Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramelized Nuts

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramelized Nuts

This absolutely delicious dessert has a buttery shortbread tart crust and is filled with a rich, dark chocolate and garnished with salty sweet caramelized nuts of your choice and sea salt.  Such a fantastic combination of flavors!

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Tart Base

4 oz (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp table salt
4-1/2 oz (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour

Method for Tart Base

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, sugar, zest, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix just until well blended. If the dough seems too soft to work with, let it sit for a few minutes to firm up. Press the dough into a 9-1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Start with the sides, making them about 1/4 inch thick, and then press the remaining dough evenly over the bottom, pressing well into the corners. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or chill until ready to bake (you can make the crust up to 3 days ahead).

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Put the pan on a cookie sheet and bake until the crust is a deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, checking after about 15 minutes to see if the dough has puffed. Press the dough down with the back of a fork and prick a few times if necessary.

Tart Filling

1 cup half-and-half
2 Tbs granulated sugar
Pinch table salt
7 oz semisweet chocolate (up to 64% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Method for Tart Filling

In a small saucepan bring the half-and-half, sugar, and salt to a simmer. Off the heat, add the chocolate and stir with a whisk until completely melted and smooth. Cover to keep warm.

Just before the crust is ready, whisk the egg thoroughly into the chocolate mixture. When the crust is done, lower the oven temperature to 300°F. Pour the filling into the hot crust. Return the tart (still on the baking sheet) to the oven and bake until the filling is set around the edges but still jiggles a little in the center when you nudge the pan, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Caramelized Nuts

1/2 cup salted nuts of your choice (for example: peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts etc)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt

Method for Caramelized Nuts

Line a baking sheet with foil.

Microwave the nuts on high for 1 minute so they will be warm when you add them to the caramel.  Alternatively, heat them in 200°F oven while you make the caramel.

Pour 1/4 cup water into a heavy 3-quart saucepan.  Pour the sugar and salt in the center of the pan and pat it down just until evenly moistened (there should be clear water all around the sugar). Cover the pan and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 4 minutes. Uncover and cook without stirring until the syrup begins to color slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, swirling the pot gently if the syrup colors unevenly.

When the caramel is a pale to medium yellow, less than 1 minute more, add the warm nuts. With a heatproof silicone spatula, stir gently and slowly to coat the nuts with caramel. Continue to cook until a bead of caramel dribbled onto a white plate is reddish amber, about 1-1/2 minutes more. Immediately scrape the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread it as thin as you can before it hardens. When the caramel is slightly cooled but still warm, slide the foil with the caramel nuts into a zip-top plastic bag and seal the bag.  Cool completely.  Chop or crush.

To Serve

Serve at room temperature or slightly cool.  Garnish each slice with crushed salted caramelized nuts along with a light sprinkling of flaky sea salt or fleur de sel.

The tart is best on the day it’s made but may be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.  Once the tart is completely chilled, cover it, but make sure no plastic wrap touches the surface by first putting the tart pan in a larger cake pan. Or cover the tart with an overturned plate.

Serves 12-14

Full credit for this wonderful recipe goes to Alice Medrich and photography by Scott Phillips.

Bon Appetit!

Chocolate-fudge brownies (wheat and gluten free)

Chocolate Fudge Brownies Wheat and Gluten Free

These Chocolate Fudge Brownies are wheat and gluten free and yes you can still enjoy a good brownie without those particular ingredients. These are a real taste sensation for both adults and children alike.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup plain gluten-free flour (we used Orgran brand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150g butter, melted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 4cm-deep, 20cm x 30cm (base) slab pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends.

  2. Sift flours, baking powder and cocoa into a large bowl. Add sugar. Stir to combine. Make a well in the centre. Add eggs and melted butter to flour mixture. Using a metal spoon, mix until just smooth.

  3. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out with crumbs clinging.

  4. Remove from oven. Allow to cool in pan. Lift from pan. Cut into squares.

Go ahead and treat yourself.  You deserve it!

A big thankyou to Kerrie Ray and photography by Mark O’Meara.  To check out the original recipe click here.

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Who doesn’t love chocolate and hazelnut together?  This flourless cake takes advantage of these two flavors and creates a mouth watering cake that is absolutely decadent.

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Ingredients:

  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 150g butter, chopped
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups hazelnut meal
  • double cream, to serve

Chocolate Icing:

  • 300g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cup pure cream

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 20cm (base) round cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper.

  2. Combine chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

  3. Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until thick and creamy. Add chocolate mixture. Beat to combine. Add hazelnut meal. Beat to combine.

  4. Place eggwhites in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Using a metal spoon, stir one-third of eggwhites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold remaining eggwhite through chocolate mixture.

  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre has moist crumbs clinging. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

  6. Make Chocolate icing: Place chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth. Spread over top and side of cake. Stand for 10 minutes or until icing has set. Serve with cream.

To check out the original recipe by Liz Macri and photography by Mark O’Meara simply click here.

Spoil yourself!