Caramel cream Easter tart

April 17, 2019

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.