I have a confession to make. I can't get anything in my personal life done in a timely manner. My house looks like a tornado just touched down in the middle of it. I completely forgot to get some work done for our church's annual chili supper that's coming up on Saturday. My continuing education hours (10!) are due by the end of October, and I haven't started on them. And I didn't get my TWD assignment done on time. That's just the beginning. There's more, but it's too depressing to discuss. Let's move on to the food!
Anyway, I actually completed the Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart last night at about 10pm, after a really long day of training and being on the road. My daylight was long gone, so I waited until this evening to get some pictures. While baking is my very favorite thing to do, I just wasn't feeling it last night...but I was feeling obligated to participate. My heart wasn't in this one, and I could tell by the final product...
I was able to make my tart dough made ahead of time, before I went out of town Sunday night. But this tart dough gives me fits every time I use it. I need some kind of a tutorial before I make it. I just can't get the texture that I think I'm supposed to have, and I can't get it pressed into the pan evenly to save my life. I usually just succumb to defeat and jam it in the pan and call it "good enough."
This was the first time I've ever made caramel, and it's always been one of those things that I've been intimidated to try, but it was surprisingly easy, thanks to Dorie's directions. I just don't think it had enough intensity of flavor, though. I think it's because I was so terrified of burning it that I didn't let it boil long enough. It kind of got lost in the chocolate ganache layer. About the ganache...Dorie's recipe called for 8 oz. of bittersweet chocolate, which I used. Next time, I'd use 4 oz. of bittersweet and 4 oz. of semi-sweet. It just needed a little bit of sweetness, but part of that may be because my caramel wasn't quite right.
All in all, I think it was a nice dessert. It was definitely a challenge to me, but it wasn't a challenge I needed after a long (and somewhat emotionally-exhausting) day. I'd like to try it another time with a double batch of caramel and more rest (for me!).
This recipe was chosen by Carla, of Chocolate Moosey. She's waited 16 months for her turn to pick the recipe! I'm pretty sure we'll have finished the book by the time it's my turn to pick (I'm number 254 in the recipe rotation...Carla was #82), but I'm having a great time baking along! If you'd like to try your hand at the Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart, Carla has it posted on her blog. Have fun!