A Daring Tart
|This month's challenge was simply wonderful and very surprising. At least to me. =)|
Our beautiful hostesses this month are my sis, Veronica and the incredibly sweet Patricia. These two lovely ladies chose the Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart from Eric Kayser's Sweet and Savory Tarts for us Daring Bakers.
I have to admit, (don't hate me Sis!) I was at first tickled when I saw the recipe - but then immediately bummed as well. You see, I am a milk chocolate non-liker type person. It's just too sweet. Pairing it with caramel, of all things, and my teeth were screaming in outrage. All I could think about was how sweet this tart would be and therefore I dragged my considerable arse through most of the month without making it.
I know. I KNOW! I am an idiot. How dare I not trust my Sis and the lovely Patricia? How could I not know that they'd never pick something sickeningly sweet? How silly of me not to realize that the buttery goodness of the caramel layer would completely off-set the sweetness of the milk chocolate mousse? I have no good excuse and I am hanging my head in shame.
'kay I'm over it already. :P
This tart was amazingly good! It was not overly sweet (to us anyway), the sandy crust, the velvety caramel and the creamy mousse were a perfect combination texture wise. The buttery and slightly smoky hits from the caramel were to die for and I believe the whipping cream also lended a hand in taming the sweetness of the chocolate because this mousse had a nice little tang to it. I really enjoyed this tart (too much! *blush*) and so did Hubbs.
All in all, this recipe was pretty easy. We, as Daring Bakers, had already been through the basics of caramel and I had made my first mousse a few months ago so I didn't think I'd have any problems.
Okay well to be honest, it wasn't a huge problem.. but annoying enough to make me call my Baking Guru and leave a panicked message on her cell phone.
*beep* "Hi! It's me! This is my monthly panic call! Where the hell are you? Anyhoo, my fakking caramel has turned into giant clumps and looks as dry as the fakking Mojave!! What the hell do I do now? CALL ME. PLEASE!!!"
Of course she wasn't available. Of course. Just my luck - also known as The Bad JuJu.
You'll notice in this shot, especially, how the mousse is slowly sliding off the gooey caramel.. HAR!
While I waited for her to call me back, I lowered the heat and just kept stirring the sugar until it started to melt again.. in the process it turned into a lovely dark amber and smelled SO GOOD. It took awhile, maybe 5 minutes or so, but eventually and with a lot of stirring, I had perfect caramel.
I added the warmed cream.. she sputtered, she burped, she threatened to overflow - but once she calmed down a bit, I had.. uhhh.. a saucepan full of cream and a big knot of solidified - boulder-like - caramel. WTF? I've made this kind of caramel before and it never did that.. I don't geddit?
So once again.. I stirred.. and stirred.. and then I stirred some more. Finally, it all came together so I could add the butter. Phew!
I baked the filling for the directed time of 15 minutes, but when I took it out it was still pretty liquidy. I figured that a nice long wait in the fridge would solidify it, but unfortunately over 24 hours later, that wasn't the case. It did thicken up to a gorgeous goo - I mean, as gorgeous as goo can be, yanno? - but it did not look anything like the picture Veronica posted for us. Actually, as of yesterday when I finally remembered to take a photo or two, it was still gooey. But I gotta tell ya.. goo is good. Especially when your talking caramel. So even though my filling didn't look like the picture, I was rather happy with it.
I will make this tart again, as I was suppose to bring it to a friend's house the evening of the day I made it, but because it was so liquidy at that point, I couldn't travel with it. I promised him if it turned out, I'd make it again - so next time the only changes I'll make is to bake the filling until I see that it's thickened properly.
A huge thanks to Veronica and Patricia for being lovely hostesses and picking a truly yummy recipe this month! And as always kids.. don't forget to go check out the other NINETY THREE blogs to see what an amazingly creative group of bakers we've got here. =)
PS - My Baking Guru did call me back - about 5 minutes after I put the tart in the oven, and bless her heart, her advice was exactly what I ended up doing.. so I was quite relieved. :D Thanks sweetie! xoxo