It’s hard to believe how the last few weeks have flown so fast – Christmas and New Year’s looks like a really long time away. The semester’s started in full swing, and as I settle back into my normal work routine, I can’t believe there are still so many recipes and foods from over the holiday season that I want to blog about! I miss all the wonderful food I had in Seattle and Portland and I can’t wait to write a blog post about the wonderful (and fattening, haha) food that I had in Portland, and what a great food truck culture that city has, but that will have to wait for another day.
Over Christmas, one of the gifts that I got was a tart pan, so I decided to make this tart whose recipe I’d been eyeing since last Christmas actually. So far an indulgent New Year’s day dinner, we decided to make this chocolate caramel macadamia nut tart – I didn’t have the requisite amount of macadamia nuts, so I used a mixture of pecans and macadamia nuts. This tart is actually on the heavier side, so I’d recommend cutting it into really small pieces while serving – one can easily serve at least 8 helpings from this 9-inch tart. The macadamia nuts combined with the salt in the caramel give it more of a salty flavor, which goes really well with the bittersweet chocolate. If you’re looking for a less salty flavor, I’d recommend scaling down the salt in the pie crust. My main word of caution before setting out to make this – read through the entire recipe once! It’s quite time-consuming, and will probably be hard to complete if you just start a few hours before you intend to serve it.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2009
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon (or more) ice water
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt 70% cocoa dark chocolate)
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted macadamia nuts (about 7 1/2 ounces), toasted , coarsely chopped
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Vanilla ice cream (optional)
- Blend flour, powdered sugar, and salt in processor.
- Add butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1 tablespoon ice water and blend just until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if mixture is dry.
- Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Using lightly floured fingers, press dough firmly and evenly onto bottom and up sides of pan.
- Chill crust 1 hour.
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights.
- Bake crust until pale golden around edges and sides are set, about 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and beans; bake until crust is golden and cooked through, about 14 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool crust completely in pan.
- Bring cream to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until smooth.
- Spoon 3 tablespoons ganache into 1 corner of small resealable plastic bag and seal; set aside at room temperature for piping. Spread remaining ganache evenly over bottom of crust. Sprinkle chopped macadamia nuts evenly over ganache layer in crust. Freeze crust while preparing caramel filling.
For caramel filling:
- Combine sugar and 1/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
- Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is golden amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
- Add cream and butter; stir until any caramel bits dissolve and mixture is smooth.
- Attach candy thermometer to side of pan and bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat. Boil without stirring until thermometer registers 210°F, . Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla and salt.
Assembling the tart
- Remove crust from freezer. Working quickly, pour caramel filling into crust. Gently shake tart pan to allow filling to settle evenly in crust. Cool completely at room temperature, about 3 hours. Remove crust from freezer. Working quickly, pour caramel filling into crust. Gently shake tart pan to allow filling to settle evenly in crust. Cool completely at room temperature, about 3 hours.
- Place reserved resealable plastic bag with chocolate ganache in microwave and heat in 5-second intervals just until smooth and pourable. Using scissors, cut off very small tip from corner of bag with ganache. Pipe ganache decoratively over caramel filling in crosshatch pattern. Chill until chocolate is set, about 20 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled. Bring tart to room temperature before serving.
- Remove sides from tart pan. Place tart on platter. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.