Sunday, January 4, 2015

Candy Bar Tart

I am always excited to see a recipe that steers away from the tried and true.  The first thing that pops into our head when we think of tarts is fruit.  Nothing wrong with that, fruit and cream make for a wonderful filling to a sweet shortbread crust.  Besides fruit, recipes for the rich chocolate filled tarts come up now and again. However, this one caught my eye.  This recipe replicates the flavors of a long time favorite candy bar- Milky Way.

The crust is pretty much the standard, but the filling is unique.  As you know, the candy bar has a ribbon of caramel in it.  To support this flavor ingredient, the bottom part of the pastry crust is covered in caramel and the top is drizzled as well.  The fluffy nougat is imitated with the whipped cream filling flavored with melted chocolate.  Then the dessert imitation does take a unique turn with the addition of instant coffee added to the whipped cream. Lastly, milk chocolate curls dust the top.

This is another light and fluffy one with some very rich flavors.  Whipped cream is used in a lot of pastries and I think that this filling is very versatile. It would be an excellent filling for cream puffs or as a top layer to a chocolate cream pie or even an ice cream pie. 

The assembly comes together quite quickly.  However, the filling and the caramel require hours of cooling, so prepare those a day in advance and make the crust the day you plan to serve.

Candy Bar Tart
adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang

Ingredients/Mousse Filling
5 oz milk chocolate chips
2 tsp instant coffee powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups heavy cream

1/3 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbs melted butter
3/4 cup sugar

10 inch tart shell, baked (see previous post sweet pastry project, it uses a flan pan but tart pan will do)
4 " slab of milk chocolate at room temp, for chocolate curl topping.

Start making the mousse by pouring the cream and adding the coffee powder to a saucepan.  Stir on medium heat until coffee powder dissolves.  Then turn up to medium high and let mixture come to a scalding temperature.  It has reached the right temperature when you see bubbles form around the edge of the inside of pan.  Watch closely so it does not burn.  Remove from heat.

Fill a heat proof bowl with chocolate chips.  Slowly pour the hot cream mixture over the chips.  Let sit undisturbed for about 1 minute.  Then whisk mixture until all the chocolate is melted and blended.  The mixture should have the same hue as the nougat in a milky way bar.  Strain mixture into another heat proof bowl and mix in salt.  Cover tightly and place in refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours up to a maximum of 3 days.

For the caramel layer, fill a saucepan with the sugar.  Pour in the water slowly and mix until all the sugar is moistened.  Place over medium high heat and leave undisturbed to boil for about 3-4 minutes.  Then you will see the color change.  The mixture will start to darken.  As soon as you see a color change, swirl the pan to make sure it cooks evenly.  Keep swirling and cooking until mixture reaches a deep amber color. 

Remove from heat and pour in the heavy cream.  Let it bubble and steam.  Once it dies down, place the pan back over the heat, but this time at medium temperature.  Whisk constantly as the mixture cooks.  It will start to thicken and mixture will start to stick to spoon in a solid mass.  You want the mixture thicker than honey and thinner than peanut butter. This will take about 2-3 minutes.  Lastly, whisk in the vanilla and the butter. Remove pan and pour into a heat proof bowl.  Cover tightly and place in refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 1 week.

After the chilling time is completed, take out the bowl of caramel from the refrigerator.  Smooth 3/4 of the caramel on the bottom of prepared tart.  I had to get mine slightly warm again to smooth easily.  Set aside.

Remove mousse filling from refrigerator and empty into a bowl of a stand mixer.  Whip on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Spoon out the mousse into the prepared crust, smoothing the top so it is all even.  Drizzle the top with the remaining caramel.  Then, hold the chocolate bar over the top of the dessert and make chocolate curls by using a vegetable peeler, covering the surface as even as possible.  Once complete, let dessert chill about 30 minutes prior to serving.

This is best served and eaten within 8 hours.  Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
                           **LAST YEAR: Evergreen Shortbread Cookies**