Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Burning down the House for the sake of Daring Bakers

I'm a klutz. I have a tendency to cut myself, bruise myself, and burn myself. It happens cooking and it happens just walking.
When I began this month's recipe, the pastry dough came together perfectly and I let it rest overnight. The next day I brought it out, rock solid. So I had to defrost it, which was no easy task because it was going to take a couple of hours and I really needed to start on the tart. So I put it in the oven and every few minutes took the defrosted pastry off. This took about 15 mins.
Of course at the same times, I was boiling potatoes for my party. So I was making 2 recipes at once.
This turned out to be a very bad idea because some how they were ready at the same time, making cuss words fly out of my mouth.
At the same time the potatoes were about to be done, I started making the caramel. Let me just recap, I've never made caramel until yesterday, so I was confused by the dry method. The first time I did it and added the cream, the caramel came immediately to a hard boil, splattering hot boiling cream over my entire outfit. That is when the cuss words began to fly.
I breathed and then washed out the pot and began again. This time watching very closely to see what was happening. It started to turn the amber color and I began the milk. This time it didn't come to a hard boil as quickly, but it did began to clump up.
My solution was to add the butter and the cream, then boil the mixture. This cause little sugar chunks, but I just dished those out and threw them away. I then dealt with my potato salad, allowing the caramel mixture to cool. When I added the eggs, I was worried that they would scramble and I would have to do it all over again. Which I might say wasn't going to happen because time was coming to a close.
But it came together. It wowed my friends. We all enjoyed it. I especially loved the chocolate mousse.
And what have I learned. Do the Daring Bakers recipe at a different time than a dinner party or do it the day ahead and you won't almost cut of your foot or boil you skin.
Happy Baking Ladies!

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration time: 1 hour


* ½ lb (250 g) chocolate shortbread pastry (see recipe above)
* 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
* 1 cup (250 g) heavy cream (30-40 percent butterfat) or crème fraiche
* ¼ cup (50 g) butter
* 2 whole eggs
* 1 egg yolk
* 2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) flour
* 1 ¼ cups (300 g) whipping cream
* ½ lb (250 g) milk chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).

2. Line the baking pan with the chocolate shortbread pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes.

3. In a saucepan, caramelize 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar using the dry method until it turns a golden caramel color. Incorporate the heavy cream or crème fraiche and then add butter. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.

4. In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.

5. Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.

6. Spread it out in the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

7. Prepare the milk chocolate mousse: beat the whipping cream until stiff. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie, and fold it gently into the whipped cream.

8. Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.

Alternate Caramel Method:

If you have problems with the dry method, you may use this method.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Set mixture in a pot over medium-high heat and stir slowly. When the mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring and leave it alone. Wait till desired color is attained .

Proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Caramel Fragments:

Melt ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar in a saucepan until it reaches an amber color. Pour it onto waxed paper laid out on a flat surface. Leave to cool. Break it into small fragments and stick them lightly into the top of the tart.

Chocolate Shortbread Pastry
Note: The Chocolate Shortbread pastry can make 3 tart shells. So, if you want to cut that recipe into thirds then do so but Veron and Patricia are not promising it will scale down properly.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Refrigeration: overnight
To make 3 tart shells: 9 ½ inches (24 cm) square
or 10 inches (26 cm round)


* 1 cup (250g ) unsalted butter, softened
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 g) confectioners’ sugar
* ½ cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts
* 2 level teaspoons (5 g) ground cinnamon
* 2 eggs
* 4 ½ cups (400 g) cake flour
* 2 ½ teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
* 1 ½ tablespoons (10 g) cocoa powder

A day ahead
1. In a mixing bowl of a food processor, cream the butter.

2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, the ground hazelnuts, and the cinnamon, and mix together

3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing constantly

4. Sift in the flour, the baking powder, and the cocoa powder, and mix well.

5. Form a ball with the dough, cover in plastic wrap, and chill overnight.


veron said...

love the swirls in your tart. And I agree, do not do the daring bakers challenge the same time you are hosting a dinner!

Deborah said...

I'm glad it turned out so well for you! Beautiful!

kellypea said...

