FINALLY! After waiting about 16 months, it is now my turn to host Tuesdays With Dorie. Pictures really sell me on a recipe. Although there are many great recipes without pictures, I tend to pick a recipe based on the picture. I’ve had my eye on Dorie’s Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart for ages. The caramel is what really sold me. I love the combination of caramel and salted peanuts, not to mention the chocolate ganache. I used semisweet instead of bittersweet chocolate and salted peanuts.

I feel like such a bad hostess because I couldn’t get a decent picture of the tart. For starters, the crust doesn’t look like a tart crust. Seems like even though I used frozen butter and froze the crust before baking, the edges melt. Do I not press the crust in thick enough? Is it because I mix by hand and not with a food processor? Taste wise it’s delicious.

I made this recipe twice. The first time I used my 11 inch tart pan. Mixing the peanuts into the caramel made it really hard to spread, so the caramel didn’t make it to the edges. That and the tart is 2 inches bigger than what Dorie made. The peanut halves were also too big.

The second time I used baby tart pans, so I cut the recipe in half. This was my first time using the pans. The crust shrank like usual, and that really frustrates me. Shrunken crust makes it harder to remove from the pan. With the caramal layer, I decided to use baby food processor to chop the peanut halves and sprinkle on top of the caramel instead of mixing it in.

I really do love this recipe, but I still have ways to go before I can get the crust perfect. Hope all you TwDers enjoyed dessert this week.

Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

Scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

3/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 9-inch tart shell made with Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough (p.444), fully baked and cooled

Getting Ready: Because you have to work quickly once the sugar caramelizes, you should have all the ingredients for the caramel measured out and at hand before you start. Also have a medium heatproof bowl at hand to hold the hot caramel.

To Make the Caramel: Bring the heavy cream to a boil.

Meanwhile, put a medium skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat and sprinkle in about 3 tablespoons of the sugar. When it melts, stir it with a wooden spatula or fork and sprinkle over another 3 tablespoons. When that sugar is melted, add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar – the sugar in the pan may already have started to color, and that’s fine. Stir in the corn syrup and boil the syrup until it reaches a deep caramel color – it will probably begin to smoke, and that’s normal.

Stand back and stir in the butter. The caramel will bubble furiously and may spatter, so make sure you’re away from the action. When the butter is in, add the warm cream – the caramel will bubble furiously again. Lower the temperature just a tad and let the caramel boil for just 2 minutes (226F on candy thermometer). Pour the seething caramel into the heatproof bowl and set aside while you make the ganache.

To Make the Ganache: Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and have a whisk or a rubber spatula at hand.

Bring the cream to a boil. Then pour half of it over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Working with the whisk/spatula, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles. Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don’t stir any more than you must to blend the ingredients – the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be.

Cover the ganache with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface to create an airtight seal. Set aside at room temperature for the moment.

To Assemble the Tart: Stir the peanuts into the caramel. If the caramel has cooled and is too thick to spread easily, gently warm in the microwave in 3-second spurts. Spread the caramel over the bottom of the tart shell; you’ll have a thin layer. Refrigerate the tart for 15 minutes to set the caramel.

Check the ganache. If it has thickened, warm it in 3-second spurts. Rap the bowl to break any surface bubbles, pour the ganache over the caramel and jiggle the pan to even it.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes – no longer – then keep it at room temperature until serving time.

Baking: From My Home To Yours pages 355-357