The sun is finally shining again in Texas today! I should be baking something up and using the fabulous light to take some pretty pics for the blog (my photography is a work in progress, and a lack of natural light doesn't help). Instead, I'm getting another recipe on the blog and binge watching Gilmore Girls (I've never watched it! Can you believe it?) This recipe is delicious and decadent: Chocolate Salted Caramel Hazelnut Tartlets.
I've been on a bit of a salted caramel kick lately. You know what? I haven't received a single complaint about it. Not a one. I think this recipe concludes my string of salted caramel recipes, at least for the time being. 😉
I know, the name is long, but I couldn't think of another way to name these babies other than listing all the goodness inside! "Chocolate Salted Caramel Hazelnut Tartlets" lets you know exactly what you're in for! These tiny tartlets have a chocolate pastry crust filled with homemade salted caramel, toasted hazelnuts, and dark chocolate ganache. As if that weren't enough, I topped each of them with toasted meringue!
Sometimes I go too far, and sometimes the madness goes just far enough. 😀
There are lots of steps to the recipe, since there are lots of components, but it's worth the time, I promise. I used teeny tiny tartlet pans (about 2.5" each), like the ones here). You could make one large (9" or 10") tart with this recipe, and your assembly time would be significantly reduced. Just keep in mind that it will take a few minutes longer to bake the crust through.
I used my beloved vanilla bean paste in the meringue (she said, surprising no one). The flavor is outstanding, and it's more economical (and lasts longer) than buying whole vanilla beans. I can never find vanilla bean paste at my local grocery store, so I buy it online [here]. If you prefer, you can substitute vanilla extract.
I can never find hazelnuts in my local grocery store, so if you're in the same boat, you can find them online [here].
I also used another beloved kitchen item: my kitchen torch. It's super handy, not to mention fun. If you're in the market for a kitchen torch, you can find one [here]. If you don't have one and prefer not to buy one, you can try toasting the meringue under your oven broiler. Keep a VERY close watch on it, as it's very easy to burn!
I think it's going to take me quite awhile to get through all of Gilmore Girls (I just started season three!). By then, I'll probably be on another salted caramel kick. I'll tell you all about it. 🙂
Other posts you may like:
Recipe adapted from Sweet Boake (link here).
Chocolate Salted Caramel Hazelnut Tartlets
Chocolate Pastry Crust:
- ¼ cup hazelnuts (see note)
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 60%)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 2 egg whites (see note)
- ½ cup sugar
- pinch salt
- Combine butter and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until no large pieces of butter remain. Add eggs, one at a time, and pulse until incorporated.
- Add flour and cocoa. Process to combine. Drizzle in the cream and pulse until the dough comes together. Shape dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and chill 2 hours.
- After chilling, roll dough to about ¼" thickness and cut to fit tartlet pans (see note). After trimming the edges of the dough, dock the bottom and sides of each crust with a fork. Place tartlet pans on a baking sheet and refrigerate 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Bake tart crusts until they appear dry and are slightly puffed, about 10 minutes. Allow crusts to cool completely.
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, and honey. Cook mixture over high heat, occasionally swirling the pan. Cook until mixture is dark amber in color, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and (carefully!) add the cream (mixture will bubble!), whisking until smooth. Add butter, vanilla bean paste (see note), and salt. Stir to combine.
- Pour about 1 teaspoon salted caramel into the bottom of each of the baked tartlet crusts.
- Preheat oven to 350F (if not already preheated from baking the crusts). Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Toast hazelnuts for 10-12 minutes, or until slightly golden and fragrant.
- Place the toasted hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub to remove skins. Allow hazelnuts to cool. Chop hazelnuts and divide them between the tartlets, sprinkling them on top of the caramel layer.
- Place chopped chocolate, and butter in a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk to simmering. Pour over chocolate and butter, then whisk until smooth.
- Spoon about a teaspoon of ganache into each tartlet on top of the caramel and hazelnuts. Use an offset spatula or gently tap each tartlet on your countertop to smooth the top of the ganache. Allow to cool and set before proceeding with the meringue.
- In a small heatproof bowl, combine egg whites, sugar, and salt. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water and warm until mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat on medium-high speed until cool, voluminous, and shiny, about 10 minutes. Pipe meringue (or dollop with a spoon!) on top of each tartlet.
- Using a kitchen torch (see note), toast the meringue. Enjoy!