Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tartlets with Salted Caramel Popcorn
Portion/Yield:Makes 12 tartlets
Rich, chocolaty and indulgent are perfect descriptions for this fabulous recipe. I used to make these tartlets for special occasions at the pub and the customers loved them. It is quite a complex recipe and takes time and dedication, but it’s well worth the effort. The pastry can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept wrapped in the fridge.
Do not refrigerate these tartlets as the chocolate ganache will set too hard; also, the caramel is hydroscopic which means it will dissolve and return to liquid. My best advice is to make and serve these on the same day.
Ingredients & Method
For the cocoa pastry
- 125g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- 150g plain flour
- 60g icing sugar
- 30g ground almonds
- 30g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 large egg yolks
For the salted caramel
- 225g caster sugar
- 5 tablespoons water
- 100g cold unsalted butter, diced
- 100ml double cream
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the chocolate ganache filling
- 250ml double cream
- 1 tablespoon clear/runny honey
- 350g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
- 50g cold unsalted butter, diced
For the salted caramel popcorn
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 50g popcorn kernels
- 50g unsalted butter
- 75g caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
First prepare the cocoa pastry. In a bowl, rub the butter into the flour, icing sugar, almonds and cocoa powder, then add one of the egg yolks and mix until combined. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3. Roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 1.5mm thickness, then use it to line 12 individual 8 x 2cm tartlet moulds or tins. Line the pastry cases with parchment paper and baking beans and leave to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes, then bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until cooked all the way through and crisp. Remove the baking beans and paper, brush the pastry cases with the remaining egg yolk and return to the oven for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the oven, then transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely in the moulds.
Next make the salted caramel. Put the caster sugar and water in a small, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then increase the heat and boil rapidly, without stirring, for 4–5 minutes until you get a medium rich brown caramel (not light but not dark). Remove from the heat, then carefully add the butter, cream and salt and stir until smooth and combined. Return to the heat and bring gently back to the boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, then pour the caramel into the cooked tartlet cases, dividing it evenly. Leave to set at room temperature, about 1 hour (do not refrigerate).
For the ganache filling, put the cream and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted, smooth and combined. Whisk in the cold butter – the ganache will become glossy and shiny. Immediately pour the ganache over the set caramel in the tartlet cases, tap to smooth it out and then leave to set at room temperature, about 1 hour.
In the meantime, make the salted caramel popcorn. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the popcorn kernels, cover the pan with the lid and heat over a high heat for about 5 minutes or until all the kernels have popped, shaking the pan frequently. Remove from the heat, transfer the popcorn to the prepared baking sheet and set aside, uncovered, while you make the caramel.
Melt the butter in a small, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the caster sugar and golden syrup, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then increase the heat and boil rapidly, without stirring, for 4–5 minutes until you get a medium rich brown caramel. Remove from the heat, carefully pour the caramel evenly over the popcorn, stir gently to mix (take care as the caramel will be very hot), then sprinkle over the salt. Set aside until completely cold and set (do not refrigerate).
Once set hard, break into pieces (see Cook’s Note). Once you are ready to serve, carefully remove the tartlets from their moulds and place on serving plates. Decorate the tartlets with some salted caramel popcorn scattered over, and serve immediately.
Cook’s Note Store any leftover salted caramel popcorn in an airtight container at room temperature, and enjoy it as a snack or served over chocolate or vanilla ice cream.