Belula

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Tart

Belula November 09, 2015
Closeup shot of one slice of salted caramel tart topped with chocolate ganache

Ever since I can remember I've loved baking. Always. Since approximately the age of 11 years old I have been in charge of birthday cakes at home. My repertoire was limited yes, but very very good.

At the time I stuck to Argentinean classics: lemon meringue tart, Rogel - our version of millefuilles: 10 or 12 layers of thin crunchy crust filled with dulce de leche and covered in Italian meringue, strawberry tart, the "Bombe" – fudgy brownie, dulce de leche, Chantilly and Italian meringue, and finally the "Havannet".

The Havannet has its own particular story. When I was little one of the best times was when my dad had to travel to Mar del Plata (a city on the sea coast, 4 hours away from Buenos Aires, where I used to live), or when we got to go there on vacation. Because in that glorious city lived the King of Alfajores: HAVANNA.

At the time Havanna was a store that made "alfajores" and a very special little pastry called "havannet". These where little cones composed of a base of shortcrust pastry, dulce de leche and the whole thing was dipped in chocolate. Perfection really. And at the time, you could only buy them in Mar del Plata, nowhere else.

So you can imagine how happy a little girl could be when she would receive a box of alfajores and a box of havannets? The answer is over the moon! Plus it was a commodity, it happened rarely. I remember making them last as long as possible, or at least trying to. A treasure really.

Nowadays there's a Havanna store almost on every other corner, so it's not as exiting when you eat an "Alfajor Havana"; because they have first and last name.

Going back to havannet, someone decided to make it into a tart. A genius person I must say! So there are as many recipes for this dessert as there are bakers. I would like to share mine with you.

Over the years I've changed the crust recipe as many times as I have made this tart, but I think I have found "the one" now. I found it in Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery Cookbook. It's just perfect. However it is not in my opinion the key to success when preparing this deliciousness, the balance between the layers is! You want a thin crust, really thin a nice generous dulce de leche filling, and chocolate ganache to top it all off that should me as thick as the crust.

Finally, I gave our classical Havannet a slight twist: I replaced our dulce de leche, for salted caramel. It was a brilliant decision. Make it for yourself and tell me what do you think! I hope you'll agree.

Pouring the salted caramel into the tart shell
90° shot of the salted caramel tart filled with salted caramel
90° shot of one salted caramel tartelette

And to make things even better, the shortcrust pastry I used is hands down the bust pate sablée recipe out there. Really. Thank you Chef Thomas Keller. Life is definitely better with your tart dough recipe in it!

For the shortbread crust recipe, see Shortbread Crust.

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Tart
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours

Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition: 383 cal
Cuisine: French

Ingredients

Salted Caramel

  • Water 45 ml
  • Sugar 200 g
  • Butter or unsalted 50 g
  • Cream liquid 120 g
  • Vanilla Beans 1
  • Sugar 70 g
  • Salt or fleur de sel, if you did not use salted butter 1 pinch

Chocolate Ganache

  • Dark Chocolate 70% 70 g
  • Cream 90 g
  • Butter 10 g

Procedure

  • Salted Caramel

  • 1. Dice the butter and add the pinch of fleur de sel or salt.
  • 2. Over a low heat warm the cream and sugar together.
  • 3. Mix sugar and water in pot. Cook over high heat until the caramel starts to change its color to caramel color, and soon after that it starts to fume (you need to be paying attention, because it is a very light fume or semi-smoke). Whisk in the butter with the salt. Remove from the heat, and pour the hot cream into the caramel whisking at the same time.
  • 4. Let the caramel sit for a few minutes, until there are no more bubbles.
  • 5. Pour the caramel onto the cooled of tart crust leaving 2 mm to the border. We need place for the ganache!
  • 6. Place in the fridge for about 2 hours - until the caramel has set and cooled down.
  • Chocolate Ganache

  • 1. Cut the butter into cubes.
  • 2. Cut the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
  • 3. Heat the cream (it doesn't have to boil), and pour it over the chocolate. Let it rest for about 3 minutes. Using a small whisk start stirring very slowly at the centre of the bowl. Once you notice that the color begins to change, meaning that the chocolate and cream are coming together nicely, you can speed up your movement!
  • 4. The most important thing when making a ganache is: keep your whisk really perpendicular to the chocolate/cream mixture, and mix really slowly. This will result in a really smooth, free of bubbles, shinny ganache!
  • 5. Add the butter and mix until combined.
  • 6. While the ganache is still liquid pour onto the caramel tart and spread evenly over the surface. To do this pick up the tart with both hands and tilt it slightly so that the ganache evenly distributes over the tart. Use circular movements.
  • 7. Let the ganache sit at room temperature until it has set.
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