Sometimes you need a luxurious dessert and when that need comes a chocolate, hazelnut and salted caramel tart is the answer.
Can I be honest? This tart was a bit of a pain to make. Or if I’m being actually honest, I just kept messing up and making stupid mistakes. My pastry was impossible to work with and ended up being like a patchwork quilt in the tin. I took my caramel off the hob too early so it didn’t develop the gorgeous amber colour it should. And my ganache split. Like legit turned into an oily goopy mess.
But I managed to make it through, and produce something that I actually really loved!
I mean the combination of chocolate and salted caramel was never gonna be too bad right?
Chocolate pastry isn’t something I work with too often, so for me some practise is definitely in order. Due to the high fat content in the pastry it is trickier to work with, but if you roll out the pastry between two pieces of baking paper you should be okay! The recipe is a variation on my usual sweet shortcrust and is perfectly buttery and crumbly. Your pastry chilling time is the longest part of the recipe too, as the caramel and ganache are super quick!
Now a chocolate, hazelnut and caramel tart is good. But a chocolate, hazelnut and salted caramel tart? Now thats a winner.
The salted caramel is my go-to recipe. Its foolproof – well, unless you take it off the hob too soon! Doh! Golden syrup, sugar, water, cream and butter is all you need to get a gorgeously rich caramel. With the vanilla and flaked sea salt giving it that winning edge. I find my caramel needs about 10 minutes to get to the perfect consistency and colour, but make sure you watch it! I managed to unstack the dishwasher and half re-fill it in the time, but make sure you swirl the pan every now and then too. No stirring! Just swirling 🙂
The final element to the tart is the ganache. Ganache is a simple thing, but when it goes wrong it can look horrendous. If you’ve split ganache before you’ll know what I mean, but the oily/watery ness just looks so grim. It looks bitty too, and if you touch it doesn’t stick to you like chocolate normally would.
To avoid this, don’t overheat your cream!! But if you do overheat it like I did – too busy finishing stacking the dishwasher!! Its not the end. Get out your hand whisk and give it a good beat to try and emulsify the ganache. Or like I did, warm some milk slightly and whisk a little in. Soon you’ll have a smooth and shiny ganache again.
I must add just a little mention to the hazelnuts, which sit between the caramel and ganache! They provide a really welcome texture crunch, and hazelnuts go so well with caramel that it really was a match made in heaven!
I hope you enjoy the chocolate, hazelnut and salted caramel tart and it gives you less stress than it did me! All my taste-testers enjoyed it very much. Even my Dad, who isn’t usually a sweet-tooth! Perhaps its the bitter dark chocolate that helped, or he was just being kind…!
Chocolate, Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Tart
160g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
40g cocoa powder
15g ground almonds
35g icing sugar
pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, diced and chilled
1 large egg yolk
150g caster sugar
2tbsp golden syrup
113ml double cream
2tbsp unsalted butter
1tsp vanilla extract
flaked sea salt to taste
50-75g finely chopped hazelnuts
340g dark chocolate
295ml double cream
cocoa powder to dust
To make the pastry: Combine the flour, cocoa powder, almonds, icing sugar and salt in a large bowl. Then run in the butter, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and mix together until the dough just starts to come together. If the pastry isn't coming together, add 1tbsp of ice-cold water. Then tip out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead together until it is a uniform dough. Shape into a disc or a rectangle depending on your tart tin and wrap in clingfilm. Then chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Roll out your dough between two pieces of baking paper, until it is big enough to line your tin. Press into the tin, trimming off any excess and return to the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Then bake for 25 minutes, then remove the baking beans and paper and return the tart to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin.
To make the caramel: Combine the sugar, golden syrup and water in a medium heavy-bottomed pan and place on a medium-high heat. Occasionally swirl the pan so the caramel doesn't catch. Once the caramel starts to deepen in colour (this should take about 10 minutes), remove from the heat and whisk in the cream. The mixture will bubble up so be careful. Add the butter whilst continuing to stir until melted. Finally, add the vanilla and salt to taste. I added about 4 large pinches - but I do like mine quite salty! Leave to cool for a few minutes in the pan, and then pour into the tart shell leaving a little behind for decoration on top. Sprinkle over the crushed hazelnuts and then return the tart to the fridge for 30 minutes. The leftover caramel can be put into a heat-proof bowl, covered with clingfilm and put into the fridge.
To make the ganache: Break up the chocolate and place into a heat-proof bowl and set aside. Then heat the cream in a small pan over a medium heat - do not let it boil as your ganache will split! Then pour over the chocolate and stir until it is combined and you are left with a smooth and silky ganache. Pour into the chilled tart case and return to the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Finally, to decorate dust over cocoa powder through a sieve and using a piping bag, pipe the remaining salted caramel in any design you wish.
Keep tart refrigerated for best results.