Well, I did it. Ten posts in ten days for Thanksgiving. I don’t know why I did it, but like a lot of things I do in my life, I guess I did it for the rush I get when I bite off a little more than I can chew, than start furiously chewing. I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, I think I’ve said that before. Not the sky diving type, but more like the “I think I wanna do stand up comedy” type. I cower at physical risks, (hate flying, clutch the handrail when I go down stairs). I’m not a daredevil, but can hang with the Hemingways when it comes to taking on a creative, intellectual or emotional challenge. I have loved this project because it had my heart in my throat for the past week and a half…and gave me a sense of purpose each day to get the job I set out to do done. And I left this sweet reward for last because I knew I’d feel, by the end of this effort, like I deserved it!
As I messed up my kitchen again for the 10th day in a row, this time with butter and confections sugar….
…that I creamed in the mixer, then added cocoa powder and flour to form a creamy dough….
…that ended up at a beautifully baked pie shell…(and a mini one so I could taste…make that so my husband could taste without cutting into the finished pie, which I’m saving for tomorrow)…
…that got filled with creamy, buttery caramel…
and then when cooled, got a decadent layer of chocolate ganache….
So that it finally looked like this…
…and I thought…I am so thankful. When the pie was done, and the kitchen cleaned, and I had finished the photos, it hit me that I am so plainly and utterly grateful to be alive and to have the opportunity create this feast for my family’s Thanksgiving, and for you all. I’m humbled to feel my torn and healed heart in my throat, nervously, but healthily pounding and will undoubtedly spend the rest of my life ( a long, long life, I hope) taking on equally foolish and delicious challenges just so I can hear that glorious sound. Happy Thanksgiving!
Chocolate Caramel Tart
Adapted from Marlow & Sons Restaurant, NY via The New Comfort Food, edited by James Oseland
FOR THE CRUST
1 1⁄2 cups flour
1⁄4 cup plus
1 tbsp. dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks, preferably at room temperature
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
FOR THE CARAMEL
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
3 tbsp. light corn syrup or Lyle’s golden syrup or brown rice syrup
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. crème fraîche
FOR THE GANACHE
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Gray sea salt for garnish
1. Make the crust: Heat oven to 350˚. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until mixture is pale and fluffy; mix in yolks and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients. Transfer dough to a 9″ fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press dough evenly into bottom and sides of pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.
2. Make the caramel: In a 1-qt. saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 6 tbsp. water and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 340°. Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, cream, and crème fraîche (the mixture will bubble up) until smooth. Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate until firm, 4–5 hours.
3. 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. Serve chilled.