Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Daring Bakers.....Yep, that's right, I said Daring Bakers....
Normally I'm not a big fan of gangs. I don't condone drive-by shootings or hazing or any of that sort of thing. However, every time I watched this "Gang" in action, I knew I had to get in on some of that. Any gang that thinks slinging hot sugar and beating butter and sugar into submission is my kind of gang. So, my "hazing" begins with this, my first challenge as a Daring Baker. Being a member of this gang means being able to challenge yourself once a month with a recipe chosen by a fellow Daring Baker. Everyone has to follow the same recipe as stated by the host. The nifty thing is seeing how each of us interprets the exact same recipe and how everyone ends up with something just a bit different from everyone else. It is definitely a great way to keep pushing one's skills and knowledge, something I'm very keen on. This month's challenge is being hosted by Veron of Veronica's Test Kitchen and Patricia of Technicolor Kitchen. They have chosen to challenge us with a Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart. Now, I'm not the biggest milk chocolate fan, but paired with caramel and a hazelnut crust, really, how can you go wrong? You can't! We were allowed a few changes to the recipe, the only change that I made was to use less cinnamon in the tart crust (I used half the amount stated in the recipe), otherwise I followed it to a T.
Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart from Eric Kayser's Sweet and Savory Tarts
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration time: 1 hour
One 9-inch(24-cm) square pan; 1 10-inch (26-cm) round baking pan
½ lb (250 g) chocolate shortbread pastry (see recipe below)
1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 g) heavy cream (30-40 percent butterfat) or crème fraiche
¼ cup (50 g) butter
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) flour
1 ¼ cups (300 g) whipping cream
½ lb (250 g) milk chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).
2. Line the baking pan with the chocolate shortbread pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes.
My tart dough was nicely chilled for rolling:
The dough rolled out quite well for me:I did have a few areas of the tart that I had to patch up (the dough got a bit warm before I was able to transfer it): The shell is lined with parchment and filled with beans for blind baking: The baked tart shell:
3. In a saucepan, caramelize 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar using the dry method until it turns a golden caramel color. Incorporate the heavy cream or crème fraiche and then add butter. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.
Dry method caramel: Put your sugar in a pan:
do not stir it, just swirl the pan as the sugar begins to melt and you will end up with this: I did nuke my heavy cream a bit before adding it to the caramel, because cold cream and caramel just don't mix well (seizing occurs). Even with the cream already heated, it did seize up a bit on me, maybe that was the butter's fault, but I just let it boil a bit as I stirred:
And I ended up with a beautiful deep amber caramel:
4. In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.
5. Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.
6. Spread it out in the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Caramel layer before baking:
And after baking (at this point I put the tart into the fridge to cool off for about an hour)
7. Prepare the milk chocolate mousse: beat the whipping cream until stiff. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie, and fold it gently into the whipped cream.
8. Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.
My mousse was a bit on the liquidy side, but it did set up nicely after about two hours in the refrigerator:
The tart sliced nicely after being chilled:
To decorate: melt ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar in a saucepan until it reaches an amber color. Pour it onto waxed paper laid out on a flat surface. Leave to cool. Break it into small fragments and stick them lightly into the top of the tart.
Chocolate Shortbread Pastry
Preparation time: 10 minutes
To make 3 tarts, 9 ½ inches (24 cm) square
or 10 inches (26 cm round)
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
4 ½ cups (400 g) cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons (10 g) cocoa powder
A day ahead
1. In a mixing bowl of a food processor, cream the butter.
2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, the ground hazelnuts, and the cinnamon, and mix together
3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing constantly
4. Sift in the flour, the baking powder, and the cocoa powder, and mix well.
5. Form a ball with the dough, cover in plastic wrap, and chill overnight.
This is how my tart dough looked before I put it in the refrigerator overnight:
All in all the tart was pretty good. I think the crust could have been more chocolatey. The caramel filling was nice, but I thought it tasted a bit eggy. Otherwise, I think this was a wonderful first challenge for me and I look forward to many more fabulous Daring Baker Challenges.
If you want to check out how the other Daring Bakers fared, and believe me, you do, check out the Daring Baker Blogroll. You'll see many many talented bakers with beautiful blogs!
Happy Daring Baking!