At one point during our recipe testing days, I asked my group of baking buddies for suggestions on something to enter into a baking contest at work. One suggestion that received overwhelming recommendations was the Chocolate Peanut Butter mousse tart from the Pie And Pastry Bible. I modified the recipe a little bit, and I posted the changes I’d made here on the blog. It won in the contest’s “Pie” category, and I’ve made it numerous times since then, because it’s a definite favourite among a certain group of friends. I noticed that The Baking Bible includes a hazelnut version of this tart, which I’m very much looking forward to trying. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for a chocolate caramel peanut tart, on Gesine Bullock-Prado’s blog, and I knew I had to try it, to see how it stacked up. I may have also taunted my friends about it. Since the Alpha bakers group is on a “catch up” week, and I have yet to skip any recipes, I thought I’d make it this weekend.
The first step is what Gesine calls a “shortbread” crust. In my opinion, it’s not quite a typical shortbread, because it includes granulated, rather than powdered, sugar. To make it, grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients, then rub the dough together with your fingertips.
The result is something like this:
Pat that down into the tart pan, then smooth it out with something flat bottomed like a metal measuring cup or a smooth-bottomed glass. Dock it with a fork, then misread the recipe and bake it right away, rather than freezing for 20 minutes. Or, don’t be like me, and actually follow through on the freezing step. Your call!
Next, chop up some roasted salted peanuts, and put them in the bottom of the baked tart shell.
Now, it’s on to making the caramel part of the chocolate caramel-peanut tart. Put sugar, corn syrup (or, in my case, golden syrup), water, lemon juice, and salt into a pan.
Heat it until it turns a “medium amber.” Being so used to Rose Levy Beranbaum’s recipes, I was a bit disturbed by the lack of a specific temperature to aim for, but I carried on, anyway.
After you decide that it’s amber enough, you add butter, then some cream, then heat it up to 240ºF (ah, there’s a number!), then add chocolate, and stir until the chocolate’s melted. The resulting syrup is poured over the peanuts.
The peanut butter ganache is 4 oz dark chocolate, 1/4 cup of cream, and 2 tbsp of peanut butter. I used a bit of extra peanut butter. I thought it might need it. 🙂
So… if you look at Gesine’s post, she’s got a beautiful geometric spiral going on. I thought to myself… that can’t be too hard, I can manage that. I also thought about getting out the lazy susan, so that I could just set it spinning and hold my piping bag in one spot, and thought.. “nah, I’ve got this.” No, no, you don’t, Kristina.
I got close to the center, realized it wasn’t turning out particularly appetizing looking, also realized I wouldn’t quite have enough to complete the pattern nicely, and decided I’d do something else for decoration.
Better than the peanut butter mousse tart? Not in my opinion. Jay thought it might be. I think the salt in the caramel and the salt in the peanuts combined to be a bit too much salt for my tastes. We’ll see what the rest of the crew has to say about it. The Dames’ll have to appreciate it from afar, because they abandoned us for Toronto.