And who says menfolk can't multitask? Hmmmm? I've been there on the making 2,3,4 recipes at a time for a party. It's freak central in my kitchen and everyone stays out of my way, well, until they offer to help (which my lovely huzbink always does =)

Nice Tart!

Anne said...

I love how you captured the tart. Your photos are great.

I'm glad you liked the end product inspite of everything. Truly you are a daring baker!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I think the result is amazing and I'm glad to hear you and the ones who shared the tart with you liked it!

Leslie said...

I always make the DB recipes a day in advance of whatever I'm planning to use them for. The exploding sugar/cream trick was fun though, eh?

Lis said...

hehe I feel your pain.. I made mine while also making snackers for a party that evening.. fortunately, the luck of the cooking/baking Gods was with me and everything came out at different intervals. THANK GOD.

I like your swirlie topped tart - and I'm so glad it was a smash!


lynn said...

Your tarts sounds like a pain to make but heaven to eat. Congrats on doing such a good job!

Anita said...

Glad to hear you didn't really burn down the house - I've set things on fire by accident too! Great job with the tart!

Sara said...

Alls well that ends well, right?!

Brilynn said...

My multi-tasking skills are seriously lacking, I couldn't have done it!

Mary said...

You are definitely daring! =) I'm too scared to multi-task while making caramel. I call it a healthy fear of molten sugar.

Anh said...

Lovely photo! And I am glad your tart turned out nicely despite everything else!

Andrea said...

Oh, I am so bad about trying to do multiple projects at the same time! Sounds like it all came out well in the end for you.

Elle said...

Great post...I can just see you going back and forth between the crust and the potatoes. Sorry that the caramel attacked you, but your tart looks lovely and it seems you liked it.

Ivonne said...

I hope you ate the entire tart yourself because you deserved it after what you went through! That's quite the caramel experience. But your tart turned out beautifully!

Tartelette said...

Love the tart! Great job! Never fear caramel and crem/butter added, turn the heat down and stir until it melts back again. It takes a few more minutes but that way there are no chard-like bites in it. So glad to hear that you did not burn down the house for the challenge!

The Baker & The Curry Maker said...

You're so funny. I had a very similar experience with the last challenge. Well done, looks great.

Aoife said...

Not bad at all for your first time with caramel. Good job for persevering!

Dharm said...

Good job dude! My wife say's I'm a walking disaster too... I hurt myself just walking around. But great tart and great job all round!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I've realised that I can have many balls in the air to do with cooking and that I'm actually quite a good cook. Baking on the other hand - I have a LOT to learn and can only do one thing at a time - slowly.

wmpe said...

You deserve a medal for attempting a new recipe and preparing for and putting on a dinner party! Do your friends know you will walk through fire so they can have a delicious dessert? Your tart looks great. Wendy

Jenny said...

Hee hee... I have made the mistake of promising a DB dessert for a party twice now. It makes it much more stressful, but makes everything pretty exhilarating. At least the partygoers don't have to know about the swearing.

Peabody said...

Oh my yes, I would never attempt this during a dinner party.
Excellent job on your tart.

sunita said...

Lovely tart...and great pulled it off wonderfully.

Amy said...

Great job! I'm glad everyone enjoyed it.

Quellia said...

So no fire? Which means no good looking firemen ended up as unexpected guests at your dinner party? Oh well!
Lovely work!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

So glad you clarified just exactly when the words flew out of your mouth! He, he. I mean isn't this what daring is all about! It certainly does taste good and even better the next day. You did a beautiful job.

Kelly-Jane said...

Turned out really well. Eric was a little brief with his instructions in the book!

Chris said...

Its always amazing reading waht goes on behind the beautiful pictures. Despite the issues - your tart looks delicious!

Rose said...

Food photographer! What a neat profession--I would love to learn more about that. How did you start? :)

Dolores said...

I'm glad you didn't hurt yourself with the exploding sugar! Equally glad it all turned out a success in the end.

breadchick said...

Wow! I would have burned down the house for sure!!! Great job considering what you were juggling!!!

Morven said...

I'm glad you survived your experience and have lived to face the next challenge.