the madness of working in a specialty grocery store during America’s biggest food celebration, and the plethora of cat-sitting gigs I’ve got going over the holiday, I’m stretched pretty thin right now. I had planned on sharing both the promised bacon/onion/cheese thing and this caramel tart but I didn’t get any good pictures of the aforementioned and don’t have time to remake it until at least after Thursday. I promise I’ll really try to make that happen, because it’s an awesome dish and I think it would be really great at Christmas and New Year’s dinners.

For now, here’s the caramel tart that you should definitely be eating this Thursday. I think that chocoholics get left out at Thanksgiving quite frequently. While I’m all for letting pumpkins, cranberries, apples, and pecans take center stage, I definitely wouldn’t say no to a slice of this post-turkey. I combined two recipes for the same thing to create this incarnation. The pastry and hazelnut part comes from What Katie Ate and the caramel comes from Lottie+Doof. I first made this for Easter dinner this past spring, and found that the caramel part was too intense, so I sought out one that was a little less sweet. I should also add that I subbed ricotta for crème fraiche not for any taste reasons, but just because that’s what I had on hand. I would definitely use crème fraiche next time, seeing ricotta is so much lumpier and took a lot of work to incorporate.

 

For chocolate pastry:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup dutch press cocoa
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced and chilled
1/4 cup ice water

For caramel filling:
1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp ricotta
1 tsp flaky sea salt

For ganache:
1/2 c heavy cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp flaky sea salt

1 cup roasted, roughly chopped hazelnuts

To make pastry, whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl. Using your hands, rub butter into the mixture until most of the butter is incorporated, with some largeish streaks still visible. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, and knead until becomes a cohesive mass. Form into a disc and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. When dough is chilled, turn out onto a floured surface. Roll dough to 1/4″ thickness and transfer to a 10″ tart pan or pie dish. Prick pastry all over with a fork and then put back in fridge for 30-60 minutes. When chilled, line pastry with parchment and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake at 375º for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

To make caramel, add water, sugar, and corn syrup to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is a dark amber hue. Remove from heat and immediately add the cream, butter, and ricotta. Work carefully, mixture will bubble up and steam. Whisk until smooth and add salt.

To make the ganache, heat the cream in either the microwave or over medium-high heat on the stove until small bubbles form. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk until smooth and glossy. Stir in salt. Set aside to cool.

To assemble the tart, add 3/4 cup of the hazelnuts to the bottom of the tart shell. Pour ganache over hazelnuts followed by caramel. Top with remaining hazelnuts and a sprinkling of sea salt. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least an hour.

There are a lot of steps to this dish, but you can break it down into manageable parts. Make the dough and freeze it, or keep it refrigerated for up to a week. You can keep the caramel in a covered container in the fridge for up to five days, same for the ganache. It’s worth all the extra effort, I promise.

Also, my apologies for the orange, grainy pictures. I didn’t follow my own advice and made this the day of which meant photographing it in low light while surrounded by kitchen mess.