Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Daring Baker's Challenge: Caramel Milk Chocolate tart

Bake My Day! Daring Bakers August: Slice

Reading the recipe title this month I was happy! I adore caramel and when I "have" to eat chocolate I prefer milk chocolate; this was so going to be my tart. Original recipe comes from Eric Kayser's Sweet & Savory Tarts. Second reading and visualizing how the tart was going to look had me thinking: Mars bar in tart shape.

Chiching! Program break for a little explanation here: our European Mars bar is known in the US as Milky Way, whereas our Milky Way is your 3 Musketeers, our 3 Musketeers is discontinued long ago and has made a reappearance under the name Curly Wurly which is your Marathon. Your Mars bar? Doesn't exist here... or might be disguised as a Snickers bar with peanuts not almonds. Confused yet? Moohahaha (Evidence can be found here and here) Why all this? Because the good founders of Mars once divided the world in two after a little argument (dad and son didn't get along together for a moment).... That's global thinking avant la lettre folks! Mars bar was invented in the UK, based on the US Milky Way. At one point of time the companies were merged again and there we were, millions of marketing money had gone into branding.... resulting in status quo.
Chiching! End of break, back to the program on hand.

{Gosh! When I digress, I digress good 'n plenty! We were discussing Daring Baker's August Challenge. Milk Chocolate Caramel tart.} OK.

I'll leave the recipe and directions to our wonderful hosts this month: Veronica at Veronica's Testkitchen and Patricia at Technicolor Kitchen and just mention the ingredients here so you'll know what was going on.

Ingredients shortbread dough:
1 cup (250g ) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 g) confectioners’ sugar
½ cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts
2 level teaspoons (5 g) ground cinnamon (optional, omitted entirely forewarned by fellow DB's)
2 eggs
4 ½ cups (400 g) cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons (10 g) cocoa powder
(used our Dutch Droste cocao)
Let us go to the bottom of this and introduce you to another term: P&P as in Patch and Push. I expected the dough to firm up by the rest in the fridge, instead it soaked up every available moisture and came out wet, wet, wet.
I couldn't roll this dough even if I wanted to, and believe me, I wanted it bad! Wasn't going to work. I tried rolling between plastic sheets, rolling between paper, flouring.... Hence the term P&P 'coz that's what I did. Even wetted my hands to will it into the waiting pan! No crimping the edges. Crimping edges, did she say crimping edges? What the f** was she thinking?

Blind baked the shortbread layer, and it came out rather moon landscape-ish, the bottom had risen a bit but not alarmingly so and since it was going to be covered by a caramel layer I wasn't worried. I did use some words however. Nasty words.

Ingredients caramel layer:
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 g) heavy cream (30-40% butterfat) or crème fraiche (used our regular whipping cream)
¼ cup (50 g) butter
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) flour
Caramel was next. Some debate going on using wet vs dry method, I used dry as I almost always do and all went well. Of course when adding the cream to the caramel the whole pan protested loudly to the point of exploding and the melted sugar crumbled and hardened again, no worries there. Make sure you stand away from the pan and let the low heat do it's work and stir stir stir! The cream will heat up and melt the sugar again, lumps disappear and you'll be rewarded by a creamy caramel. Then add butter, I did this off the heat, the remaining temperature will melt the butter nicely in the caramel. Combining the eggs and yolk with the flour was easy, to mix it into the still hot caramel was, let's say, risqué..... First I poured a little stream of caramel into the egg mixture, all the while whisking like crazy, (in Dutch it's called: "making family" in English?) exhale, no scrambled eggs!! Safe to stir egg mixture in the caramel then, resulting in a delicious scrumptious sauce.
Take a spoon and eat. Sorry, slip of the fingers.

Instead after having a spoon or two, three maybe, slap the DH hands, have another spoon, pour in the waiting blind baked crust(s), bake for another scant 15 minutes and let cool.

Ingredients milk chocolate mousse:
1 ¼ cups (300 g) whipping cream

½ lb (250 g) milk chocolate (used Callebaut milk chocolate chips)
Meanwhile melt chocolate in another pan (low low low heat or bain Marie but please make sure there is not a drop of water spilling in the pan or you will be punished with grainy chocolate mush) and whip some more cream to peaks (yes, even more cream). Now here comes a tricky part, we needed to create chocolate mousse but between chocolate being warm and cream being whipped how to proceed? I decided to offer some of the cream to make a "family" again and stir, to prevent to shock the chocolate and deflate the cream. Then I folded one into the other, loosing some of the air in the process but not all.

Bake My Day! Daring Bakers August; square This is where I decided to allow some freewheeling. I mean, there was a lot of caramel sauce and a lot of chocolate mousse and just this one shallow tart pan to fill. I feared overflowing so somewhere in between the above mentioned I fixed (P&P) another shortbread crust. (The amount of dough was said to be enough to make three shells) Divided caramel between the two, let cool for a bit and tried to pipe the mousse.

No way! Too soft to pipe, too eager to finish, not patient enough to let the mousse cool sufficiently, dreading the moment where the mousse would be too stiff to pipe at all. So I smoothed out my piping and decided to comb instead.

Which resulted in a nice Japanese Garden.

Bake

Tranquility in chocolate.

Verdict: 16 people ate the cakes, all but two were positive and liked it. The one? That was me, but I believe you immediately when you say I was biased. You know, I tried and sampled all the components in their not-assembled state and I expected the combined end product to exceed the individual parts of the sum. Like 1+1+1 = 4

I don't think it did. Somewhere between crust and layers some texture was missed. May be the crust too soft to bring out the smooth layers? I cannot say. All I can say is: make that caramel!!
Oh and check out my fellow Daring Bakers on this blogroll! Can't wait to see their stories.

