The Queen of Hearts certainly gets a lot of attention. Songs, nursery rhymes, and Disney villains are centered on her royal presence.
It might be because she's the monarch of the most tender of suits. It might be her circus freak appearance what with her lower torso being a twin who was only half absorbed in the womb, and both wearing matching robes and wimples. Maybe her green thumb, and affinity for tiny flowers?
But, personally, I think it's because we adore her fondness of tarts. I submit the following evidence:
The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts all on a summer's day;
The Knave of Hearts he stole the tarts and took them clean away.
The King of Hearts called for the tarts and beat the Knave full sore
The Knave of Hearts brought back the tarts and
vowed he'd steal no more.
To have your hubby kick the heck out of a guy like he's an old soup can because he stole a tart? I dare you to find a greater example of someone's love for good food.
Now, obviously, the Queen was being selfish. Royalty or not she should share her tarts. That's why the Knave stole them, he was hungry and wanted a taste.
And, really, can you blame him?
I mean, look at this tart. Chocolate, caramel, more chocolate, and salt. What's not to love? Who wouldn't steal a piece? I would totally snag a slice of tart if it were just lying around, but I'd be smart to pack a tazer to take down kingy. And if he wasn't around and I had to deal with the Queen proper, well I doubt something like 5000 volts will take her down. After all, this is her tart we're talking about.
That's dedication you can appreciate.
Now you've probably seen this particular tart around the Internet. First on Saveur, then on Lottie+Doof, and on Eating-SF, but now you're seeing it here. This one is my tart. Actually, my first tart. Ever.
In my desire to learn more about baking I've been trying new things. This tart is a perfect beginner's tart and though it might look daunting, it isn't. Furthermore, avid tart bakers with more experience will appreciate how simply this tosses together for a real wow-factor at any event, enough to even impress a Queen.
Chocolate Caramel Tart
The crust for this recipe comes from Cindy Mushet's The Art and Soul of Baking and served me quite well. The caramel is adapted from Lottie+Doof. The tart recipe as a whole is adapted from Saveur.
FOR THE CRUST:
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup of sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons of Dutch-processed cocoa powder
FOR THE CARAMEL
1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons of salted butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
FOR THE GANACHE
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces extra-bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Sea salt or kosher salt for garnish
1. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and mix on medium for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the egg yolk and beat well.
2. In another bowl whisk together the flour and cocoa powder. Add to the butter mixture all at once. Then mix in at lowest speed until it just comes together (it will have small and medium clumps). Any more and it will become sticky and difficult to work with.
3. Scrape dough into tart pan. Press into the bottom of the tart and outward using the heel of your palm. Use your fingers to pull the tart up the edge. Chill for an hour in the fridge. Reserve a little bit of dough to patch the shell later if necessary.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake tart shell for 15 minutes. Check to see if the dough has cracked, if so patch it with the reserved dough. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on it to ensure it doesn't burn. Cool on wire rack.
5. Make the caramel: In a saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, and water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat until a medium-dark amber color, swirling occasionally. Take off heat and add the cream, butter, and sour cream. Stir together until smooth. Pour into cooled tart shell and let cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge to chill and set.
6. Make the ganache: Bring cream to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream; let sit for 1 minute, then stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour ganache evenly over tart and refrigerate until set, 4–5 hours. Sprinkle tart with sea salt, slice, and serve chilled.
This post extolling the awesomness of this tart was actually written before I found out that Saveur had nominated me for one of their Best Food Blog Awards. I've been nominated amongst some other amazing bloggers for the category of Best Individual Post for the cheese profile on Devil's Gulch.
I do hope you'll all go and vote for me if you feel my post exemplifies the kind of writing you hope to see in a quality food blog. =)