I had really good dinner game last week, guys. Between work events paying for my fancy meals to friends heating me up delicious leftovers, I ate super well and cheap! You want to know what pushed my dinner game over the top, though? Monday was Pi Day, and my office had a pie party.
Here's a bit of advice for you - pie dinner is always a good idea.
I brought my caramel-coffee-chocolate tart. This is an incredibly rich tart with a satisfying chewiness and a delicate, flakey crust. It is pretty much perfect. When I say, "my caramel-coffee-chocolate tart," I really mean, "the recipe I took from David Lebovitz." Picasso said good artists copy, great artists steal, so.
This recipe comes in two parts. The first is the tart crust. You need to know about this tart crust. This tart crust changed my life. There are three things to know about this tart crust: it is delicious, it is fast, it is easy.
What I am about to say might freak you out if you are a regular tart crust maker, but just trust me. The first thing you need to do is preheat the oven to 410 degrees and grab a mixing bowl that you can put in the oven. Yup – this magical tart dough is made with hot ingredients.
In your mixing bowl that can go in the oven, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Now add 3 tablespooons of water.
Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Add 3 ounces of butter cut into pieces.
Finally, add 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Don't look at this photo - I was using the wrong measuring spoon.
Put the mixing bowl in the oven heated to 410 for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare your flour. You need a rounded cup of flour to be available immediately after you take the butter out of the oven. If you want to be exact, use 160 grams (5.5 oz) of flour. I've never been exact about it, and my dough has turned out great each time. Also, you look cool if you don't measure your flour.
After 15 minutes, check on the mixing bowl in the oven. Take the butter mixture out of the oven when it is completely melted, bubbling, and turning a little brown around the edges. BE CAREFUL. Your bowl is hot. It was just in the oven.
Immediately throw the flour into the butter. Remember that the bowl was just in the oven. It's still hot.
Mix the flour into the butter until it forms a perfect little ball.
Let the ball of dough cool a little bit until it is cool enough for you to touch and mold with your fingers. In the meantime, pour yourself a little dark rum-sweet vermouth concoction.
Ok, now we're ready to roll. Your dough ball is still warm, but you can touch it. Put it directly into the tart pan that you are using (ideally, this will be one with a retractable bottom). Remove a raspberry-sized chunk of dough from the ball and reserve for patching the dough later.
Push the dough around with your fingers until it covers the whole dish. Press the dough up the sides of the dish. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
...This is just a zoom in on the fork pricks. Just a bunch of pricks....
Now put your tart shell in the oven (still at 410) for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
BAM!!! You just made something beautiful.
If there are any cracks in the tart shell from the dough drying as it bakes, patch them with the dough you reserved. These patches will bake when you cook the tart filling later.
Now, you can fill that tart shell with any goddamn filling that suits your fancy and it will be a success. Today, we are going to fill it with chocolate caramel. Get ready.
Turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Prepare your ingredients:
1 1/4 cup (250 g) sugar
6 tablespoons (90 ml) warm coffee
4 ounces (115 g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
pinch of sea salt
4 ounces (115 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces (55 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (35 g) flour
1 tablespoon dark rum
The hardest part of the filling is making the caramel base. I know you can do it, though, and if you mess it up, that is ok. There is no shame in burning your caramel.
Add all the sugar to a heavy saucepan and put it over moderate heat. After about 5 minutes or so, the sugar will seem to start sweating and giving off some liquid. Run a wooden spoon from the edges to the center of the sugar to spread the hottest sugar around and allow the caramelization to happen evenly. Just keep dragging your spoon around until all the sugar is melted and beginning to brown.
This is, for me, the hardest part. The sugar will caramelize pretty fast once it is all melted, and you should allow it to caramelize until is starts to smoke. Do not let it burn. How dark can the caramel get before it burns? Good question. Please let me know in the comments. I am currently using the trial-and-error method.
Once you reach the smoking-but-not-burnt stage of caramelization, turn off the heat and add the warm coffee to the caramel. This is super exciting because the caramel will freak out and sputter. It is super hot, so be careful your don't get hit with caramel sputter. Stir in the coffee, and If the caramel has seized up in places, stir it gently over low heat until smooth.
Now add all the butter!!!
Plop in the salt, then stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Now grab your chocolates and wiggle your eyebrows at your wife as you hold them up to your boobs and say, "Come and get them."
Now stop goofing off and add both chocolates to the mixture and stir until smooth.
Add your two eggs to the chocolate and make it look like an adorable smiley face.
Mix the eggs in until smooth, then add your flour. Sifting the flour before you add it is never a bad idea.
Now add the rum (which can be substituted with vanilla extract if you aren't a rum kind of person).
The recipe calls for a tablespoon of rum... but I'll leave it up to you to decide how much rum is actually necessary. No one will judge you if you add a couple more tablespoons. I don't think anyone was judging me.
Now pour your lucious chocolate mixture into your perfect little tart shell.
Stick that bad boy in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Check on the tart after 15 minutes - the filling should start to rise and crack at the edges but the center should still be jiggly. Do not overbake. Remember - CRACKED EDGES AND JIGGLY CENTER MEANS IT'S PERFECT. Think about that next time you are avoiding working out.
This tart is to die for. It is not, however, a good pie to bring to a pie day event. It is just too rich to play with other pies. It's a standalone pie. A monogapie. But it is a pie that you should definitely try.