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Monday, 22 October 2012

Easy Caramel Tart Recipe

This is pretty much a quick, ultra-rich sugar fix. You can make the caramel the long way, but the key words here are quick and easy.

Shopping list:
Ginger biscuits - 1 pack is fine
Butter (2 x tablespoons for the biscuit base)
Tin of Caramel mix (I used Carnation brand)
Vanilla bean pod
Coconut cream
Ground Nutmeg
Ground Ginger
Ground Cayenne Pepper
Chocolate (1/2 family size bar)

Pre-heat the oven to around 150 C, and oil a small pie tin. A dab of butter works fine. Make sure you do the sides as well as the base, otherwise the result will be a very sticky mess and you won't get the tart out of the tin.

Biscuit base:

Melt the butter and crush the ginger biscuits. I used about 3/4 of a pack, and crushed them by running a rolling pin over them a few times. If you want a very fine crumb, you could blitz them in a food processor, but I like the texture of coarse crumb in this. Mix the crumbs together with the melted butter. You should end up with a damp, but not too wet, mix that holds its shape for a few seconds if you scrunch it together in the palm of your hand.

Press the crumb into the base of the oiled tin, packing it down firmly. You want a depth of around 10mm here, to give the caramel a decent base to rest on without turning into mush.

Pop the crumb into the oven for ten minutes, then leave aside to cool. I put mine into the fridge to cool it down faster; do not add the caramel until this cool.

Caramel process:

Combine the caramel and a teaspoon each of the salt, nutmeg, ginger & a pinch of cayenne pepper. Scrape about an inch of the vanilla pod seed into the mix. Using a fork to mix this is fine.

The caramel mixture will have thinned quite a bit due to the mixing, so let it rest for a few minutes before moving onto the next step.

Add the caramel mix to the biscuit base, and pop it straight into the fridge while you get the topping ready.

The salt and spices just add a bit of dimension to the caramel; you still get an incredibly sweet taste but it knocks it slightly away from just being glorified condensed milk.

For the chocolate topping:

Break the chocolate apart and melt it over a low heat. I used white chocolate, but this is purely personal preference. (*Smart tip - place the chocolate pan over a pot of boiling water - it's way too easy to burn chocolate on direct heat, and that's a horrible thing to do to chocolate.)

As the chocolate melts, add a tablespoon of coconut cream. You could use dessicated coconut here as well, I simply had the coconut cream in my cupboard as it's brilliant for savoury sauces. Scrape out another inch of vanilla seed and stir it into the chocolate.

The chocolate mix is ready to drizzle over the top of the caramel. You can lay it on in a thick coating, but be warned that this will make for a messy experience when slicing the tart up later - the caramel will  remain slightly liquid, and ooze up through the chocolate layer - and will also make the tart almost too sweet to eat. Once the chocolate is on, place it back into the fridge until you're ready to serve it. In this case, serving portions definitely follow the less is more rule.

I meant to add mint to my chocolate mix, but honestly forgot all about it - I'll try that the next time I make it, and see how it goes.

In the meantime, you've got a yummy, sticky treat to try - the ginger biscuits add a texture that cuts through the caramel sweetness, and the base holds up surprisingly well.

Hope you enjoy it!