I always want to challenge my taste profiles and try to expand and challenge them when I can, coming up with new and interesting flavors or ingredient combinations. But I always come crawling back to chocolate and caramel. It’s so easy. It’s so right. You cannot go wrong.
But we’re pumping up the jam with coffee. In all of it: the crust, the chewy salted caramel and the chocolate ganache. It comes in the form of espresso powder in the tart dough, and hot heavy cream steeped with crushed coffee beans and half a vanilla bean (optional). It smells like coffee ice cream and also your favorite coffee shop in 2009. Some of the cream is added to the caramel and the rest is added to the ganache.
Feel free to split this into two days of work. Make the tart dough and chill it, or roll it out and then chill it. You could even fit it into the tin, wrap that really well and freeze until ready to use. There’s also nothing stopping you from baking the shell, wrapping it really well in its tin, then finishing it the next day.
Just bookmark this sh*t now because Valentine’s/Galentine’s is coming up and you’re going to want this I promise. Store it uncovered in the fridge before serving to not disturb the top. You could also overturn a large bowl on it. Allow it to warm up a bit at room temp so the caramel relaxes and doesn’t break anyones tooth off.
Here are some tips for making this Coffee Caramel Chocolate Tart
1. For the ganache, use high quality chocolate and chop it very finely. Don’t skimp on the chopping. Ganaches hate being over-stirred. Especially if there’s too much unmelted chocolate or the cream isn’t hot enough (don’t boil it) continuing to stir will cause it to break. High-quality chocolate tends to melt better and doesn’t have additives that make it seize up or curdle when melted or combined with hot cream. Do not use chocolate chips.
2. Have all your ingredients measured out and ready, especially for the caramel. Adding the cream and butter right when the caramel is deep amber and letting off some smoke will make sure it doesn’t burn. Just keep stirring to avoid things bubbling over.
3. Because of the heavy cream in the ganache, the tart has to be stored in the fridge. But you want to wait 15-30 minutes for the tart to come up to room temperature before slicing and serving otherwise the caramel is liable to break off a tooth.
1teaspoonDiamond Crystal kosher salt1/2 teaspoon table salt
4ouncessemi-sweet chocolatevery finely chopped
Make the tart shell. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and totally smooth. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, salt, espresso powder and cocoa powder, and mix on low just until it all comes together. You will need to scrape down the bowl a few times.
Dump in the flour and pulse just until the dough comes together and starts to ball up in the mixer. You can also make this dough with softened butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; just follow the same instructions.
Scrape out the dough onto a sheet of parchment or a silicone mat. Cover with another sheet of parchment or silicone mat (or even plastic wrap) and roll it out to a big circle with about a 1/6-inch thickness. When you place your tart pan in the center of the dough, you should have about a 1.5-inch border all the way around. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and set a rack to the middle position. Remove the top layer of parchment (or silicone or plastic wrap) from the dough and invert it onto a 9 or 10-inch round tart tin. Peel off the remaining parchment and gently encourage the dough to sink down into the pan. You may have to be patient and let it warm up a bit so it doesn’t crack. Press the dough into the pan and run a sharp knife around the edges to cut off any excess (which you can use to patch any cracks or holes.)
Chill the tart in the freezer until very firm, about 10 minutes. Crumple up one of the parchment sheets and place it in the tart shell. Fill it with pie weights (dried beans or sugar also work well). Bake for 9 minutes, then lift the weights out of the shell, dock holes in the shell all over with a fork, and continue baking for 6 minutes or until it looks dry and totally set. Cool on a wire rack.
Make the caramel. Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them plus the pod to a small saucepan with the heavy cream and coffee beans. Heat on the stove over medium-low just until the mixture is barely simmering, then turn the heat off and cover.
Heat the water, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir just until combined. While that cooks, strain the heavy cream mixture, measure out 1/3 cup (79 milliliters) and set aside the rest. Keep that and the butter nearby.
Once the sugar mixture turns a deep amber color and you begin to see wisps of smoke, remove from the heat.
Pour the 1/3 cup of coffee-infused heavy cream into the caramel, then the butter, stirring vigorously until it comes together. Stir in the salt and vanilla extract (if not using a bean).
Return the caramel to the stovetop and cook on medium-low until a candy or instant-read thermometer reads 240°F. Immediately remove from the heat and pour into the baked tart shell.
Place the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Reheat the remaining coffee-infused heavy cream (should be about 1/2 cup) just until very hot (you can do this in the microwave for about 20 seconds). Immediately pour the hot cream evenly over the chocolate and cover with a plate. Allow to melt for a minute or so, then whisk the two together, starting just in the middle and slowly working your way out. Stop stirring as soon as the ganache is smooth. If the chocolate needs a little more heat to melt fully, microwave the bowl in 5-second intervals. Spread the ganache in a circle on top of the set caramel. Chill in the refrigerator to set completely (about an hour).
Before serving, allow the tart to warm up a bit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Heating up a sharp knife over a stove burner or in some hot water will make slicing super easy.
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