47 comments:

  1. But your cake is Beautiful! Mine is disgusting but I made it at last!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful! The combing looks great!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gorgeous looking cake! Did not expect anything less from you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. LOVE the photograph ....

    Joanna
    joannasfood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Karen,

    That raspberry is the luckiest raspberry in the world! To be sitting atop such a gorgeous slice of tart. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love your commentary. I think I had a sappy smile on my face the whole time. The crust that wouldn't roll, the baked moonscape of the caramel, and the "family" of chocolate and cream were all things that sounded exactly like what I went through -- well, except the rolling. And that last photo? My goodness that, absolutely beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ha - loved the commentary! Your end result looks great, but I'm absolutely in agreement over the whole being less than the sum of the parts. But wasn't that caramel good?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm so glad to know I wasn't the only one that felt like eating the whole caramel mixture before pouring it into the crust. :)

    Your tart looks fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love the combing effect, and the raspberry on top would have cut the sweetness, nice job!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I, too, love the combing effect. Gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  11. wow what a pretty sight! truly your tart is stunning :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. hahahahaa! You crack me up!

    I love the combed effect - and those raspberries are a beautiful contrast!

    Way to go, sweetie!
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thnks Ladies! The raspberries indeed were a lucky strike, they took some of the sweet away while adding a soft tartness, fresh and light. I completely forgot we could decorate with caramel.

    Caramel? Someone mention caramel? SWOON! So good!

    ReplyDelete
  14. LOL!! You are so funny! Loved the explanation about the candy bars! I loved reading the post and looking at the pictures of your beautiful tart!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love the concentric circles. Very zen indeed! It's a coincidence that I was going to do the same thing to my mousse if I couldn't smooth it out properly with my spatula.

    And I've always been confused about the Mars-MilkyWay-EU-US thing. Thanks for setting the record straight.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Nice decoration of the mousse layer. Your tart is a beauty. I use raspberries on mine too, to cut the sweetness.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Lovely post! The combed mousse is so nice. As far as the result, did you try it a couple of days later? The first day the mousse was too soft, but after a couple of days the caramel became more gooey and the mousse stiffer, resulting in a nice contrast. The caramel recipe is one I will surely keep, as you recommend.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love the idea of the comb - and your comparison to a zen garden is perfect! Beautiful job!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well, your comments say it all.
    You really achieved a fabulous top photo: the glass lines making the tart a total STAR! Beautiful job.
    Perhaps the next time we're within touching distance we should stew up a pot of caramel, sit on the flour with a spoon in each hand and see what develops. You think it might be our waistline?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Tranquility in chocolate - love that.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The Zen in chocolate is lovely! Great idea for decorating.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a great idea to decorate this tart the way you did!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Your combing technique is great and you are so funny. I never new any of that stuff about the candy bars. I also quickly made up a smaller tart when I realized the amount of ingredients that had to go into one tart shell that I had already excavated a bit. Nice tart.

    ReplyDelete
  24. At least you are daring enought to try and your finished tart looks delicious with its crown of raspberries!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Heel mooi hoor! Hehe. Looks great! I think the raspberries would have been a good addition to the richness of the tart. Love your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Excellent looking tart! Great job! I love how you made swirls/lines on the mousse... makes it look more slick.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Love the combing look. Serenity indeed! Your post was a great read yet again and I agree on the caramel part...spoonable, drinkable, etc...
    I am like you, the tart left me so-so.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Nice combing! How very zen.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Loved the writeup! your tart looks great. I kind thought the tart tasted like a Mars bar too. I also think you stole my cake serving tray - I have a similar one!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. A beautiful tart.

    I loved your chocolate bar history. I'm trying to figure out which side of the world Australia takes after. Is our Mars Bar a Milky Way, a 3 Musketeer or a Curly Wurly???? We have our own Curly Wurlys - what are they??? I have no idea. I'm a ball of confusion.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Then that's why one of my american friends didn't understand my description of european milky way!

    Love xxx
    - fanny

    ReplyDelete
  32. Your 'tranquil Japanese garden' looks wonderful Karen. Ziet er heel lekker uit.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Love your little digression at the start. How did you get your chocolate mousse to look like that? It's beautiful. Yesterday when I made the tart I would have agreed that I liked the individual flavours but put together not so much. Today having had a piece with a strong coffee for breakfast I'm in love with the tart! Being a Daring Baker never fails to amaze me.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Nice job! The combing is a great effect! it looks beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I remember buying a Mars bar in the UK and wanting to bring it home with me just to marvel at the strange labels. Hee.

    Love the "Japanese Garden" analogy.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hahaha that was a great read! I laughed out loud reading it! Wonderful job, Daring Baker!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love the use of the comb, gives it a really nice finish...well done.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love the effect that you got with the combing.Fab! and the raspberry was such a great idea. Its tartiness cuts the sweetness of the tart a tad.

    ReplyDelete
  39. i agree, somehow, all the parts did not come together into a cohesive whole. but it was still tastey

    ReplyDelete
  40. What a beautiful tart :D. I love the combing on the mousse and the raspberries. Great ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Omg I love the zen-ness of your mousse. Combing it was such a creative idea!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Your tart looks fantastic. How did you get the little ripples on top? It looks so professional

    ReplyDelete
  43. I bet the raspberries went well! I licked my fingers too!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I love the way you tell your tart story! The combed mousse looks GREAT!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Your tart was lovely! And like you, I liked it but it wasn't my favourite thing. I also loved your explanation of all the different candy bars with the same names.

    ReplyDelete
  46. such a pretty tart!! i love the raspberry on top, too. and the combing of the mousse!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting! I really appreciate and enjoy reading all your comments! If you have any questions feel free to email me.