“Every Morn and every Night, Some are Born to sweet delight, Some are Born to sweet delight, Some are Born to endless night.” – William Blake
I couldn’t resist sharing that Blake poem to go along with today’s post. Auguries of Innocence. It’s one of the first poems that I read, and one of the first that I truly could connect with. I remember adorning my blank pages with Blake’s words, painting the skies with his prose and becoming swept up in waves of a shared infatuation, desire and lunacy.
But onto more slightly sweet things. This week, I’m collaborating with Guylian to bring you all this Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Truffle Tart, made with those classic Belgian sea shells. I do think we all have fond memories of them. I consider the praliné sea shells to be one of my favourite adult-and-child-hood treats. The new caramel filled sea shells come a close second too. Perfect for a nostalgic baker.
It’s a simple dessert, easy to make, easier to assemble. A chocolate tart shell is baked until crisp, then filled with a sweet and salty caramel. The caramel is then covered in a luxurious bittersweet dark chocolate ganache, and studded in a multitude of moorish praliné and caramel Guylian sea shells. A flourish of flaky smoked salt then completes this decadent tart.
This Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Truffle Tart gave me such immense satisfaction. A mouthful yields one of those rare moments, where you can close your eyes, taste, and experience a feeling like no other. Relish in what you have created.
For me, it tastes like my past, my present and my future. It’s a reminder of what the flavour of my life was, it’s a taste of where my life currently is, and this baking thing, creating thing, it feels like my future.
Of the countless desserts I have created, this Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Truffle Tart is a standout. It’s ultra creamy, decadent and rich. The flavours are all so simple and when paired, so complex. Chocolate, salted caramel, a classic. Much like Guylian chocolates.
I should probably mention too, that this might be the last post in a few weeks. I’m travelling soon. And my flights are looming closer by the day. Some exciting news in the works, and future collaborations. But for now, I’ll leave you on an extra sweet note with this Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Truffle Tart.
- 50 grams (1.7 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
- 40 grams (1.4 ounces) dutch processed cocoa powder
- 130 grams (4.6 ounces) plain flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 65 grams (2.3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) cubes
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten for the egg wash
- 275 millilitres (9.3 fluid ounces) heavy cream
- 60 grams (2.1 ounces) unsalted butter
- 340 grams (12 ounces) caster sugar
- 125 millilitres (4.4 fluid ounces) water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
- 2 teaspoon smoked flaked sea salt
- 200 grams (7 ounces) dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 170 millilitres (6 fluid ounces) heavy cream
- 24 x praline and salted caramel Guylian sea shells
- Smoked flaked sea salt, for finishing
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, flour and salt. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to combine.
- Add the butter into the food processor bowl and pulse until it is reduced to pebble sized pieces.
- Add in the egg and yolk. Continue to pulse until the dough just begins to come together. The dough will begin to form a crumbly ball around the base of the bowl.
- Use your fingers to bring the dough together then place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten it into a disc and seal. Chill for at least 1 hour.
- When the dough is chilled, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Lightly butter a 23 cm (9 inch) tart shell. Set it aside.
- Starting from the middle, roll the dough out and into a circle about 5 cm (2 inches) larger than your tart shell. Turn it occasionally and flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- Carefully press the dough into your tart shell. Use a sharp knife to trim the excess from around the ring. Place the shell in the refrigerator to chill, 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 190 C (375 F). Position a rack in the center of the oven. Remove the chilled tart shell from the refrigerator and place it on a baking tray.
- Use a fork to pierce the bottom of the tart shell in several places.
- Place a piece of aluminium foil, shiny side down, in the center of the tart shell and fill with a handful of baking weights, or dried beans, concentrating them around the edges of the shell.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until firm.
- Remove from the oven. Carefully lift out the foil and weights from the shell.
- Use a pastry brush to lightly glaze the shell with the egg white and return back to the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 more minutes or until crisp.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely before filling. The shell can be made up to one day in advance before filling.
- Place the cream and butter in a small sized saucepan set over medium heat. Stirring often, bring the mixture to a light rolling boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a medium sized saucepan. Cook, over medium-low heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil.Continue to heat, without stirring but swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture has turned deep caramel in colour, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream mixture, vanilla and salt. Whisk to combine. Be careful, the mixture will sputter but will subside as you continue to whisk. Return the pan to the heat and continue to cook until thick, whisking constantly, 2 to 3 more minutes.
- Pour the salted caramel into the cooled tart shell and refrigerate until set, 1 to 2 hours.
- Place the chocolate in a medium sized heat-proof bowl.
- Place the cream in a medium sized saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil, over medium-low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot cream all over the chocolate. Let it sit un-disturbed for 1 minute to acclimatise. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir the hot cream into the chocolate until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Set aside to cool to room temperature before pouring over the set salted caramel.
- Immediately decorate the top with the Guylian sea shells, lightly pressing them into the chocolate.
- Return to the refrigerator and chill until set, about 1½ hours.
- When you are ready to serve, remove the tart from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to soften slightly. Sprinkle over a bit of the flaked sea salt and slice with a warm knife.
This post is in collaboration with Guylian, all thoughts and opinions are of course, my own.