After all the easy and quick recipes, it is time for something more spectacular, in both the looks and the taste department.
Before I get on with the tart though, I want to stress again, even though I state it in my bio, I am not a native English speaker. I have learned English as a foreign language and I am still learning. I hope to be able to write mistake-free one day but let’s not forget we are humans and we make mistakes. So, if you are a big language purist, I might disappoint you. If you are willing to survive language slips, you are in for a tasty treat today.
This tart is special to me. It’s a recent addition to the traditional Easter menu in my family, but one I love and cherish. Besides soured flour soup and vegetable salad, this was something I made for my first Easter in Vienna.
It is a sugar bomb. This tart has no place in any diet, unless you are on a butter diet. Or sugar diet. Then of course you are covered.
But life should not be only about diets and restrictions.
Tart dough is simple when it comes to ingredients, but tricky when it comes to execution. There are a few simple, yet crucial rules:
Keep everything cold – there is a legend that cold-handed people have better chances of becoming excellent pastry chefs. They don’t overheat the dough
Use large chunks of butter
Mix the dough just enough to form small nets of gluten . Don’t worry if you can still see chunks of butter. That is perfect, you want to keep them!
The science behind these tips is quite simple once you think it through. The warmer the butter, the more easily it binds itself with the flour. Fat inhibits gluten development. So we get a more tender, but not flaky result.
On average, butter contains 15 to 20% water. When it softens and melts the emulsion breaks and releases water. Water droplets bind with the flour, developing long gluten strands. This will cause the layers of the dough to stick together. And our pastry will be chewy and elastic. We don’t want that here.
Enough with the science though. Just gather up courage to experiment, fail, and succeed.
- 200 g flour
- 125 g butter
- 8 Tbsp. ice cold water, start with 4 and add more if you really need to.
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 500g non-sweetened condensed milk
- 6 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 60 g butter
- Chocolate layer:
- 150g dark (min. 60%) chocolate (I use 70%)
- 1-2 Tbsp. butter
- Mix all the ingredients together as fast as possible.
- Form a ball, wrap in foil or put it in a zip lock bag. Now leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes
- Heat up the oven to 190 degrees.
- Work quickly with the dough. Roll out the dough to fill a form of a roughly 24 cm diameter. I like to do it in between the sheets of parchment paper. If you over-roll a bit and the paper starts sticking, don’t worry, put it all in the freezer, and you should be able to save it.
- Stab with a fork and if you have them, put some ceramic baking beans on top. That way your dough won’t create a volcano and rise where it shouldn’t.
- Tricky part: try to make it all quick enough so the dough is still cold while you slide it into the oven. If you do that, the water contained in the butter will evaporate quickly. The steam created will push apart the layers of dough and you will reach a perfect flakiness.
- Place all the ingredients in a small pot with thick bottom and simmer on small until it gets thick.
- Stir whenever a skin forms on top.
- At the end, when it gets more and more thick, reaching very creamy consistency, stir all the time. It might mean about 5 minutes of constant stirring at the end.
- Pour, while hot, on the baked, cooled dough.
- After couple of minutes when the layer sets, sprinkle with coarse sea salt. In one of the pictures you can see how much salt I used. This was not enough, we couldn’t feel anything, you can be more generous. Also, I have a feeling coarser salt would do better in this setting.
- Crush chocolate in your hands in small pieces. Put in a small pot, along with butter. Fold with silicone spatula. Make sure to not overheat it.
- When it melts, pour it on top of the caramel layer.
- Leave to cool.
- If you store the tart in the fridge, the chocolate will get very crispy. Let it reach the room temperature before serving to experience the full taste and flavour potential of the caramel layer.