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 and Peanut Butter Brownies

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Brownie

Check out this Chocolate and Peanut Butter Brownie recipe that really hits the spot!  Chocolate and Peanut Butter are a match made in heaven for the sweet vs salty flavors and this little recipe is one to impress.  Perfect for morning or afternoon tea, lunchbox treats or just to indulge yourself with something sweet, these are divine!  The original recipe is by the very creative Michelle Southan of Taste and photography by Ben Dearnley.  This recipe has been adapted from the original one by substituting with an alternate peanut butter and using organic dark chocolate along with dutch processed cocoa.

  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 150g dark organic chocolate, coarsely chopped (or plain dark chocolate see original recipe)
  • 100g butter, chopped
  • 215g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
  • 2 tbs dutch processed cocoa powder (or standard cocoa powder see original recipe)
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g (3/4 cup) smooth peanut butter (or crunchy peanut butter see original recipe)
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C / 320F (Fan Forced). Brush a 16 x 26cm or 6″ x 10″(base measurement) slab pan with melted butter to grease.  Line base and 2 long sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang.
  2. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water. Use a metal spoon to stir until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.
  3. Combine the sugar, flour and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add chocolate mixture and eggs and stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan. Spoon peanut butter over brownie mixture and use a round-bladed knife to create swirls.
  4. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes or until crumbs cling to a skewer inserted into the centre. Set aside to cool completely. Cut into slices to serve.  (Optional:  Serve with a scoop of Vanilla Ice-Cream)

 

Michelle Southan’s recipes are always delicious and all I can say is … Enjoy either a slight variation or a fabulous original!

 

Chocolate Caramel Slice

Chocolate Caramel Slice Recipe

This recipe for Chocolate Caramel Slice will fast become a favorite in your home.  It’s perfect for afternoon snacks with tea or coffee.  Perfect for kid’s lunchbox treats or even as an after dinner dessert slice.  In my own humble opinion, it’s got to be one of the most essential little recipes to have in your Chocolate Recipes collection.  This recipe is from the wonderful Lollipop Designs blog which has a great mix of entertaining posts from custom art and design to cooking and diy tutorials.

Please note*  You can substitute White Chocolate instead of the Milk Chocolate or even Dark Chocolate.   Select which Chocolate to use according to your tastebuds.

I hope you enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cakes

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

This Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake not only looks absolutely fantastic, but tastes amazing too.   This fabulous recipe for the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake can be found at Grace’s blog called La Mia Vita Dolce (My Sweet Life).   You can even purchase Grace’s Cookbook titled, Grace’s Sweet Life: Homemade Italian Desserts  Photography by La Mia Vita Dolce.  How gorgeous is that dessert photo!

La Mia Vita Dolce is a real treat for dessert lovers!