August 29, 2007

Daring Baker's - My first challenge!!!

Last night and the week so far have been a bit crazy. I was at school working on a gluten ball until 10:00pm last night. It was kinda like science class! LOL We had a two hour lecture to boot and we covered all the equipment and ingredients that would be required in baking fundamentals class. I also got a copy of the catalog for the spring semester already. I love drooling over and thinking about the classes I will take every semester and this next semester is going to be a goody. Now, on to the baking challenge!!! This is my first post with the Daring Bakers and it was a Milk Chocolate/Caramel Tart. On with the show... First the recipe...

Recipe Quantity: One (1) 9" Square or one (1) 10" Round tart

Chocolate Shortbread Pastry
Note: The Chocolate Shortbread pastry can make 3 tart shells. So, if you want to cut that recipe into thirds then do so but Veron and Patricia are not promising it will scale down properly.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Refrigeration: overnight
To make 3 tart shells: 9 ½ inches (24 cm) square
or 10 inches (26 cm round)


  • 1 cup (250g ) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts
  • 2 level teaspoons (5 g) ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ½ cups (400 g) cake flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (10 g) cocoa powder

A day ahead
1. In a mixing bowl of a food processor, cream the butter.

2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, the ground hazelnuts, and the cinnamon, and mix together

3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing constantly

4. Sift in the flour, the baking powder, and the cocoa powder, and mix well.

5. Form a ball with the dough, cover in plastic wrap, and chill overnight.

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration time: 1 hour


  • ½ lb (250 g) chocolate shortbread pastry (see recipe above)
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (250 g) heavy cream (30-40 percent butterfat) or crème fraiche
  • ¼ cup (50 g) butter
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) flour
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 g) whipping cream
  • ½ lb (250 g) milk chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).

2. Line the baking pan with the chocolate shortbread pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes.

3. In a saucepan, caramelize 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar using the dry method until it turns a golden caramel color. Incorporate the heavy cream or crème fraiche and then add butter. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.

4. In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.

5. Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.

6. Spread it out in the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

7. Prepare the milk chocolate mousse: beat the whipping cream until stiff. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie, and fold it gently into the whipped cream.

8. Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.

Alternate Caramel Method:

If you have problems with the dry method, you may use this method.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Set mixture in a pot over medium-high heat and stir slowly. When the mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring and leave it alone. Wait till desired color is attained .

Proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Caramel Fragments:

Melt ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar in a saucepan until it reaches an amber color. Pour it onto waxed paper laid out on a flat surface. Leave to cool. Break it into small fragments and stick them lightly into the top of the tart.

Here is the tart crust part...

This is blind baking. The beans are used to keep the crust from bubbling up in spots.

After baking!!! I loved the color on this.

Then the caramel...

Then the mousse...

I tweaked it with candied hazelnuts and caramel fragments.

I ran out of chocolate and did not want to make a whole batch of caramel again to drizzle over the top but if I were serving this at a fancy schmancy thing I would certainly have done the drizzled part.

I spoke with a chef after I finished the whole thing and it was devoured and asked how I could get the caramel to be less runny. She told me that was the "gravy" and I should leave it. ROFLOL I will be making this one again...

One more close-up...

I am so excited to join this group this month and look forward to much more baking with these great bloggers and bakers!!!


  1. Your tart is so lovely! well done on your first DB challenge and I'm glad you joined us :)

  2. WOOT! on the completion of your first challenge...The topping looks excellent, and I love the oozing caramel in the photo on your other site. YUM.

  3. Oh Leann, what a magnificent tart. I love the way your dough baked up and the decoration you put on it.

  4. Great job on your first DB Challenge!

  5. I love how your tart turned out - and to know you had fun making it is even better!

  6. Congratulations on your first challenge! It looks great!

  7. Hey Crunchy Girl! I love what you did with your tart. Great pictures too.

  8. Welcome to the club, Leanne, and well done for completing the first challenge!!

  9. I am so glad to have you as part of this amazing group. Well-done on the first challange! :)

  10. Great looking tart ... and brilliant to add the hazelnuts for the topping ... with really nice photos showing the process. Glad you are a Daring Baker!

  11. Your mousse looks perfect. Nice topping too.

  12. Congrats on your first challenge completed Leann! Your tart looks gorgeous!

  13. Looks great! I love the topping!

  14. Congratulations on your first challenge. I love the step by step pics.

  15. The combination of caramel and hazlenuts in your topping looks especially enticing...what a lovely job you did with this tart! :-)

  16. Congrats, your tart looks beautiful! I love the candied hazelnuts on top.

  17. Welcome and congrats on a first challenge well done! I think I will like your chef; caramel gravy! Bring it on!

  18. Yay Leann! I'm so happy you enjoyed your first challenge! Your tart is just gorgeous =)

    Also.. on the Daring Baker Blogroll Blog - I changed your listing to C - Crunch Culinary Capers instead of T - The Prattling Pastor's Wife. =)

    Way to go!

  19. Great job! Love the step by step photos!

  20. I love the way you mixed the nuts with the caramel for the topping. It looks delicious. Well done for your first challange

  21. What a lovely tart! I never would have thought of the caramel as gravy, but I guess that's pretty accurate!

  22. Welcome Leann, I love the hazelnuts on the top! Great photo of the tart.

  23. Congratulations on your first challenge! Looks great.

  24. looks great. welcome to the group

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  26. Your tart's crust looks perfect. I love that fluting. I love the candied hazelnut idea. It just adds that extra dimension. Great tart. Wendy

  27. Congratulations Leann, and welcome to the (growing) group. Beautiful tart!

  28. Great job on your first challenge!! Welcome to our group!!!