Chocolate Caramel With Sea Salt Tart/ Tartlets

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Mother Nature nurtures every living thing in different way. Yes we came to experience her way of treating the life of her kiths and kin yesterday. On our way to public library, there is an apartment complex with shallow pond and water fountains. Pond has lot of inhabitants including, fish and turtles and duck. In between the apartments and a small road, even there is a sign saying that watch out for ducks as they are crossing. 

My daughter likes to feed them. So mostly in the evening we will visit that pond, so that Nidhi can feed them. Last time she was brave and ended up getting bitten while feeding the ducks by her hand. So this time she was more cautious, she started giving one or two pop corn to duck, as she was giving several ducks started coming towards her for food.

First there were lot male ducks/Drake trying to get more food from Nidhi, then there is female duck/hen came to get the food. While she was feeding them with her pop corn bag, we a saw a mother duck and her 12 ducklings, come and wait few distance away from all the other ducks. I told my daughter to feed her and her kids, too. Mother duck was still afraid but she wants to taste the popcorn, when Nidhi gave her, she had few bites. Then her cute ducklings started coming in line and following each other in a queue. 

All of a sudden few villain ducks started attacking those ducklings, one even got severe bitten. That one turned upside down. We felt so sad, so hubby went there and carried the injured duckling in his hand. After few minutes, duckling started to lift his/her head, so hubby left him /her with mom. Mom came and inspected and told something in her language and started to move on. Other ducklings followed her, while this injured one also started following mother; all of a sudden he/she fell in the water and even made lot of noise to get attention of mother. However, the mother duck moved on to other part of pond with her 11 duckling. This one struggled and swam for few minutes after that I was not able to find her or him.
  Nidhi, hubby and I got upset, hubby told me, and we have to come tomorrow to see if he or she survived. I told him, if there are 12 ducklings, then it survived otherwise it has died.  Nidhi was asking me while returning home, why mommy duck is not taking care of the injured one?  I told her I don’t know. But in the mind I thought she has to take this drastic step.  May be mommy duck want to protect the rest of her brood, so that she won’t lose any more. Next day we went back again, mommy duck has only 11 ducklings, the one who got injured the day before had died. That is Mother Nature; even mother duck can’t save her duckling.

Okay coming back to food, I made this delicious chocolate tart for this month Daring Baker’s challenge. Chocolate has always weakness for me, now my daughter and son love it too. Earlier I was a fan of white chocolate, but now I like dark chocolate. My kids love dark chocolate too than the white one. When I ask her which cake you want. Her answer will be immediately chocolate cup cakes. There are a few other recipes of pie and tart for this month challenge, however I choose this chocolate tart. I want to try cracked pie; however our hostess Rachaelfrom pizzarossa mentioned that it is deadly sweet. If I made that sweet, hubby who is diabetic can’t even come nearby. So I decide on this chocolate caramel tart in mini tartlet.  I also learned how to make caramel with heavy cream.  Usually I make caramel with sugar and then dilute them with water. I think adding heavy cream to dilute the caramelized sugar make it more flavorful.
I made only 4 inch mini tartlet, since the challenge recipe  given for making 10 inch tart crust, I used this recipe of mini tartlet recipe from William –Sonoma and skipped the egg and reduced the sugar  to make all butter shell. For caramel and filling I used the recipe suggested for the challenge. Since I used not so hot heavy cream my caramel is not runny as it supposed to be.  At first I was in quite dilemma thinking of making the tart eggless. Then when it comes to chocolate mousse part, making eggless is difficult; I need some agent to thickening the chocolate mousse. I don’t like the taste of cornstarch in the recipe. Further happening of tart making is done around 9.00 P.M. in the night, hubby rushing over to finish everything and let my daughter to make to sleep. So I tried with one egg, it created delicious chocolate mousse. Then after finished the baking I stored the tart in the refrigerator for overnight, when ready to serve sprinkled with some coarse sea salt.
Trust me each bite is taking me to  tasty paradise. Try this it is a keeper recipe,

 Chocolate and Caramel Tart
Active time: 1 hour altogether
Baking time: 35 minutes altogether
Cooling time: approx. 2 hours altogether
Yield: 3 -4 inch tartlet


  For Tart
  • 1 Tablespoon very cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2cup+ 1/8cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  •   Half of 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon  (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into
      1⁄4-inch cubes
In a small bowl, stir together the water and vanilla; set aside.

To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water-vanilla mixture and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.

To make the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water-vanilla mixture and beat just until the dough pulls together.

Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. Use the dough immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.

To roll out the dough, on a lightly floured board, flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, and then roll out until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick. Use a small, sharp knife to cut out a round or rounds 2 inches greater in diameter than your tart or larger tartlet pans. Use a small, sharp knife or a cookie cutter to cut out rounds 1/2 to 1 inch greater in diameter than your miniature tartlet pans. This recipe makes three 4 inch tartlets.

