September 05, 2007

One tardy tart...

By now many of you have read fifty-some stories detailing the saga of the Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart. A bit of bleeding aside, our experience wasn't terribly dramatic.

The shortbread crust came together quickly and without incident. I had the advantage of the collective Daring Baker experience to draw on, so when it crumbled a bit as I pressed it into the tart pan I didn't panic. The result was sensational; I will be adding this crust to my tart shell arsenal.

Have I mentioned how much I love that my guy enjoys the kitchen as much as I do? John agreed to help me tackle the caramel. When he learned that the "dry method" was a challenge for all but the professionally-trained among us, he decided to take it head on.

This is where the minimalist recipe left us the greatest room for error. The instructions read: "In a saucepan, caramelize 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar using the dry method until it turns a golden caramel color."

Google "homemade caramel, dry method" and below fifty some blog entries dated August 29, you get a handful of other hits. Each offers advice on how to make a perfect caramel. No two sets of instructions match. Some say stir. Some say leave it alone. Some make dry caramel using damp sugar.

In the end, John winged it. Stirred the sugar until it melted, turned up the heat slightly until he had a color and a texture he was happy with, then mounted the cream and butter.

Like many of the other Daring Bakers we baked the tart for twice the published duration, then let it cool overnight before adding the mousse component.

And it was in making the mousse that things got a little dicey. John's chopping the chocolate block for melting, and the dialog goes something like this:

J: {expletive} Didn't need that fingertip anyway.
J: Honey, can you come here a second?
D: What happened?
J: Cut myself chopping the chocolate.
D: Do you need me to bring a band-aid?
J: How about a tourniquet?

That got my attention. In the end, the wound wasn't serious (although it still smarts), but the bleeding was profuse. We were able to contain it and move ahead with the mousse, and managed to proceed through the remainder of that task without incident.

I'd found a bar of dark chocolate with hazelnuts that I thought would make a nice decoration tying the components together and I drizzled a bit of dark chocolate sauce over the top of that.

In an ongoing attempt to prevent these monthly challenges from turning into a steady program of weight gain, our taste-testing audience for this culinary experiment were the attendees at a Saturday square dance party. So I can tell you that this travels beautifully and presents well on a buffet. We served it sliced into brownie-sized squares. How did it go over? Nine people asked me for the recipe. I think we have a winner here.

You can find the recipe on Patricia's post or Veronica's. Veronica and Patricia chose this month's confection from Eric Kayser’s Sweet & Savory Tarts, a tome that's found its way to the top of my wish list despite the author's brevity with recipes. Curious how the other Daring Bakers fared with this challenge? Check out their results through the Daring Baker Blogroll.

Resources Used:
Horizon Organic whipping cream
Farm fresh eggs from the fine folks at Vino Noceto winery
Valrhona milk chocolate
Rapunzel Organic Swiss Dark Chocolate with Hazelnuts

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Peabody said...

No more chopping chocolate for him!

SimplePleasures said...

wow! never thought chopping chocolates be that dangerous! love the tart :)

Tartelette said...

Looks great...ouch for that finger!
I love that close up!

Dharm said...

I can almost feel the pain on my own finger. But lets not let that detract from a marvelous job on the tart! I think the dark choc hazelnut topping was a wonderful idea!

Deborah said...

I'm so glad you finally got to do your tart! And it sounds like it was fairly drama free - except for the finger!

Jenny said...

Love the garnish bringing everything together.

Square dance parties sound like fun!

Lis said...

Holy cow.. just when I thought I was so sick of that tart and couldn't possibly ever crave another delicious bite.. well.. you've changed that! I want some of yours and I want it now! :D

Sorry about Hubby's finger.. glad you got the bleeding under control. I hate chopping chocolate for just that reason. Ugh.

Beautiful pictures!!


Quellia said...

Nice work! Hope the finger has healed up nicely - a battlescar to prove to the world that he had conquered chocolate!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh wow what a photo of the tart.
Next gift might be those cut proof gloves!
The site looks great Delores!

breadchick said...

OUCH! Great job on the tart, finger tip incident aside. Glad you went ahead and got it posted!

Aoife said...

What a neat idea for the decoration. It looks beautiful!

The Caked Crusader said...

Great photos - great looking tart!
Love the square flan tin.