People have been talking about getting older a lot recently.
You think you haven't changed but you have. I look at my closest friends and in the last 5 years we have definitely..... matured. The kids are still in there but they have learned plenty in the interim. We have been influenced by all sorts of happenings, the break up's, the hook up's, college and exams, travel, PEOPLE. Because people change people without a doubt... I'm no Dali lama but I have put that piece of the jigsaw together.
Caramel changes nothing. Salted caramel changes everything. If you haven't been there go. Then put bacon in your cookies. Because we're not too old to mix it up every once in a while.
The cheetah pattern comes from tempered chocolate spread onto a chocolate transfer sheet I bought here. Method for tempering chocolate below.
For the pastry "Pate sablee"
200g butter softened
100g icing sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean
finely grated zest of one lemon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250g plain flour
1. Beat the butter, sugar and salt together until pale- about 5 minutes.
2. Split the vanilla bean lengthways and using the knife at a 45 degree angle scrape the seeds out. Add to the bowl with the lemon zest.
3. With the beaters running, gradually add the eggs mixing until fully incorporated.
4. Gently fold in the flour but do not overwork.
5. Bring the dough together into a bowl with your fingers, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate until needed- at least 2 hours and overnight is preferred. The pastry is very soft so the longer you leave it in the fridge the better.
6. Cut the pastry into six. Roll each piece out and use to cover a tartlet tin. Cut off excess. Cut out squares of greaseproof paper and put inside the tartlet tins. Weigh down with baking beans or rice. Put back in the fridge for a half hour.
For the Tarts
25g dark chocolate
75ml single cream
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
150ml whipped cream
2 tablespoons of butter
pinch of salt
275g dark chocolate
1. Bake the tartlets for 10-15 minutes at 180oC. Lower the temperature to 160oC and remove the tartlets. Remove the greaseproof paper and beans from the tartlet pans and return to the ovven for 5 minutes.
2. Melt the 25g of dark chocolate and brush the inside of the tartlet tins when they are cooled. This will seal the pastry.
For the salted caramel
3. Heat the cream in a small pan over a gentle heat.
4. Put the sugar in a pan over a low heat. Do not use a teflon pan as the teflon may prevent the sugar from caramelising. Do not stir. It may take 20-30 minutes but keep an eye on it. The sugar will start to melt on the inside but still do not stir. The sugar should turn a deep golden brown- for those with a sugar thermometer that is 320oF -350oF. Stir with a silicone spatula to ensure that all the sugar is dissolved.
5. Add the cream to the caramel a little at a time keeping the pan over a low heat. The caramel will splutter but that is a good sign. Keep stirring if the caramel goes lumpy as you add the cream. It will go smooth with a little heat and constant stirring. Add the vanilla bean seeds. Keep stirring over the heat for another minute or so and then add the butter and salt. Remove from the heat and stir until the butter has melted. You should have a smooth glossy caramel sauce.
6. Allow the caramel to cool for ten minutes and then divide among the six tartlet cases.
For the filling
7. Put the cream, butter and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour the boiled cream into a heatproof bowl. Add the broken up chocolate. Using a spatula mix a tight circle in the centre of the bowl until the chocolate starts to melt smoothly. Gradually widen the circle until all the chocolate has melted and the ganache is shiny and smooth.
8. Spoon the ganache over the salted caramel and leave to cool overnight at room temperature. Do not put in the fridge as the ganache may go grey.
9. Pop out of the tins and serve with cream.
For the cheetah chocolate transfer sheet
1. Cut a strip of transfer sheet and place on a big sheet of greaseproof paper with the rough/cocoa butter side up.
2. Melt the chocolate and temper using the 'seeding' method.
3. Put two thirds of your desired amount of chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water and don't let the water into the chocolate.
4. Heat the chocolate to 45oC/113oF and measure using a thermometer. If it goes too high take off the heat and allow to cool to the correct temperature. Add in teh reamining third chocolate and continue to stir until it reaches 32oC/89.6 (for dark chocolate), 31oC/87.8F (for milk) and 29-30/84-86 (for white chocolate). Use straightaway before the chocolate cools.
5. Pour onto the chocolate transfer sheet and spread into an even thin layer using a palette knife or spatula. Don't dig at the design.
6. Leave to cool for an hour at room temperature.
7. Turn the transfer sheet around and pull off the plastic sheet. The chocolate should have your design and should be shiny and snap like a cracker.