Tag Archives: Salted caramel

A tale of two tarts: salted caramel or hazelnut?


1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

It’s the school holidays and J wanted to make chocolate mousse, while I wanted to test out my newly purchased Gobel tart rings. I usually make tarts with ganache but thought hey I could use mousse! We discussed the elements and J came up with a plan, a cross-sectional drawing of her mousse design.

After a bit of debate, we had two ideas:

  1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut, Nutella tart
  2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

For the hazelnut tart, a thin layer of Nutella (you can of course use chocolate ganache) was spread on the base of the tart, then a thin layer of roasted hazelnut paste and then topped with the chocolate mousse.

For the salted caramel tart, a thin layer of salted caramel was first spread on the base of the tart, then topped with chocolate mousse. Some freeze dried strawberries were added to give a contrasting taste to the sweet and salty caramel.

For both, cocoa nibs, crunchy chocolate pearls and feuilletine shards were added for texture.

I like how I can do the components separately (to fit in with school holiday activities) and then assemble right before serving.

Hope you will enjoy these!

Sweet almond tart base
Makes 10 x 9″ ring tart bases
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200g all-purpose (plain) flour
40g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
100g butter, cold and cubed
1 egg (I use size 8)

  1. Sift and combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add the butter and ‘rub in’, working the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it resemble small crumbs
  3. Add the egg and incorporate it into the dry ingredients.
  4. Work the dough lightly by gathering the dough with your fingertips and folding it over with a downward push of your palm. Work quickly and lightly, till it comes together.
  5. Wrap up the dough inside a folded sheet of baking paper, gently roll flat with a rolling pin and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  6. While the dough is resting, prepare the tart rings by buttering them.
  7. When the dough is ready, lightly sprinkle some flour on your bench or chopping board.
  8. Roll out the dough on the board with a rolling pin to a thickness of 2-3mm. You may need to add more flour to keep it from sticking as it is a very soft dough.
  9. Cut out a circle of dough larger than your ring and place onto the buttered tart ring or mould.
  10. Press well onto the sides. Use a glass to flatten the bottom and sides to ensure you have straight edges.
  11. Cut off excess dough by going over the top of the tart ring with the rolling pin.
  12. Pinch the edges up slightly.
  13. Prick holes at the base with a fork.
  14. Rest in the fridge for 30 – 60 minutes to stop it from shrinking.
  15. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  16. Using ceramic baking beads or rice, blind bake at 180 degrees C for 15-20 minutes or when browned all over. Set aside to cool completely

1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

Putting it all together
Chocolate mousse, hazelnut, Nutella tart

  • Cooled tart base
  • Nutella (or melted chocolate)
  • Roasted hazelnut paste (Equagold)
  • Chocolate mousse (Mousse recipe)
  • On the top – Chocolate crunchy shards, pearls, cocoa nibs

Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

These turn out more rustic than elegant 😉 still delicious regardless!

Salted caramel Tim Tams chocolate cheesecake


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How do you make Tim Tams last longer? Ask any fan and they will tell you how hard it is to stop at one, let alone make it last longer.

Especially when we are talking about a collaboration between Arnott’s and Adriano Zumbo to create salted caramel tim tams! It’s been a while since I last rushed to buy newly released confectionary and also that I don’t think I’m ever fast enough, I had resigned to defeat. Such was my mindset when I walked past the biscuit aisle at the supermarket to find stacks of them just staring at me. I could not believe my eyes. Trying to recover from the victory dance in my head, I grabbed a couple of packs and started imagining what I could do with them. (No, eating them straight from the packet was never an option).

I knew I had salted caramel in the fridge dying to be eaten and I wanted to prolong the enjoyment of the biscuits. Immediately I knew these are destined for a cheesecake. I also decided to use my small tart tins to make mini one-serving desserts. This recipe is enough to make 10 small desserts with cream cheese filling to spare.

FOR THE BASE:

  • 18 Salted Caramel Tim Tam biscuits,  2 packets
  • 80g dark chocolate, or 100g milk chocolate,
    roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Butter the tins lightly. I did this wearing a disposable glove, to make sure butter goes all the way into the groves.

Line the base with a disc of baking paper. 

Whiz the Salted Caramel Tim Tam biscuits in a food processor until they resemble fine crumbs.

