This is my last post before Christmas, and I’ve saved a pretty great recipe for my last of the year. I’m sat on a train from Glasgow Central to Oban to catch a ferry over to the Isle of Mull to see my parents for Christmas. It’s the perfect time to write up a recipe, with lakes disappearing off into the distance out of one window and snow topped mountains out of the other. I’ve just demolished the emergency rations of leftover Salted Caramel Brownie from this month’s cake care package deliveries and it feels apt, as this particular recipe is for a Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, which I baked for our friend Christmas last weekend.
There’s a thick layer of caramel, set firm, topped with a rich chocolate ganache and sprinkled with flakes of sea salt. It’s decadent, but it’s Christmas, or at least that’s what I told myself as I tucked into a slice after already eating an entire large plate of Christmas dinner at Friendmas. The pie went down well, but after we’d all eaten so much food there was some left for me to tuck into the next day while I sat in my pyjamas and watched Christmas films (Miracle on 34th St and Arthur Christmas, if you’re curious). That’s not to say this is only a recipe to be eaten at Christmas. It would work well for any occasion, perhaps you could make it for New Years Eve, a birthday or maybe even a Wednesday?
I’m expecting to not have much access to internet once I’m on the island, as there’s a behemoth of a storm coming through, so this may be the last you hear from me until just before New Years, which is when I return to London to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday and eat an ungodly amount of food at Dishoom’s NYE bash.
- 500g Shortcrust pastry (I used store bought as I was also making a meal for 11 people)
- **For the caramel**
- 180ml Double Cream
- 85g Unsalted Butter
- 300g Caster Sugar
- 120ml Water
- 0.5tsp Sea Salt
- **For the Ganache**
- 120ml Heavy Cream
- 140g Dark Chocolate (Over 70%), chopped very fin
- Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan assisted).
- Roll out the pastry until it will fit into a 9inch fluted pie dish. Transfer it to the dish, push against the edges and cut off some of the excess. Place in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes before baking. While the pastry is chilling, place a baking tray in the oven to pre-heat.
- Line with baking paper, weigh down with baking beans or rice, transfer to the oven and blind bake until the crust has browned (15-20 minutes). At this point, remove the paper & weights, return to the oven and brown the base of the pie for a further 5-10 minutes.
- Remove and leave to cool.
- While the case is cooling, make the caramel filling. Combine the butter and cream over a low heat in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring continuously, until the butter has just melted. Transfer to a small bowl while you do the next step.
- In a medium saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over a low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to high and leave, without stirring, for until it starts to turn a dark brown and the middle reads a temperature of about 140C with a thermometer.
- At this point, remove from the heat and very carefully (it will bubble and steam) pour in the cream mixture, stirring constantly.
- Return to a low heat, cooking for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the sea salt, pour into the pastry dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until it has set (you could do this the night before).
- Next, make the ganache. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan, pour it over the chocolate and leave to stand for at least 2 minutes before stirring to melt the chocolate. If it splits, add a little warmed golden syrup.
- Pour this over the pie, decorate as you see fit (I topped with caramels and some bronzed honeycomb), sprinkle with some more sea salt and chill until set.
Twist: Why not try this with a chocolate shortcrust pastry?