"Doesn't this tart look amazing," I whispered on Saturday afternoon, as the sky greyed and raindrops threatened to fall.
"Okay, I'm just not sure why this is called a tart," G said, as I showed him the photo in Baking: From My Home to Yours before we embarked on the baking process.
"Well, a tart is, um, not just for fruit! It's baked in a pan like this one!" I showed him the round, fluted edged pan with a removable bottom, the one he was about to butter for me. (is it cruel to delegate such tasks? he does a much more thorough job of buttering and flouring, as needs be, than i do).
"I still don't get it," he said, shaking his head.
I walked out of the kitchen...
...and into the study, where I selected my trusty pocket Oxford dictionary. "A tart is an open pastry creation!" I remarked, and then made a slightly risque joke involving the second definition of tart (consult your dictionary).
With that bit of banter established, we set about making the pastry. G buttered the pan, careful to fill each tiny pleat of the edge, as I mixed up the dough. We set it into the freezer and began the business of caramel and ganache making.
I delegated the ganache making to G, as he's a huge fan of the versatile creamy chocolate concoction. He chopped 8 ounces of bittersweet Scharffen Berger chocolate, and whisked meticulously as I poured over the boiling cream and added the chunks of butter.
Meanwhile, I faced the hot, tedious task of caramel making. I've successfully made caramel, in many stages and versions, on several occasions. I'm always nervous, though, as molten sugar foams and bubbles, threatening to harden and blacken in an instant. The caramel crafting was hot, steamy, and touch and go. I may have uttered a few profanities as I stirred and checked the candy thermometer. The color test was not reliable, as I used my favorite beige colored Florida Crystals organic cane sugar to intensify the flavor, and pale yellow star thistle honey in place of corn syrup.
As I struggled with the caramel, and the tart shell baked, G chopped the cashews—Planters Harvest Jumbo cashews, roasted and lightly salted.
Our tasks complete, we sampled the components, eyes lighting up at the voluptuous flavors and textures of the ganache and caramel.
We covered the cooled ganache and caramel, and set them in the fridge overnight. I decided to freeze the tart crust to keep it as fresh as possible.
On Sunday, we assembled the tart and brought it to G's parents' home for an early fall Corn Roast and family get-together.
After a delicious meal of grilled meats and soy products, roasted corn, salads and salsas and fruits and vegetables, we sliced the tart into sixteen slivers.
With mugs of coffee in hand, the adults surveyed the tart and began eating...
The children were not fans, eating everything but the ganache, or declining outright. (next time i'm going to bring cupcakes adorned with pink sprinkles for the girls!).
"This tart is not (a) tart," M said, delving into his second, nay, third sliver a few hours later, "but it's good anyway!"
Conviviality and celebration filled the air as we watched the Detroit Lions finally, finally win a football game for the first time since December 23, 2007.
I adore this tart, as it marries several of my favorite flavors—chocolate, caramel, nuts, and buttery pastry. Next time I'll use salted and roasted pecans, and I'll share it with my Mom and Dad and G, perhaps the night before the Lions win yet another game.
Thank you, Carla, of Chocolate Moosey, for selecting one of the recipes I most wanted to bake!