Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart

Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart

There are total of four layers in this tart and I’m not counting the tart crust as a layer. At the very bottom there are honey roasted salted peanuts covered with fleur de sel caramel. Then goes a layer of barely sweetened tangy sour cream-cream cheese mousse followed by the milk chocolate pastry cream. The egg whites left over after making pâte sablée and pastry cream were turned into Swiss meringue topping and then blow-torched. It tasted fantastic. Every layer is equally thin (well, except the Swiss meringue) and harmoniously compliments each other. The filling is sweet and salty, and creamy; the crust is buttery, chocolaty, crispy and tender.

Some components can be made in advance, but the assembled tart should be enjoyed (and it’s pure enjoyment) the same day it is put together.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who hasn’t celebrated their Thanksgiving yet! And I’m off until Saturday. I’ve got a lot of catch up to do visiting your blogs, guys. I haven’t had a lot of time lately, so – my apologies.

Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart

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Canadian Butter Tarts

Canadian Butter Tarts

I think I’ve lived in Canada long enough to get an idea what is considered to be a truly Canadian dessert. I won’t be exploring this subject now. It’s all covered here, if you are interested. There are no doubts regarding the butter tarts heritage. But I chose them as my entry for Sugar High Friday-Mmm…Canada not because they are qualified by their origin. I picked them because they are delicious.

The recipe below is my version of the traditional butter tarts. Don’t get me wrong, not that they are needed any improvements (they are good as they are), I made some changes to suit my own taste preferences. And you will see they’ve become even more Canadian after these adjustments. I added maple syrup to the filling and soaked the raisins in Canadian Whisky. Another thing I changed was the crust. I replaced the pie dough crust with the buttery tart crust. And since I love my crust “well-done”, nicely browned and flavorful, I prebaked the crusts before filling them. I hope I’m not going to be blamed for ruining the authentic character of those. They’ve turned out better than store-bought variety.

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Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

These are the lemon bars indeed. I just baked them in a tart pan. And I had my reasons for doing so. When I baked them in a square 9-inch pan lined with foil, I had to trim the edges to get perfectly looking bars. I often ended up with a 6-inch slab comparing to the original size. There’s not enough for serving… And guess what happened to all these trimmings… Then I found a wonderful solution – completely enclosing the filling in a tasty buttery crust. A long and narrow tart pan suits great. Now the bars turn out very attractive and easy to slice. I’m thinking about baking my favorite brownies the same way – it will definitely keep me in a better shape.

This is an adaptation of Alice Medrich’s recipe.

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Neapolitan Ricotta and Wheat-Berry Easter Pie (Pastiera Napoletana)

Wheat Berry Pie

This rustic looking pie, distantly reminiscent to a cheesecake, is an Italian specialty and usually served on Easter. Don’t try to substitute orange-flower water for anything else. There’s no such substitution. And in my opinion, this aromatic fluid is what makes this cake so special. Most likely you will find the orange-flower water in the Ethnic food section in any supermarket.

There are a lot of recipe variations of this pie. This one is Michele Scicolone’s, published two years ago in the Easter issue of “Gourmet”. I followed the recipe almost to a letter. I just boiled the wheat-berries in milk instead of water as it was suggested. It didn’t look like a bright idea when my milk boiled over (what it always does) and made a terrible mess on the stove. So, the moral is – follow the recipe… I added a bit more zest though…

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Honey Maple Pecan Tart

Honey Maple Pecan Tart

More a confection than a pastry; it screams out loud for a double shot of espresso. The tart is seductive and rich. Serve it thinly sliced. If you wish you can substitute all or part of the pecans for walnuts.

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Chocolate Ricotta Tart with Pine Nuts

Chocolate Ricotta Tart with Pine Nuts

The crust is absolutely perfect, crisp and very tender at the same time, with a distinct pine nut flavor. The filling is creamy and chocolaty (make sure to use a good quality chocolate) with a subtle tanginess from the cheeses.

This is Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe with some of my alternations. She certainly knows what’s what in Italian cuisine.  

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