Chocolate~Caramel Tart with Pistachios and Espresso Beans

by ....RaeDi

 

 

Today is the day after, seems like I am always trying to catch up to the present time.  Yesterday was Father’s Day.  My Father has been gone now for twenty-three years, where does the time go.   I find myself at different times thinking of him and wondering what he would think on different things that have taken place over the years.  I too learned not to be my father, only he could possibly take that walk and we each are our own as it should be.

It makes me hope that I have been a better parent; I think we all want and hope to be and to do better than our own parents and hope the same for each new generation.  I am optimistic that my children will improve on their parents in one way or another.  That is something I can hope will come to pass and then through them to the future children.  That would be a wonderful blessing for our family now and through all the ages of time.

I made a tart today to celebrate all fathers, from ages past to future Dads (and Gramps.)  I was asked for something with caramel, chocolate, espresso and the simple graham crackers.  I knew immediately what I wanted to make.  It has been over a dozen years since I made a graham cracker crust.  I had to Google to find the directions.  eHow had the basic recipe; I had forgotten how simple it really was… I had the Graham crackers but had wanted chocolate so I added 1 and ½ teaspoon of Dutch Cocoa Powder.  This recipe originally called for shortbread pastry, but the chocolate-graham cracker crust was just as easy.  It called for hazelnuts of which I had none, but I love a Pistachio and chocolate mix and had some so that decision was made.  It called for Milk Chocolate and I used a mix of 1 oz milk chocolate with 3 ozs of Bitter Chocolate it was a perfect and healthier mix.

The original recipe was called Milk-Chocolate-Caramel Tart with Hazelnuts and Espresso that I found in Bon Appétit sometime in the past, I was just waiting to use this recipe and it did not let me down even with all my changes.  I too made a change in the espresso powder, I had none and so used some Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans that I did have and they tasted perfect. It too called for a sprinkling of crunchy cacao nibs on top of finished tart (pieces of roasted cacao beans) of which I had none, so that is another reason I used the chocolate covered espresso beans.

It was delicious; it was on the rich side, real rich; a very small bite was all I could handle.  I was disappointed in one thing, the espresso beans when chopped left the dark chocolate looking a little sick, and were not that pretty on top of the tart, but they were delicious none the less, even for a person who does not like coffee of any kind (me!)  Next time I will probably leave them whole and put just a few, it would then have a ‘picture perfect’ look….

This recipe looks long and drawn out, but it is rather simple and took less time than I thought, will worth the little bit of time and effort….

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 6 tablespoons of melted Butter
  • 1 and ½ cups of crushed Graham Crackers (about 24 graham crackers)
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon of Dark Dutch Cocoa
  • ¼ cup Sugar

Place the graham cracker crumbs, Dutch cocoa and sugar in bowl, stir them to combine.  Add the melted butter and stir or with hands blend until well blended.  Press into the tart shell, I used a 13 ¾ by 4 ½ inch rectangular tart pan with removable bottom.  Once all is press in the tart shell put in a heated oven ~ 350˚ and bake for 8 ~ 10 minutes.  Leave on counter until you have your filling ready to use.

          Filling:

  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/3 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 2/3 cup whole Pistachios (I used salted, love the salt with the chocolate and the caramel)

Stir sugar and ¼ cup water in heavy medium sauce pan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is medium amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 8 minutes.  Remove pan from heat.  Add cream (mixture will bubble up be careful.) Place saucepan over medium heat: stir until caramel bits dissolve.  Add butter, vinegar, and salt: stir until butter melts.  Stir in 2/3 cup of Pistachios’.   Now spoon the filling unto the graham cracker crust.  Chill until cold and set, around 30 minutes or so.

                Topping:

  • 1/3 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder ~ I used 1 ½ teaspoons of chopped Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Bean. (In using the beans you will see the actual crushed espresso beans floated in the chocolate topping, but they are delicious!)
  • 1 oz of high quality Milk Chocolate
  • 3 oz of high quality Bitter Chocolate
  • 1 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Cacao Nibs ~ I replace with a few of the chopped Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans (I only used a few because they were not that attractive, but good!)

Combine cream and espresso powder, (here I replaced with the chopped dark chocolate covered espresso beans, in small saucepan.)  Bring to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until espresso powder (the dark chocolate melted and lift floating pieces of chopped espresso beans) is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Add the chocolate and butter, stir until smooth.  Spread chocolate mixture over caramel in tart pan.  Sprinkle with cacao nibs (I sprinkled with a few chopped dark chocolate covered espresso beans,) Chill tart until topping is set about 1 hour.  This can be made up to 2 days ahead of time, cover and keep chilled.  To serve remove tart pan sides, place tart on platter and cut crosswise into bars to serve.

I will add the shortbread recipe for those that would like to go that route:

Shortbread Crust:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ cup Chilled Unsalted Butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon (or more) Ice Water

Blend flour, powdered sugar, and salt in processor.  Add butter, using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add 1 tablespoon ice water; process just until dough begins to clump together, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dry.  Transfer dough to 13 ¾ by 4 ½ inch rectangular tart pan with removable bottom.  Press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan. Freeze crust 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375˚F.  Bake crust until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.  Cool crust completely in pan on rack.

Overall, it was an excellent recipe, I was not happy with the Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans, only because of the way they looked after chopping them, if using again I would not chop them.  If I was not going using the whole chocolate covered espresso beans I would use the espresso powder and possibly some nibs next time I make this.  I also would use the shortbread crust to help cut through the richness of the tart.   But the merging of caramel (which tasted like a toffee caramel ~ very good,) chocolate, pistachio and espresso mix is a wonderful tart full of luscious delight we all agreed….

Comfrey also known as Quaker Comfrey and Russian Comfrey

Taken in one of my gardens by the light of the full moon….

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