Nut Dough Variation: Add 2 Tbs. ground toasted pecans, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts to the flour mixture and proceed as directed.

Make-Ahead Tip: The tart dough may be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month. To freeze, place the dough round on a 12-inch cardboard circle and wrap it well with plastic wrap. Alternatively, use the round to line a tart pan and wrap well.

Blind baking
Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Lightly grease three 4 inch tartlet pan, ideally a fluted metal one with a removable bottom
Line the tart pan with baking paper and fill with dry beans or pie weights and bake until set, around 9 minutes. Remove pie weights and paper and bake another 6 minutes, until dry.
Remove the pastry from the oven and allow cooling in the pan. Leave the oven on.
For the caramel
3 1/2 tablespoons (52.5 ml) (50 gm) (1.75oz) granulated sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons (50ml) whole cream, hot
For the chocolate mousse
1 Jumbo egg
3 1/2 tablespoons (50ml) whole milk
2 tablespoon powdered sugar
7 tablespoons whole cream
4 oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
Coarse sea salt
For the caramel
1. Spread the sugar evenly across the bottom of a small, heavy-based, non-coated saucepan (it needs to be metallic so you can see the color). Heat over a medium-low heat without stirring until the sugar starts to melt and becomes liquid around the edges. Once about a quarter of it has melted, gently stir continuously with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula until it turns a deep amber color, a few minutes depending on how high the heat is.
2. Remove from heat and very slowly and carefully pour all (100ml) of the hot cream into the caramel, stirring continuously – it will splutter and steam so be very careful as it is extremely hot. The cream needs to hot and poured very slowly, otherwise the caramel will seize. Keep stirring until it stops bubbling and is well combined then set aside to cool. I couldn’t take a lot of pictures of this process because I needed both my hands!
For the chocolate mousse
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg together with the milk (and powdered sugar, if using).
2. In a small heavy-based saucepan, bring all of the cream to a boil.
3. Remove cream from heat and add the broken chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth. Let cool a few minutes.
4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg and milk mixture and stir gently with a spatula to obtain a smooth cream.
5. Spread the cooled caramel in the bottom of the cooked tart shell.
6. Gently pour the chocolate cream over the caramel so you don’t disturb it.
7. Place the tart into the hot oven and bake for 35 minutes, until the filling has set but is still wobbly in the center.
8. Remove the tart from the oven and allow cooling to room temperature. If using a tart pan with removable bottom, unmold before serving. Just before serving sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Pastry adapted from  mini tartlet recipe from William –Sonoma   and filling adapted from Valéry Drouet’s “Chocolat



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  1. says

    you reminded me of my dallas days! we had this huge lake and park opposite our apartment and we’d go there for a walk every evening after dinner. we enjoyed watching the ducks and swans there and i especially loved seeing them beautifully glide over the water in unison! <3

    btw the tartlets look amazing!

  2. says

    Awww! These ducklings are so cute! I remember when I was Houston, there was a small lake around, a km from our house. My family loved to feed the ducks and see them gliding over the water a lot! Good to know that Nidhi likes to bond with Nature! The chocolate tartlets look wonderful! Lovely snaps! :)

  3. says

    Interesting story about the ducks and I am in for nature too. Looking at nature is very therapeutic to the mind and soul.

    The tart with dark chocolates are lovely and for me, a small piece will do. Made to perfection and its simply fabulous.

  4. says

    ooh…that ws sad..and yes ! maybe..she just wanted to save the rest of her little ones. But , again… feel sad for the injured baby. By the way, i feel the paragraphs between the 3rd and 4th pictures just got mixed up ? never mind..the details are conveyed..and the tarts, just perfect !

  5. says

    That was a nice duck story, a good read! Love the sweet teeny tiny duckling shot!! Look at the extended eyebrow on the last shot – Adorable.
    Love the chocolate caramel tarts, very yummy and mouth watering..

  6. says

    Wonderful photos *_* And the recipe is sooooo yummy! :)
    Have a nice day!
    Un abbraccio,

  7. says

    You’re right, the mom duck has to protect the majority over one duckling. Sad and really so much harder to explain to kids about things like this. On a happy side, I love how your tartlet recipe is easy to follow and looks really yum :)

  8. says

    Swathi, I’, drooling over your Chocolate Caramel mini tarts; love the addition of the sea salt. Such a wonderful recipe that I would like to try. My daughter has the little tart forms so I don’t have to run out to buy them!

    Love how you incorporated your post with other photos (duckies)…so cute, once you feed them they will keep coming back and multiplying. Although, the mother duck always takes good care of the babies. So sad about the injured little duck.

  9. says

    Your chocolate tarts are dreamy Swathi! Love the sweet and salty combo! So sad about the ducks – what a meanie that big duck is to hurt the little baby. Your pictures are beautiful.