Chocolate and salted caramel tart with pecans – recipes and wine pairings

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This is by far one of my favourite chocolate desserts. The mere mention of the intense dark chocolate ganache combined with the soft caramel centre, incased in a crumbly sable topped with crunchy sugared pecans just makes me salivate.

Ingredients:

To prepare the pastry:

• 170g plain flour

• 15g cocoa powder

• 25g caster sugar

• 100g cubed butter

• 2 egg yolks

To prepare the caramel filling:

• 150ml double cream

• 40g unsalted butter

• 160g white sugar

• 90ml water

• ½ teaspoon of sea salt

To prepare the Chocolate Ganache:

• 160ml double cream

• 140g roughly chopped dark chocolate

• To prepare the topping (optional):

• 150g pecan nuts halves

• 3 tbsps white sugar

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C

1. To prepare the pastry: Pour the flour and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and the butter and rub all together with your fingertips (or pulse with an electric mixer) until it resembles fine crumbs. Mix in the egg yolks to gradually create a ball; add a little cold water if needed.

2. Lightly knead the pastry and roll out on a lightly floured surface. This pastry is delicate and tends to crumble; so carefully lift the pastry over a rolling pin and drape into a 24cm round tin and 2.5cm deep pressing into the corners. Trim the excess pastry with a knife before blind baking for 8 minutes. Then remove the baking beans and cook for a further 8 minutes until crisp. Set aside to cool down.

3. To prepare the salted caramel: In a medium saucepan bring the sugar and water to the boil. After 5 minutes you should obtain a dark and golden syrup (the mixture must reach 170°C). Then remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream and butter (careful, it will bubble up). Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for a further 5 minutes or until thickened. Finally mix in the salt and pour into the pastry shell. Refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes.

4. To prepare the pecan topping: In a small frying pan, toast the pecans for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Then quickly scatter the sugar into the pan, stirring the nuts as you drizzle. Mix continuously until the pecans are thoroughly coated in the caramel. Immediately remove from heat so they don’t burn. Once cooled you are ready to decorate.

5. To prepare the ganache: Heat the cream in a small saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Quickly pour the liquid on top of the chopped chocolate and whisk continuously until all the chocolate has melted. Then pour the chocolate ganache evenly on top of the set caramel (use a small spatula if needed). Set once again in the fridge for 20 minutes before decorating with the sugared pecan nuts.

Translated by Leo / 孔祥鑫

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