May 2019 – Caramel Tart & Sweet Pastry

Caramel is much used in the pastry kitchen particularly paired with salt. This tart tastes like a caramel crème bruleé baked into a tart. Like a crème bruleé this dish needs careful baking so that the filling sets slowly to a rich unctuous cream. To finish I like to blowtorch the top after baking as this gives the dish a wonderful crunchy topping. This tart is beautiful with a big dollop of crème fraiche or ice cream for an excellent dessert. If you bake the pastry first then make the caramel custard while it cools a little the custard will be quite hot and sets very quickly, take care to slightly under-bake and let the custard set slowly as the tart cools or the filling will curdle around the edge and be rubbery.

Caramel Tart

Makes One 24cm Tart

One quantity of sweet pastry (page 83)
Egg-wash to seal and glaze tart
165g caster sugar
550g whipping cream
6.4g (1 tsp) salt
8 egg yolks
Icing sugar to finish

To Make the Tart

1. Line the tin with the pastry with an overhang.
2. Make sure there are no cracks or holes in the pastry.
3. Fill the tart case with baking beans as per your preferred method.
4. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet.
5. Bake the tart shell at 170°c for approximately 15 minutes then remove the beans.
6. Continue to bake until the tart shell is golden and dry.
7. Egg-wash the interior of the tart and return to the oven for 2 minutes to set.
8. Remove from the oven and leave aside to cool, reduce the oven temperature to 130°c.
9. Place a heavy bottomed saucepan onto the heat and allow to get quite hot.
10. Add about a quarter of the caster sugar and melt carefully by shaking the pan.
11. Gradually add the remaining caster sugar and melt to a dark caramel colour.
12. Boil the cream in the microwave then add about a quarter to the caramel.
13. Stir until dissolved then add the remaining cream bring to the boil and stir until smooth.
14. Place the yolks in a large bowl and add about a quarter of the hot cream and whisk in.
15. Add the remainder of the cream and the salt then whisk in.
16. Strain the caramel custard directly into the tart case it should reach the top of the case.
17. Place a sheet of kitchen paper on top to remove the froth and quickly remove.
18. Place back into the oven at 130°c.
19. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the centre wobbles.
20. Trim the edges off the tart with a sharp knife.
21. Leave to cool for 30 minutes then remove from the tin.
22. Slide a cake card between the tart tin and the tart.
23. When cold dust the top with icing sugar and blowtorch, repeat if desired.
24. If you want a sharp finish slice the tart and then caramelise each slice individually.

Tim’s Tips

• I use a blowtorch for top but you could miss this step out.
• Bake until the centre wobbles just like a crème bruleé and cool in the tin.
• Make sure the blind baked case is completely cooked before adding the filling.
• Allow to set in the fridge after cooling for 30 minutes to help cutting.
• The tart keeps for up to 3 days in the fridge but is best eaten on the day its made and served at room temperature.

Sweet Pastry

Makes about 600g

300g plain flour
180g unsalted butter
70g icing sugar
0.2g (pinch) salt
1 medium egg
1g (V4 tsp) vanilla extract
Large pinch finely grated lemon zest (optional)

To Make the Pastry

1. Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into the bowl for a stand mixer.
2. Cut the butter into 2cm pieces and add to the dry ingredients.
3. Using your fingers mix the butter with the dry ingredients to coat.
4. Using the beater attachment mix the ingredients together.
5. When the ingredients are almost sticking together turn off the machine.
6. Run your fingers through the ingredients to loosen.
7. Add the egg, lemon zest and vanilla and mix to a smooth paste.
8. Place onto the table and knead for a few seconds until smooth.
9. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge chill for 1 hour.

Tims Tips

• It’s essential to coat the butter with the dry ingredients before mixing, if you don’t do this the butter clumps together and does not rub into the dry ingredients easily.
• Chill the pastry well to make the pastry easier to roll out.
• If you want to use the pastry quickly flatten the pastry before chilling so it cools quicker.
• The sweet pastry keeps for 3 days in the fridge and freezes for up to 1 month.

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