Melt chocolate and add to biscuit crumbs with sea salt and mix until combined. Spoon into prepared tins and press into base firmly to even it out. Reserve 4-5 tablespoons for decoration.

Chill in the fridge while making the filling.

FOR THE CARAMEL:

  • 200g castor sugar
  • 125ml fresh cream 
  • 50g butter, cubed 
  • 5g good quality salt flakes 
  • A few drops of vanilla essence 

Instructions: Heat the sugar in a wide saucepan until it is melted. Be really careful and wait for it to turn amber/ golden and slightly smoke. Carefully add the cream in slowly, continuing to whisk but be aware of the resulting vigorous bubbling. Add the butter in gradually until it is melted and combined. Add in salt flakes and vanilla essence. Cool in the fridge for a few hours.

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 500g cream cheese, chopped into chunks, at room temperature
  • 1 tin caramel sweetened condensed milk 
  • 8g (2.5 sheets) silver strength gelatin 
  • 1⁄2 cup caramel (as above)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

Put gelatin sheets in a dish of cold water and soak to soften for five minutes.

While they are softening, heat caramel gently then squeeze extra water from gelatin and whisk into caramel until smooth. Set aside.

Put cream cheese in a mixer with caramel condensed milk and mix until smooth. 

Add caramel to cream cheese mixture with salt and mix until smooth. 

Pour into prepared base and smooth the top. Chill for six hours or overnight. Sprinkle with reserved Tim Tam crumbs.

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and the left over cream cheese? I made layered cheesecake desserts in cute mason jugs and decorated with a chocolate Easter egg.

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Valrhona chocolate, salted caramel and crunchy feuilletine entremet


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Ever since trying out entremet desserts from Milse, I’ve been planning on making some. The making of entremets involve several more elements than other desserts. With cakes you may have cake batter, cream and ganache. With macarons you have the shells and the filling, be it buttercream or chocolate ganache. Entremets typically involve layers of mousse, cake, some ‘surprise’ element within and then a chocolate glaze or cocoa powder.

There was a missing ingredient that had taken me a long time to find, but thanks to Equagold I finally got my hands on some feuilletine – crunchy ‘leaves’ – for my ‘surprise’ element.

It also took me a while to find and master the perfect glaze as the shiny coating for these little domes. It wasn’t until recently when I flipped open Darren Purchese’s Sweet Studio book that I realised the perfect recipe had been lying around the house all along!

I urge you not to be put off by the steps and the number of elements. The list looks long but if you plan ahead, like baking (or buying!) the sponge one night, making whatever filling (e.g. Salted caramel) another, you will have everything ready to assemble easy peasy. I looked at it as a massive mise en place and the assembling is truly the highlight and most fun part. The result is amazing and all the time spent in preparation worthwhile.

So excited when I finally got them done, I had a goofy smile all day and could hardly wait for my colleagues to try.

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Chocolate mousse domes – makes 6

Chocolate mousse
60 g dark chocolate – melted
45 ml full cream milk
1 leaf of gold strength gelatin – softened in water
175 ml cream – lightly whipped

1) Combine dark chocolate and milk
2) Mix in gelatin
3) Fold in cream until just mixed

Chocolate Genoise/ sponge cake – you can use your own sponge cake recipe or store-bought cakes!

Salted caramel
See my recipe from the Salted Caramel Macaron post. I almost always have a jar of this in my fridge, so this element is ready whenever I need it.

Crunchy chocolate Crisp * you will have lots of left overs for other desserts, these keep well in an airtight box
60 g dark chocolate – melted
25 g crunchy feuilletine

1) Line baking tray with a sheet of baking paper. Spread feuilletine on baking paper.
2) Melt chocolate and pour over feuilletine.
3) Spread out and leave to cool.
4) Using a round cutter, cut out small discs. Alternatively, you can break them up into small pieces.

Chocolate Glaze*prepare this 45 minutes before you unmold the domes as you need the glaze to be cool but still liquid.
50 g water
50 g cream
45 g sugar
20 g cocoa powder
1 leaves of gold strength gelatin – softened in water

1) Combine water, cream, sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan.
2) Bring to a boil
3) Add in gelatin and combine with a whisk
4) Cool to room temperature

Assembly
These little entremets are layers of mousse, cake, some crunchy, tasty element and more mousse. What you put in it entirely depends on your taste. To finish it off a shiny chocolate glaze is poured on the frozen domes.

