Today’s Cook the Book recipe comes to us from Michael Laiskonis, Le Bernardin’s dashing pastry chef. His dark chocolate, peanut, and caramel tart is perfect for anyone who likes a bit of salty with their sweet; it’s almost like a very large salted caramel, rounded out with the bitterness of dark chocolate.
At Le Bernardin, they serve the tart with chopped peanuts, candied lemon peel, a peanut butter “powder” made from peanut butter and tapioca maltodextrin, and a scoop of malted milk chocolate rum ice cream. A home cook could probably get away with using a good-quality chocolate ice cream.
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- The tart dough
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 3 large egg yolks
- The filling
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped roasted salted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons caramel sauce (recipe follows)
- 1/4 cup chocolate ganache (recipe follows)
- 2 ounces 55% dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/4 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the tart shells, cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth and lightly aerated. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder, and mix into the butter. Whisk the egg yolks together and add to the bowl, mixing just until incorporated.
Form the dough into a flat rectangle and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and let rest for at least 1 hour.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/2 inch thick (you should have a square of about 12 inches). Brush away any excess flour and, using a 4 1/4-inch round cutter, cut out 4 circles. Place four 3 1/4-inch by 1/2-inch-high ring molds (or tartlet pans) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Line each ring mold with a circle, pressing the dough into the base of each ring to ensure there are no air pockets. Trim off any excess dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Bake the tart shells on the middle rack of the oven for 7 to 8 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and bake the shells for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the tart shells to cool on a rack before unmolding them, then store in an airtight container until ready to use.
To assemble the tarts, place the baked tart shells on a clean parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the chopped peanuts over the bottom of each tart. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons of the caramel sauce (gently warmed if necessary) into each shell, covering the peanuts. Place the tarts in the freezer for 15 minutes to allow the caramel to set slightly, so it can be cleanly topped with the ganache.
Remove the tarts from the freezer and spread 1 tablespoon of the chocolate ganache evenly into each one. Allow the tarts to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving, to allow the ganache time to set. (The finished tarts can be kept at room temperature for up to 8 hours before serving.)
- makes about 1/2 cup -
Ganache can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered tightly, and stored at room temperature. Gently warm the ganache in the microwave or over a hot water bath if it is too firm to pour smoothly (overheating may cause the ganache to "break" or separate). It can also be used as a truffle filling or, when gently heated, as an impromptu fondue dip.
Put the chocolate in a bowl. Combine the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Remove from the heat and gradually pour over the chocolate, stirring with a spatula to ensure all the chocolate melts.
Add the butter, stirring until everything is emulsified.
- makes about 1/2 cup -
In a small pot, combine the sugar, con syrup, lemon juice, and water. Without stirring, cook the mixture over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the caramel turns a golden color.
Meanwhile, heat the heavy cream in a separate pot until warm.
Remove the sugar mixture from the heat and quickly whisk in the cream (the sugar mixture and the cream should be warm to avoid lumps from forming). Whisk the sauce over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the sauce is smooth.
Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the butter.
Allow the sauce to cool, transfer to a container, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature if using the same day or refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 week.