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Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Crunched Caramel Tart

September 29, 2009

This Tuesday, the Tuesdays with Dorie group is baking the Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart, selected by Carla of Chocolate Moosey. With a blog name like that, it’s no surprise that she picked a chocolate recipe! But this is more than chocolate, it’s a tart crust covered with honey-roasted peanut-studded caramel, topped with chocolate ganache.

Tarts2

Tart in a ramekin

What I did: I made half of the recipe and divided it into four ramekins. I’ve used the ramekins for mini tarts before and they work out OK, but I really need to get some mini pans. Here’s the confession: I am not a good shopper. I can go to the mall and not buy anything. I can browse online for hours and not buy anything. I over-analyze everything: What type of pan will be most versatile? What size makes the most sense? Maybe I should research brands. Oh, now I should price-compare. Hmmm…do I really need these? Do I need them now? After all that, I’m tired and end up not buying anything!

How it went:

  • I made the crust two days ahead of time, pressed it into the ramekins, and popped them in the freezer. I baked them the day that I was making the tarts.
  • This was my first time making caramel and I was really nervous. I had visions of burned sugar and a ruined pan, but it turned out great! I followed the instructions to the letter and even decided to skip the optional step of using a thermometer to check the temperature (because that adds to my stress). I ended up with delicious caramel!
  • I didn’t do quite as well with the ganache. It turned out too thin; it was good that I wasn’t trying to slice this because it wasn’t slice-able. It was also a little grainy. I think I messed it up by using half and half instead of heavy cream. I wanted to cut some calories and fat, but perhaps that wasn’t the way to do it. I’m guessing that’s what caused it to be too thin. I’m not sure about the grainy part though. If anyone has any ganache tips, please let me know. Lesson learned: do some research before making a substitution like that.
  • I used the Trader Joe’s honey roasted peanuts, as recommended in the recipe. Holy cow, were those good! I never buy honey roasted peanuts and now I remember why…I cannot stop eating them!
Bubbling caramel

Bubbling caramel

Before adding the ganache

Before adding the ganache

How it tasted: Everything tasted good, on its own and together in the tart. I think the texture would have been better if my ganache was thicker, but it was still very tasty. And I’m just thrilled that my caramel was a success! I loved the crunchy peanuts mixed in with the caramel. My husband’s favorite part was the caramel too.

Would I make this again?: Maybe when I get some mini tart pans, I’ll give this another whirl. I’d like to have a successful ganache experience.

If you’re interested in making this, look on page 355 of Baking: From My Home to Yours. Carla will have the recipe posted on her site too. (look on page 356 for a photo of what this should look like).

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28 comments

  1. I’m so glad that your caramel was a success and that you loved the tart!!

    Over-analyzing might be a good thing when it comes to baking pans – those things pile up (literally) very quickly!

    I have the perfect deep mini tart pans that I bought online: http://pastryitems.com/tart_pans.htm
    They are item 340681 under “tart pan removable bottom-deep fluted tart mold” – 4 inch x 1 1/8 inch. The site is a little tricky to navigate, but I love the tart pans I’ve bought there (I have two other sizes of that same pan)

    The other thing I’ve seen (but don’t have) is a mini-cheesecake pan with individual removable bottoms, which looks pretty versatile.


  2. Your story about shopping totally cracked me up! Glad the ramekins worked 🙂


  3. How pretty… and so much more reasonnable …not to eat the whole thing in one sitting! LOL Bravo!


  4. I love the mini ramekin tarts! Your caramel looks perfect, way to go!


  5. The little minis are cute. The perfect serving size too. Glad they were a hit.


  6. Yum….these look delicious, Jill. So perfect. I don’t think you needed to buy anything extra.:)


  7. Ciao ! I love the ramekins anyway ! Not only I’m not good but the problem is I end up buying the wrong thing !!


  8. Congrats on the success with the caramel! I love that you made minis in ramekins. Great job!


  9. Ganache must have cream – I’ve learned that the hard way too. Another option, though, is to use sour cream. It gives a pleasant tanginess that offsets some of the sweetness. Too bad I didn’t follow my own advice though – my family of critics didn’t like the tart.


  10. Nice idea. Im glad you liked it.


  11. Yummo Jill! My ganache was too thin too – you could slice it, but it was quite gooey and certainly not firm like it was meant to be.


  12. Those look great just the way you made them! I think they look pretty in the little individual ramekins and I know around here, the guys love having their own individual dish of something. Great job! Funny, too, about your husband and the nuts being okay in this…men!!!!


  13. I LOVE your little ramekin tarts! I think an individual desert is so special. I held off buying minis for a while, but went on an Amazon splurge a couple of months ago, getting mini pie plates, tart pans, etc. It really makes Tuesdays a lot better!


  14. P.S., I also have the exact same plate and love it. You have such great taste! 🙂


  15. Ramekin tarts look great. Making minis has just become a part of life when we do sooo much baking.

    Mini tart pans are a must. You will just have to get some. http://www.KitchenCollectioncom or anywhere near??


  16. that should be http://www.kitchencollection.com


  17. I can relate to the over-analyzing problem. Unfortunately, it doesn’t keep me from buying too much.


  18. Minis are a great idea! They’re so cute. I always deliberate over purchases, too 🙂


  19. i think your ramekin variations look so cute


  20. They look adorable in the little ramekins, I’m glad it turned out well for you. I’ve subbed half and half in ganache before and it worked out okay, weird. The mini tart pan I have isn’t great since the bottom isn’t removable. My most indispensable mini pans are my four-inch springform pans (from Sur La Table, I’ve made tons of TWD desserts with them.


  21. Jill – this is great! I love you made caramel for the first time – you’ll be hooked! I love the stuff, and it’s so easy to do a lighter caramel or darker, depending on your taste. I love ramekins – so versatile – it’s a very creative solution!


  22. Congrats on making caramel for the first time. It’s easier than most people think. Your mini tarts look great in the ramekins. I used a 9″ springform pan to make my tart. No tart pan yet.


  23. It looks like we had the same exact experience! I didn’t realize you can use ramekins in place of tart/mini-tart pans – good to know!
    Your chocolate-crunched caramel mini-tart looks really cute and I can’t even tell the ganache is thinner than desired! =)


  24. Mini tarts are a great idea! Maybe if I made smaller tarts I wouldn’t be chowing down on huge slices daily…well, I probably would just chow down on several mini tarts instead. 🙂 Yours look great!


  25. I can never stop eating the peanuts either! Love your minis


  26. Caramel success – congratulations! There shouldn’t be any reason 12/ & 1/2 vs. cream would cause problems with your ganache. Grainy chocolate can be caused if you over heat the chocolate (dark chocolate over 125 degrees F, for example) which is unlikely given that it was melted by the hot cream. I just looked at the recipe and realized I only added 1 cup of cream leaving out the extra two tablespoons, which is probably why mind set up easily. Next time just back off on the liquid, or bump up the chocolate and it should set. I also only added half of the butter, which would lead to a stiffer ganache as well.


  27. I love your little tarts–I think they look delicious.


  28. Now that’s a successful recipe! I love the idea of using ramekins. I’m making this one again this weekend for Canadian Thanksgiving.



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