Chocolate and salted balsamic caramel tart
Chocolate, caramel and salt is a well proven combination and rightly so. The addition of Balsamic Vinegar adds a subtle enhancement to the partnership, providing acidity and fruitiness, without any increased sweetness. This is a great dessert to make to show off to dinner party guests.
For the pastry:
100g icing sugar
100g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
200 g flour
For the caramel:
300g caster sugar
90g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
75ml double cream
1 ½ tsp sea salt
3 tsp 1.25 Balsamic Vinegar
For the ganache:
115g 70% dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
115ml double cream
Flaky sea salt
For the pastry:
- Sieve the icing sugar, cocoa and flour into a bowl. Add the butter and work with your fingers till you have a breadcrumb like texture. Alternatively, put it into a stand-mixer with a paddle and turn on to a slow speed. Take care, as initially the dry ingredients can be thrown around, so you may want to cover with a towel
- Beat the egg and then add to the dry mix and incorporate quickly, until the mix starts to ball into a dough. Take out, flatten and then wrap with cling film and allow to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Take out and allow to soften. Tear 2 sheets of parchment paper off that are about 5cm bigger than the tart case. Put the dough in between the two and roll out a 1 cm thick circle that is bigger than the tart case. Refrigerate again till firm enough to pick up. peel the paper off and lay over the tart case. As it begins to soften, press it into the tart case, making sure you get right into the corners. Trim the edges with a knife (reserving the trim), prick the bottom of the tart with a fork and then place in the freezer till hard. Heat an oven to 175°C
- Place tart on a baking sheet and line with baking paper or 4 layers of cling film. Fill with baking beans (or whatever you use) and bake until the edges of the tart look dry and crisp, around 15 minutes. Carefully remove the paper/cling film and baking beans. Check for any cracks in the pastry and use the trim to patch them. Return the tart to the oven and bake for another 18 – 22 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Use a medium sized pan and make sure it is clean and free of any stuck on bits. Place the sugar and 75ml of water in the pan and put on a medium heat, gently stirring till dissolved. Do not stir the mixture again. Now cook, swirling gently from time to time, until the mixture starts to turn to a dark golden colour and there are traces of smoke appearing, probably around 6-8 minutes.
- Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the butter, one piece at a time, taking care as the mixture will spit and bubble. Now slowly add the cream and then the salt, stirring all the time to incorporate. When it has cooled a little more, add the balsamic and mix again. Pour into the tart shell and allow to set, which should take about an hour
- Place the chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream up to nearly boiling and then pour over the chocolate, mixing with a spatula until incorporated and looked smooth and glossy.
- Scoop on top of the caramel and spread all over, creating whatever patterns you like. Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt and then allow to set, around 20 minutes. Cut into whatever sized potions you prefer, using a hot knife, and serve.