Friday, December 17, 2010

Salted Butter (Caramel) Tart

I made this salted butter tart for my birthday at the beginning of this month.  The finished product was very good, but I messed up the caramel the first time around, and had to throw it out.  The recipe calls for a "rich, dark caramel color", so I kept cooking it, and then I smelled that awful burnt sugar smell, and sure enough, the caramel tasted burnt and terrible as well.  :(  I was quite sad, and was about to give up, when my husband came in and helped me start over on the caramel.  The second time around, I did not cook it very dark.  When you add the cream, it doesn't really lighten the color at all, so the mixture will be as dark as it is before the cream is added.

The crust was ok.... if you have a fave tart crust, I'd go ahead and just use that.  The recipe calls for making two crusts, basically, and saving the other one for later, but I didn't want to have two crusts and use extra ingredients, (um, like my buttah!) so I cut that recipe in half.  In doing so, I had to cut an egg in half, and whenever I have to do that in baking, I always go with the yolk.  Because I had to cut the recipe in half, my measurments are in both (or either/or) grams and cups... sorry!  I had to use my scale for this one.

In the end, this tasted so good that it was worth the hardship of me messing up the caramel.  :)  I LOVE caramel, so this was pefect for my birthday.  It was very sweet though, so a little sliver goes a long way. 

Salted Butter Tart

1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of fine sea salt
2.5 ounces cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg yolk
1 ounce superfine (caster) sugar

1 1/4 cups (9 ounces) superfine (caster) sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) salted butter, diced
1 cup whipping cream
Lightly whipped cream, for serving

Make the pastry:

1. Combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles very coarse bread crumbs. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and sugar. Pour the egg mixture over the flour-butter mixture and mix with a fork. Squeeze a bit of the mixture between your fingers. If it holds together, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface; if not, add a couple of teaspoons of ice water and test again. Knead gently and form into a ball, divide the pastry in half, and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

Make the tart

1. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and line a 9-inch or 9 1/2-inch (23-cm or 24-cm) tart pan. Prick the base of the tart with a fork and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

3. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet. Line the tart with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans. Bake until the pastry is just set, about 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and continue to cook until the pastry is a dark golden color, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the tart to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

4. Combine the sugar and butter in a deep, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir to mix and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter and sugar caramelize, 10 to 15 minutes. The sugar and butter will go through several stages. First it will look like a flour-butter roux, then it will appear curdled, and then the butter will leak out of the sugar mixture. Don’t worry: It will all come together in the end.

5. While the caramel is cooking, pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.

6. Keep stirring the butter-sugar mixture, watching carefully as it begins to caramelize and remembering that the heat in the pan will continue to cook the caramel once it is removed from the burner. You want a rich, dark caramel color, but you don’t want to burn the mixture, which will give it a bitter taste. (Don't let it get too dark!!!)  When the caramel reaches the right color, remove the pan from the heat and slowly and carefully pour in the cream; the mixture will bubble and spit. When the caramel stops bubbling, return it to low heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the caramel in the cream. Remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool for 10 minutes. Slowly pour the cooled caramel into the baked pastry shell and chill the tart for at least 2 hours.

7. This tart is easier to cut when it is chilled. Remove the tart from the pan and, using a wet knife, cut it into wedges. Serve the tart at room temperature, however, for maximum flavor, with a dollop of whipped cream.
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Linda said...

What a glorious looking pie! Just the name alone is wonderful, but your pictures look so delish!

Is it chewy or kind of melt in your mouth?

LadyJayPee said...

I want a BIG sliver! :D