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Dark chocolate, salted caramel and hazelnut tartlets with chocolate crunch and cremeux

Chocolate, Salted Caramel And Hazelnut Tarts

Servings 6
Author Domestic Gothess

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 200 g (1 + 2/3 cup) plain flour
  • 20 g (3 tbsp) ground hazelnuts or almonds
  • 40 g (1/3 cup) icing (powdered) sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • approx 1 tsp ice water

Hazelnut Salted Caramel

  • 125 g (4.5 oz) hazelnuts
  • 225 g (1 cup + 2tbsp) caster sugar
  • 25 ml (1.5 tbsp) water
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) whipping cream
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) butter
  • 1/3 tsp flaky sea salt

Chocolate Crunch Layer

  • 80 g (3 oz) waffle cones, crushed into small pieces or feuilletine
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) milk chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt)

Chocolate Cremeux

  • 125 g (4.5 oz) dark chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt 70%)
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) full fat milk
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 45 g egg yolks (about 2 large/3 small)
  • 25 g (2 tbsp) caster sugar
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) butter
  • cocoa powder for dusting

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry, place the flour, ground nuts, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and vanilla bean paste and blitz until it forms fine crumbs. Add the egg yolk and pulse until the pastry comes together, adding the tsp of ice water if needed; do not overmix. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead very lightly just until it is smooth; form into a thick log, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Slice the chilled log into 6 even pieces, roll each one out on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to line an 8-10cm deep tart tin. Line the tins, pressing the pastry right into the corners and leaving any excess pastry overhanging. Place the tins on a baking tray then chill in the fridge for 30 mins or so.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line each tart case with a piece of baking parchment and fill with baking beans or dried rice, making sure that it goes right into the corners. Bake for 15 minutes then remove the baking beans and parchment and return the tarts to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden and baked through.
  4. Leave the tarts to cool a little in the tins then carefully trim off the excess pastry with a very sharp serrated knife. Remove the tarts from the tins and set aside.
  5. For the hazelnut salted caramel layer, place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes until the skins have darkened and the nuts are golden. Tip them out onto a clean teatowel and rub them vigorously with the towel, the skins should flake off but don't worry if you can't get rid of all of the skin. Roughly chop the nuts and set aside.
  6. Place the sugar and water in a deep, wide, heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat, swirling the pan (don't stir it), until the sugar has melted and turned a rich golden brown; meanwhile, heat the cream, butter and salt together in a small pan until hot but not boiling. As soon as the sugar has turned golden, quickly remove it from the heat and pour in the cream, it will bubble up violently so be careful.
  7. Once the bubbling has subsided, stir until smooth; you may need to return the pan to a low heat for a couple of minutes if there are any lumps of caramel. Set aside one third of the caramel for drizzling over the finished tarts and stir the chopped nuts into the rest. Allow to cool a little then divide it between the tart cases and place them in the fridge until the caramel has set.
  8. For the chocolate crunch layer, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (don't let the base of the bowl touch the water), or in short bursts in the microwave. Stir in the crushed waffle cones or feuilletine until they are fully coated in chocolate. Divide the mixture between the tarts, spreading it out into an even layer, return to the fridge until set.
  9. To make the chocolate cremeux, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Put the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Gradually pour the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the yolks don't curdle.
  10. Return the pan to a low heat and stir constantly until it coats the back of a spoon (82-84C/180-183F). Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve onto the chocolate, mix until smooth then add the butter and stir until melted.
  11. At this point you can either allow the cremeux to cool then pour some onto each tart while it is still fairly runny and spread until it is smooth, or you can do as I did and place it in the fridge until it has become firm enough to pipe (keep an eye on it, you don't want it to become too firm) then transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a large, plain nozzle and pipe dollops of it on top of each tart.
  12. Allow the tarts to come up to room temperature before serving, then dust with a little cocoa powder and drizzle with the remaining salted caramel sauce.

Recipe Notes

1. You will need six 8-10cm deep round tart tins.
Adapted from Patisserie Made Simple by Edd Kimber