Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

The exquisite combination of salt, chocolate and caramel has risen to the height of pastry fashion in the past few years.

Ingredients


  • for the sweet shortcrust pastry:
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 100 g chilled butter (cubed, plus extra for greasing)
  • 1 tblsp icing sugar
  • ½ -1 lightly beaten egg
  • for the caramel:
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 100 g chilled butter (cubed, plus extra for greasing)
  • 100 ml double or regular cream
  • 1 heaped tsp sea salt flakes
  • for the chocolate layer:
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g butter (cubed 23cm (9in) diameter x 3.5cm)
  • (1 ¼ in) deep loosebottomed tart tin

Method

  1. Place the flour, butter and icing sugar into a food processor and whiz briefly until the butter is in small lumps. Add half the beaten egg and continue to whiz for another few seconds or until the mixture looks as though it may come together when pressed.
  2. (Prolonged processing will only toughen the pastry, so don’t whiz it up until it is a ball of dough.) You might need to add a little more egg, but not too much as the mixture should be just moist enough to come together. If making by hand, rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs then, using your hands, add just enough egg to bring it together.
  3. Reserve any leftover egg to use later.
  4. With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough until it is about 2cm (3/4 in) thick, then wrap in cling film or place in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. When you are ready to roll out the pastry, butter the tart tin and remove the pastry from the fridge, placing it between two sheets of cling film (larger in size than your tart tin). Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry out to no thicker than 5mm (1/4 in). Make sure to keep it in a round shape as well as large enough to line both the base and the sides of the tin.
  6. Remove the top layer of cling film, slide your hand, palm upwards, under the bottom layer of cling film, then flip the pastry over (so that the cling film is now on top) and carefully lower it into the tart tin. Press the pastry into the edges of the tin (with the cling film still attached) and, using your thumb, ‘cut’ the pastry along the edge of the tin for a neat finish. Remove the cling film, prick over the base with a fork and chill the pastry in the fridge for another 30 minutes or the freezer for 10 minutes (it can keep for weeks like this in the freezer).
  7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
  8. Remove the pastry from the fridge and line with foil, greaseproof paper or baking parchment, leaving plenty to come over the sides. Fill with baking beans or dried pulses (all of which can be reused repeatedly), then place in the oven and bake ‘blind’ for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry feels dry in the base. Remove from the oven, take out the baking beans and foil/paper, brush the base of the pastry with any leftover beaten egg, then cook in the oven for another 3 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  9. Meanwhile, make the caramel. Put the sugar and 75ml (3fl oz) water into a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the butter, stirring to melt, increase the heat to medium and allow to bubble away, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is a light toffee colour.
  10. Mix in the cream and sea salt and boil for another 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. Allow to cool.
  11. To make the chocolate layer, whisk the sugar, eggs and egg yolks until thickened and creamy in colour. Gently melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water), leave to cool for a minute and then add to the sugar and egg mixture, whisking until smooth and glossy.
  12. Spread the caramel over the cooled pastry base and spoon over the chocolate mixture, spreading it evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes or until it is almost set but still a bit wobbly. Allow to cool in the tin for 40-45 minutes before removing from the tin and serving in slices.
  13. This recipe and many more are available in Rachel's book, 'Rachel Allen: Entertaining at Home', published by Harper Collins.




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