For the Oscars I thought it would be fun to do a dessert with some bling! There’s nothing like adding gold leaf to a decadent chocolate caramel tart to make it worthy of a black tie affair. I was cozied up in my pajamas with a room full of my girlfriends, but despite our lack of proper attire we sipped champagne and ate gold leaf.
I had lofty aspirations of seeing all of the nominated films, but alas life got in the way and I only saw a couple of them. The film getting all the buzz this year is Slumdog Millionaire, and it is one that I saw. I must say I loved it! The movie, set in India, was complicated, gritty, suspenseful, endearing and touching. All of the qualities that a great movie should have. This movie, along with the newest addition to my cookbook collection La Maison du Chocolat*, was the inspiration for this chocolate tart with chai caramel. I started with the classic combination of chocolate and caramel, but I added the spices of India to the mix.
Cheers and may your favorite film win!
Makes 6-8 Individual Chocolate Tarts from La Maison du Chocolat:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 1/2 ounces really high quality bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces milk chocolate
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the Chai Caramel by Zoë (I added this to the above tart, because I like the combination and thought the spices would compliment the chocolate!)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon corn syrup (prevent the sugar from crystallizing)
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
4 whole cardamon pods
2 tablespoons black tea, very strongly brewed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch salt (If you like a salty caramel add 2 pinches)
1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
To make the pastry:
Place the butter and confectioners’ sugar in a mixer and blend until smooth. Add the egg and egg yolk one at a time and scrape down bowl after each. Add the flour and mix quickly, do not overwork the dough.
Form the dough into a log that is about 2-inches thick. Wrap really well in plastic and refrigerate for about 2 hours. This can be made days ahead and even frozen.
Once the dough is chilled cut off a 1/4-inch thick slice and roll it very thin, about 1/16-inch.
Place the dough in your individual Tartlet Mold (SMALL FLAN RING or even English Muffin Rings work well). You will get about 6-8 tarts depending on the size of your pans. Once all of your molds are filled, refrigerate the dough and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Fill the chilled dough with foil and Pie Weights ( I use a combination of beans and pie weights. I like the way the weights conduct heat and help with even baking, bu they are expensive so I do a combo!)
Bake for about 20-25 minutes. They are done when they are light golden. Let the tart shells cool at room temperature.
Make the ganache:
Place the chopped chocolate in large bowl. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise down the middle and scrape out the seeds. Put the heavy cream in a sauce pot on medium heat. Place the vanilla bean and seeds in the cream, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate to the cream, remove the vanilla bean. Make sure all the chocolate is submerged in the hot cream. Let sit for about 3 minutes then stir gently until perfectly smooth.
Pour the ganache directly into the tart shells. Don’t fill all the way to the top, you need to leave room for the caramel. If the ganache sets up before you are ready then just spoon it into the tart shells and smooth it out with a small spatula.
Allow ganache to set at room temperature.
Make the chai caramel:
In a medium sauce pot bring the sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil. Be careful not to get sugar on the sides of the pot or you may get crystallization. Without stirring, allow to boil until the caramel just starts to turn color. Add the spices and stir slightly until the caramel turns a nice amber color. I like a darker caramel, but you will determine what is right for you.
Carefully add the tea to the hot caramel. It will sputter so be careful.
Add the butter, salt and then the sour cream.
Stir until smooth. Allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes until it is thick. If you add to the chocolate tart when it is still hot you will melt the ganache.
Spoon the caramel on the tarts.
Using a dry, clean paint brush add the gold leaf to the tart. Sprinkle with a bit of the sea salt.
I served the chocolate tart with chai caramel with a bit of blackberry coulis! Do not refrigerate the tarts or the pastry will get soggy.
Let me know if your favorite movie won!
* Thanks for the beautiful book Jen!!!
Happy Mardi Gras!!! If you flambé bananas on top of this tart you will have the ultimate Bananas Foster! 😉