A note to my father:
This post is dedicated to you.
To your witty sense of humor.
To your wisdom and advice.
To your ability to just listen when there’s something I need to get off of my mind.
To your never-ending supply of support and love.
Even to those crazy zip-off cargo pants.
And especially to your willingness to eat anything and everything I make for you.
Happy Birthday Daddy! I hope it’s as amazing as you have been for the 18 years I have had the pleasure to be your daughter.
Chocolate Caramel Nut Tart
(a riff on the Caramel Nut Tart from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook)
140g AP flour
227g butter (cold)
165g AP flour
58g water (cold)
Combine the cold butter and first quantity of flour. Using your hands and/or a knife, cut it together so that the butter is about the size of peas (or slightly larger). Add the remaining flour and salt. Mix to combine. Finally add the water. It will seem extremely dry and crumbly. I promise you, you will be tempted to add more water. But have faith, there’s a lot of butter in there to bring the dough together. Just knead it gently and it will eventually form a ball. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in Seran and refrigerate for at least an hour or even overnight.
Remove the brisee from the fridge 20-30 minutes before you are ready to roll it out. Otherwise it’s like trying to roll out a block of ice. Heat your oven to 325F and get yourself a 9 inch tart shell (just the edge, you don’t need the bottom). Then roll out the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper (not only does this keep you counter nice and clean, it prevents the brisee from sticking everywhere). Once it is about 1/8 of an inch thick you are good to go. Place the tart ring on top of a piece of parchment on a sheet tray. Drape the dough loosely over the top, leaving enough excess to press into the corners. After the dough is pressed in, roll your rolling pin over the top to remove the scraps around the edges. Dock the pastry with a fork. Place another sheet of parchment on top and fill it with rice.
Bake at 325F for 20 minutes then rotate and bake another 20 minutes. Remove the rice and parchment and bake another 13-15 minutes until the pastry is completely opaque on the bottom and is slightly golden around the edges. Cool completely before filling.
85g glucose (or light corn syrup)
125g white sugar
100g whipping cream
30g whipping cream
Over high heat warm the glucose/corn syrup. Add the sugar 1/3 at a time to ensure that it dissolves evenly. Cook, swirling occasionally, until it becomes a rich, golden color. If you are using a candy thermometer this equates to 350F. Then remove it from the heat adding in the butter and the first measurement of whipping cream. Stir to combine. Be careful, it will bubble – a lot. Return to medium heat and cook (stirring to prevent it from burning) until it reaches 248F. I didn’t actually have my candy thermometer on me so I used cold water to test it. When the mixture forms a firm ball, it’s done. Remove it from the heat, add the remaining 30g of whipping cream, stir and set aside. If it firms up too much by the time you are ready to assemble the tart, warm it up over medium heat, stirring constantly.
100g 70% dark chocolate
85g whipping cream
Bring the cream to a boil. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir to melt it completely. Set aside. Again, if it firms up too much before you are ready to use it, pop it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Just be sure to watch it so it doesn’t seize.
1 recipe Brisee Dough, prepped and baked
185g mixed nuts, toasted (I used a combination of almonds, cashews, pecans, brazil nuts, pistachios, etc)
1 recipe Caramel Jam
1 recipe Chocolate Ganache
coarse salt and cocoa nibs, as needed
Sprinkle the nuts in an even layer across the bottom of the tart. Pour the warm caramel jam evenly over the top. Let it cool slightly and then dollop on the chocolate ganache, spreading to ensure it completely covers the caramel. Sprinkle from a height with sea salt and cocoa nibs. Store at room temperature (as the caramel will turn rock hard if you put it in the fridge). Slice and serve, preferably within the same day it is made.