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I’m pretty much a sucker for any dessert that combines milk chocolate, caramel and almonds, and this tart is no exception. Looking at the image, you may be wondering where the caramel is – it’s actually in the form of a caramel cream that’s piped on top, instead of its more recognizable liquid guise. The base is a deep chocolate sable dough, with just a hint of coffee in it, while the filling is a rich milk chocolate custard with pieces of toasted almond throughout. Once you pipe the Caramel Cream on top, you will have some left over – I like to use this to pipe a big dollop on each slice, because, after all, there’s no such thing as too much caramel, right?

Makes one 9-inch tart, serving 8

Ingredients


Chocolate Tart Dough

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (28 grams) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon (5 grams) finely ground coffee
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons (141 grams) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large (18 grams) egg yolk

Milk Chocolate Almond Custard

  • 3/4 cup (99 grams) blanched slivered almonds, divided
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) good quality milk chocolate, chopped
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate (70%), chopped
  • 3/4 cup (174 grams) heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup (181 grams) whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy (optional)

Caramel Cream

  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (44 grams) water
  • 1 tablespoon (20 grams) light corn syrup
  • 1 3/4 cups (406 grams) heavy cream, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

Garnish

  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder, for dusting

Instructions


Make the tart dough and shell:

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, ground coffee and salt; whisk gently to combine.
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on low speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolk and mix just until combined. Add the flour mixture in three additions, mixing well after each addition until a dough forms.
  1. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Check to make sure there are no visible lumps of butter in the dough. If there are, smear that portion of the dough onto the work surface until the lumps disappear. Shape the dough into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  1. Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Place the dough into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press it onto the bottom and up the sides. Run a rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough. Prick the bottom of the tart shell all over with a fork and freeze until it is firm, about 20 minutes.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Lightly spray a piece of parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. Line the tart shell with the parchment paper, sprayed side down, letting it overhang the edges by 2 inches, and then fill it with pie weights, beans or rice. Place the pan on a baking sheet and blind bake the tart shell for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and weights and continue baking the shell until it is fragrant and set, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. Place the tart pan on a wire rack and allow to cool.

Make the Milk Chocolate Almond Custard:

  1. Scatter the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Cool completely. Chop ½ cup (66 grams) of the almonds into medium-sized pieces. Set aside the remaining ¼ cup of the almonds for garnish.
  1. Put the milk chocolate and dark chocolate in the bowl of a food processor and process until just finely chopped.
  1. Place the milk, cream and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Bring a boil. Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and salt until blended. Gradually whisk in half of the hot cream mixture. Whisk the yolk mixture into the remaining milk-cream mixture in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the custard is thickened and leaves a trail on the back of the sauce-coated spatula or spoon, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and with the motor of the food processor on, pour the hot custard over the chocolate and process until smooth. Add the vanilla paste and Cognac and process until blended. Remove the bowl from the food processor and stir in the chopped almonds. Scrape the custard into the baked tart shell and smooth into an even layer. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until set. Meanwhile, start making the Caramel Cream.

Make the Caramel Cream:

  1. In a clean, heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook over medium-high heat, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, until the mixture starts to color around the edges. Gently swirl the pan to ensure that the sugar caramelizes evenly, and cook to a medium-dark amber color. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add ¾ cup (174 grams) of the heavy cream – the mixture will bubble up furiously. Once the bubbling has subsided, gently stir the mixture until it is completely smooth. If there are any hardened bits of caramel in the mixture, return the saucepan to medium heat until they have dissolved. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Pour the hot caramel mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  1. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the caramel until chilled, about 2 hours.
  1. Remove the chilled caramel from the refrigerator and gradually stir in the remaining 1 cup cream with a rubber spatula until blended. Place the bowl on the mixer stand and, using the whisk attachment, beat the filling on high speed just until medium-firm peaks form. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #7). Pipe dollops of the Caramel Cream over the Milk Chocolate-Almond Custard, covering it completely (or you can just spoon the topping over the custard and swirl it dramatically with the back of a spoon). You will have some cream left over – refrigerate it to use for serving. Garnish the top of the tart with the reserved chopped almonds.
  1. Right before serving, place some Dutch-processed cocoa powder in a fine-mesh sieve and dust over the tart. Pipe a big dollop of the reserved Caramel Cream on each portion.

Recommended Equipment:


Fat Daddio’s PFT-11 Round Fluted Tart Pan, 11 x 1 Inch

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Tish Boylehttps://pastryathome.com
Tish Boyle is the Managing Editor of Pastry Arts Magazine, a food writer and cookbook author with expertise in baking, desserts and chocolate. A graduate of Smith College and La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine, Tish has written several dessert and baking books including Chocolate Passion, Diner Desserts, The Good Cookie, The Cake Book and Flavorful. Co-writing credits include Payard Desserts and the Grand Finales series of books.

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