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Chocolate Caramel Tart (!?!)

This recipe goes out to all of you chocolate lovers—don’t say I never did anything for you. This chocolate and caramel tart has provided me with a bit of an adventure, nerd-style. You may recognize it from the cover of the current issue of Saveur which features it as part of a story on the beloved Marlow & Sons in Brooklyn. The tart looks beautiful, but I first come across the recipe a while back in Diner Journal [1], the quarterly culinary publication by the folks that own Diner and Marlow & Sons. If you haven’t already checked out Diner Journal, please do. It is such a beautiful publication, beautiful and inspiring. And if you haven’t already eaten at Marlow & Sons and Diner—do.

But back to the recipes: the two recipes for the same tart are quite different, and that is what intrigued me. In the issue of Diner Journal that contains the recipe, there is also a nice essay on piracy and the stealing of recipes in which they admit that the tart is originally a Claudia Fleming (Gramercy Tavern) recipe which they have been using in the restaurant and which has become their signature dessert. A comparison of the two recipe shows that there are lots of minor changes between the original (Claudia Fleming/Diner Journal) and the recipe that now appears in Saveur. I tracked down the original Claudia Fleming recipe and it much closer to the Diner Journal version than the Saveur version. I am wondering if the changes are a result of legal issues. Although it is nearly impossible to “copyright” a recipe and therefore they are essentially up for grabs, it might be in bad taste for Saveur to publish the Claudia Fleming recipe as a Marlow & Sons recipe and so they made a lot of little changes to make it their own. Which is the actual recipe that Marlow & Sons uses? In any case, after lots of careful review and reading other bloggers experiences with the Saveur recipe (it seems needlessly more complicated), I decided to stick to the original. It makes more sense to me.

So, how was it? It was amazing. I really don’t care about chocolate but even I could recognize it was special. And the people I made it for (yes, there was a good reason I made something with chocolate) loved it. It is pretty simple to make if you can get over your fear of caramel. One thing I like about the original recipe is that it does not have a temperature in the instructions. You judge the caramel’s doneness by color—much less intimidating.

Chocolate Caramel Tart (adapted from Claudia Fleming > Marlow & Sons > Saveur)

For the Chocolate Tart Dough

For the Caramel Filling

For the Chocolate Ganache

Make the tart dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Add egg yolk and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Sift in flour and cocoa powder, and beat on low speed until just combined. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and form it into a disk; wrap well. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 325° F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the tart dough into a large circle 3/16 inch thick. Transfer the tart dough to a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press into pan. If it falls apart at all just push it back together in the pan. Chill the tart shell in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Prick the shell all over with a fork.  Line with parchment paper filled with pie weights or dried beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights, and bake until the pastry looks dry and set, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. (The tart shell can be made 8 hours ahead.)

Make the filling: Place 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan. Add sugar and corn syrup, and cook mixture over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it becomes a dark-amber caramel (I removed it when it was sort of a medium amber since I knew it would continue to cook off heat), about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and carefully (the mixture will bubble up) and slowly add the heavy cream followed by the butter and crème fraîche. Stir until smooth. (The caramel can be made up to 5 days ahead and refrigerated in a covered container.) Pour the caramel into the cooled tart shell and allow to set, first at room temperature and then in the regrigerator.

Make the ganache glaze: Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and let stand for 2 minutes, then stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour the ganazhe over the tart. Refrigerate until set.

Remove the tart from the refridgerator 5-10 minutes before you are ready to serve it. Cut the tart into slices and sprinkle each with Fleur de Sel.