1) Using cookie cutters, cut cake into small and medium rounds
2) Add a dollop of salted caramel on the small cake circle
3) Add about 2 tablespoons of mousse per dome mold
4) Place small cake circle on top and press lightly to half submerge in mousse
5) Top with more mousse to hide the small cake circle
6) Add crispy chocolate disc pieces
7) Add the medium cake circle
8) Freeze well, preferably overnight
9) Unmold
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10) Pour glaze over domes, letting the glaze drip down over covered trays (you can reuse the glaze)
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11) Decorate to your heart’s content. I’ve used Godiva chocolate pearls, more crispy chocolate feuilletine and freeze-dried raspberries here.

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Enjoy!

Salted caramel chocolate cake with brandy ganache


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Wow that was a mouthful, but trust me this is an easy cake, done in 2 hours. I don’t normally believe in ‘one-pan’ cakes but this turned out to be the most amazing cake I have done in a while (those who got to eat it loved it).

The cake is adapted from Annabell White’s Chocolate Buttermilk Cake.

The batter is baked separately in two identical pans – reason is being an extremely moist cake, I would have a hard time splitting it in half without it breaking up all over my hands.

It also helped when it comes to adding the salted caramel layer – I could easily spread it on while the cake is warm, without needing to over handle it.

A silky smooth and glossy chocolate ganache is then poured over with much abandon,  letting the ganache glide freely over the cake and sides.

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Quite an indulgent experience especially when the cake’s left overnight so the cake, salted caramel and chocolate ganache got a chance to mix and mingle, producing one moist cake with a real depth of flavour.

Given how quick I got this done, it is definitely a weeknight cake too if you should ever have any cake emergency!

Cake recipe:
ingredients
115g butter
125 g dark chocolate
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Princess cake and cookie baking emulsion from Lorann oils
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

salted caramel
See my recipe from the Salted Caramel Macaron post.

Ganache Recipe:

140g dark chocolate tabs
125ml fresh cream
20g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon whiskey or brandy (optional)

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Cake directions
1. Heat oven to 180 deg C. Grease two 22cm tin and line with baking paper.
2. Heat butter and chocolate carefully in saucepan stirring on medium temperature. Do not over heat. Take off heat, add sugar and baking emulsion straight away while mix is hot.
3. Whisk in buttermilk and eggs with a whisk. Add dry ingredients, whisk gently till just smooth. Pour batter into tin.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Turn out on wire rack to cool.
5. Spread 4 tbsps of salted caramel onto the top of one cake. Place the other cake on top.
6. Make chocolate icing. Put chocolate and butter into a bowl. Heat cream in a saucepan till just boiling and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stiring. Add whiskey or any liqueur of your choice. Pour over cooled cake and using a palette knife, spread the icing around, allowing the ganache to dribble over the edge randomly.
7. Smooth tops. Let the cake sit overnight and it will taste even better the next day.
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Salted Caramel Macarons


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It happened to be my work’s third birthday a few weeks ago and in celebration I made these aqua blue macarons and paired them with my all time favourite – salted caramel filling.

I might have to make a salted caramel cake next, such is my addition to the salty sweet caramelly  flavours. Watch this space!

Macarons shell ingredients
150 g icing sugar
150 g almond meal
110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water
1 g meringue powder
a few drops of blue gel colouring

Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.

I paired these with a salted caramel filling.

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Filling Ingredients:
200g castor sugar
125ml fresh cream
50g butter, cubed
5g good quality salt flakes
A few drops of vanilla essence

Instructions:

Heat the sugar in a wide saucepan until it is melted.
Be really careful and wait for it to turn amber/ golden and slightly smoke.
Carefully add the cream in slowly, continuing to whisk but be aware of the resulting vigorous bubbling.
Add the butter in gradually until it is melted and combined.
Add in salt flakes and vanilla essence.
Cool in the fridge for a few hours.

Fill half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.
If your salted caramel isn’t thick enough, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of sugar until it is thick enough to spread.

The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells. These freeze really well (up to 3 months). Turns out they are even better after freezing as the gooey salted caramel hardens up a bit more!