This was probably by far the most time consuming dessert I've made. It really was relatively simple, but took a looooong time, lots of steps, cooling, heating, cooling again, etc.
It won't take quite as long next time; I made three tarts tonight, and made the caramel twice, feeling it out the first time, just in case. I bought a new candy thermometer, and still, it was ready about 15 degrees before what the recipe calls for.
This is the second time I've made caramel, and it turned out great. Very smooth and buttery! The crust was so easy, a chocolatey cookie-like dough that released very easily from the pans.
This is a VERY rich dessert. Definitely needs to be paired with an espresso macchiato or a giant glass of ice cold milk!
This recipe was originally the cover picture of Saveur's April 2009 issue. It was so impressive looking I knew I'd have to make it sooner or later. It was featured in the article "Restaurants That Matter", and comes from Marlow & Sons Restaurant in Brooklyn.
For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the Caramel:
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 tbsp. geavy cream
1 tbsp. * creme fraiche
For the Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Make the crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until mixture is pale and fluffy; mix in yolks, and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients. Transfer dough to a 9" fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press dough evenly in bottom and sides of pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prick the shell all over with a fork and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.
Make the caramel: In a 1-qt. saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 6 tbsp. water and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted reads 365 degrees.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, cream, and creme fraiche (the mixture wil bubble up) until smooth. Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate until firm, 4 to 5 hours.
Make the ganache: Bring cream to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream; let sit for 1 minute, then stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth.
Pour ganache evenly over tart and refrigerate until set, 4 to 5 hours. Sprinkle tart with sea salt if desired, slice, and serve chilled.
* Creme fraiche can be made simply by whisking equal parts sour cream and heavy cream. Use immediately or let sit at room temperature to sour.