Why should the littles have all the fun at Halloween? Those of us who’ve achieved our age of majority might like a treat that isn’t wrapped in foil or a garish-branded wrapper. We might like something hauntingly delicious… and we might even like seconds and thirds if what’s on offer has layers of Earl Grey caramel filling and rich chocolate ganache nested into a cocoa crust and drizzled with honey caramel. The flavors will revisit your mind when you least expect it. But since this specter will simply drive you into the kitchen rather than into madness, you will welcome the experience!
EARL OF DARKNESS CHOCOLATE TART RECIPE
For the crust:
10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
½ tsp sea salt
1 bag dried beans, for blind baking
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, flour, egg yolks, and salt. Pulse until combined and a dough forms (it may not fully form into a ball, but easily pinches together to hold its shape between two fingers).
3. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 ½-10-inch tart plate with a removable bottom.
4. Prick the crust all over with a fork. Crunch up a piece of parchment paper and lay into the tart shell. Fill the shell with baking beans (this process is called blind baking). Bake for 15 minutes with the beansthen remove the tart shell and place the beans into a heatproof bowl. Return the tart shell to the oven for another 2 minutes to gently bake the bottom crust that was covered by the beans. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire baking rack to cool completely.
For the Earl Grey caramel:
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
½ cup heavy cream
4 bags of Earl Grey tea
½ cup water
6 tbspunsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tspsea salt
3 tbsp honey
1. Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Swirl around with your finger until the sugar is the consistency of wet sand. Be sure not to get sugar crystals on the side of the pot, they can burn and break the caramel. Just swirl the pan occasionally to help the sugar evenly cook.
2. While the sugar is cooking, microwave the heavy cream for 1½ minutes or until the cream is very hot; steep with 4 Earl Grey tea bags
3. Once the caramel turns blonde in color, remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the heavy cream into the mixture and whisk to combine: the mixture will sputter, so be sure to hold the whisk with an oven mitt to avoid burning yourself! When you begin whisking, the mixture may seize up, but continue mixing and return the pan to low heat. The cream will soon melt into the caramel and become smooth and creamy.
4. Gently whisk in the butter and the salt. The mixture will bubble. Continue to simmer until thickened, about 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently.The caramel should be glossy and you see nice ribbons of caramel when whisking. To see if the caramel is ready to remove from the heat, dip a metal spoon into the caramel; it should easily coat the back of the spoon nicely. Allow the caramel on the spoon to cool slightly, then carefully run your finger down the center of the caramel on the back of the spoon and the canal in the caramel should be able to hold its shape.
5. Remove from the heat and whisk another 2-3 minutes to allow the caramel to begin cooling. The caramel will continue to thicken as it cools. Whisk in the honey once it’s slightly cooled and allow the caramel to cool for another 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, before pouring into the tart shell; this allows the caramel to thicken even more. Pour into the tart shell and refrigerate for an hour or two until set.
For the chocolate ganache:
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
½ cup heavy cream
Flaky sea salt, for garnishing
1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Once simmering, pour the cream over the chocolate and allow the chocolate to sit for a couple of minutes, then stir to combine until a smooth ganache forms.
2. Pour over the chilled tart and top with flaky sea salt. Place back into the fridge to set for another hour.
3. When ready to serve, remove the tart from the tart shell, slice,and serve. After slicing, feel free to let the slices sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes or so. Store the tart covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
RECIPES AND STYLING BY ANNA CALABRESE / STORY BY KEITH RECKCER / PHOTOGRAPHY BY LAURA PETRILLA
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