Or better still the title of this post should be Oh. My. Goodness. Because that’s what I said when I bit into this luscious caramel tartlet covered with a thick layer of dark chocolate and then sprinkled with some nutty cacao nibs.
Yield: 1 10 inch tart or 24 small tartlets
- To make the tart dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Add egg yolk and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Sift in flour and cocoa powder, and beat on low speed until just combined. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and form it into a disk; wrap well. Chill until firm for at least 1 hour. You can keep this refrigerated upto to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C. On a lightly floured surface, roll the tart dough 3/16th inch thick and cut out dough with a round cookie cutter that is slightly larger than the tartlet mould. Transfer it to the mould and press it in gently, especially the corner of the base so that it fits securely. Alternatively, you could make a 10 inch large tart as well. Just roll the dough out in a circle and transfer the fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press into pan. If it falls apart at all just push it back together in the pan. Chill the tart shell in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Prick the shell all over with a fork. Blind bake for 10-15 minutes until done. Let it cool for another 10 minutes or so before removing the tarlets from the moulds. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool. (The tart shell can be made 8 hours ahead.)
- To make the filling: Place 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan. Add sugar and corn syrup, and cook mixture over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it becomes a dark-amber caramel (I removed it when it was sort of a medium amber since I knew it would continue to cook off heat), about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and carefully (the mixture will bubble up) and slowly add the heavy cream followed by the butter and crème fraîche. Stir until smooth. (The caramel can be made up to 5 days ahead and refrigerated in a covered container.) Pour the caramel into the cooled tart shell and allow to set, first at room temperature and then in the refrigerator.
- To make the chocolate layer: Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Add two tablespoons of milk for a softer texture. Spoon this over on individual chocolates and immediately top with cacao nibs or sea salt, whichever you prefer before the chocolate sets. Serve!