Okay, so this tart was supposed to appear on the blog before Christmas but I got a little too into the merrymaking of it all. But I figure December as a whole is baking season and now that all the gifts have been purchased, and the elaborate tables have been set we actually have the time to, well, take our time in the kitchen and bake for fun. And I can tell you this Earl Grey Caramel Tart is very fun to make. It’s obviously more fun to eat but what dessert isn’t?
So what are we looking at here? This tart features a crushed Digestive Biscuit crust, a chewy Earl Grey caramel center, and a dark chocolate lid decorated with large flakes of sea salt. The muse for this tart was the family digestive biscuit. You know, the yassified version of the classic with a chocolate-dipped bottom? I wanted this tart to look like a giant version of that. I don’t think I quite achieved that. But this tart was too delicious not to share.
Now, nothing in this tart is particularly difficult to pull off. The crust is pat-in-pan and the chocolate only requires light whisking. But the chewy caramel center can be tricky. It’s a lot less fussy if you have a quality candy thermometer. The only other essential tool is patience. Give the sugar the time it needs to reach its target temperature. If you don’t, the caramel won’t set and you will have a runny tart. Don’t get me wrong, it will still be delicious just infinitely messier.
This tart starts with the crust. In the video that accompanied this tart on my socials, I folded my digestive biscuits into a parchment paper packet and crushed them with a rolling pin. It was more demonstrative than plopping the cookies into a food processor and pushing a button. And I do like to provide alternative preparation methods for those of you who don’t have every kitchen gadget known to man. But if you do happen to have a food processor, blitz your cookies in there. It’s a lot quicker and a lot less messy. But if you don’t have a food processor, don’t fret. A rolling pin or wine bottle will do the trick.
Once the cookies are reduced to crumbs, place them in a bowl and pour one stick’s worth of melted butter over the crushed biscuits. Stir until the mixture resembles wet sand. Pour the mixture into a tart pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup to help, press it evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 12 minutes and set it aside to cool. And yes, that really is it. Pat-in-pan crusts are so simple they should be illegal. The crust will feel a little fragile when you’re working with it, but I promise once it bakes and cools, it will hold up.
Now for the mildly hard part – the caramel. And I realize you’re going to see a lot of sugar going into the pan and I apologize for any distress this might cause you. But caramel is essentially sugar. It’s caramelized sugar, in fact. So make your peace with it right now because unfortunately there really isn’t a work around. You’re also going to see the word “corn syrup”crop up. This is to help stabilize the caramel, so it doesn’t separate or crystallize or get up to any other funky behaviour. Corn syrup is not the same as high frutose corn syrup. That doesn’t mean corn syrup is healthy, it just means it isn’t as unhealthy or harmful as its more menacing relative. Okay, enough with the disclaimers, let’s make this caramel.
Before the sugar hits the pan, we’re going to make some supped up cream. Pour cream into a sauce pan and add some butter and four tea bags. This is where the earl grey comes in. Gently heat the cream until the butter melts. Don’t let it come to a boil at any point. Take the cream off of the heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Once those 30 minutes are up, the tea bags should be cool enough to handle. Pluck them from the cream and wring them out over the saucepan before discarding them. Set the cream mixture aside.
Add the sugar, corn syrup, and water to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook over high heat without stirring until the mixture reaches 320°F. The sugar should be starting to turn a deep amber color. Take the sugar off of the heat and whisk in the cream mixture. The caramel will bubble frantically, don’t be alarmed. Once the cream is in and the bubbling has subsided, return the caramel to heat and cook until it reach 250°F. This is called “softball” and it will ensure that the caramel is chewy not runny or hard like a sucking candy. Pour the caramel into the tart shell and chill for a minimum of 2 hours. I think overnight is best.
Once the caramel is set the hard part is over. The dark chocolate lid asks very little of you. Pour chocolate chips into a bowl and add some cream. Heat over a double boiler until smooth. Pour the chocolate over the tart and dot the surface with a little additional caramel. Drag a tooth pick through the chocolate and caramel to create a swirly design. Finish the tart with sea salt. And take the time to find an attractive sea salt. I know it sounds odd, but the salt crystals are this tart’s only adornment so invest in something pretty. Chill the tart until ready to serve.
And that’s everything you need to know about this Earl Grey Caramel Tart. So rich, decadent, and intense all you need is a small slice. Pair your tart with a good cup of coffee or something stronger as you ring in the new year!
Earl Grey Caramel Tart with Digestive Biscuit Crust
- 1 9" tart pan
- 1 Food Processor
- 1 Large skillet
- 1 Candy Thermometer
- 1 small saucepan
- 1 heat-proof bowl
Digestive Biscuit Crust
- 250g (8oz) digestive biscuits
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
Earl Grey Caramel
- 1 cup cream
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 bags earl grey tea
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
Dark Chocolate Lid
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 tbsp heavy cream
- sea salt for sprinkling
For the Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the digestive biscuits in a food processor and blitz into crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and pour the butter over top. Toss until the mixture resembles wet sand.250g (8oz) digestive biscuits, ½ cup unsalted butter
- Pour the biscuit mixture into a tart pan and pack it evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place the crust in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the Caramel
- Place the cream, butter, and tea bags in a small saucepan. Heat gently until the butter melts.** Take the mixture off of the heat and stir in the salt. Cover and let the tea bags steep for 30 minutes.1 cup cream, 4 tbsp unsalted butter, 4 bags earl grey tea, ½ tsp salt
- When the 30 minutes have passed and the tea bags are cool enough to handle. Take them out of the cream and wring them out into the saucepan. Discard the tea bags and set the cream aside.
- Pour the sugar, corn syrup, and water into a skillet. Stir to combine and place the skillet over high heat. Cook the mixture without stirring until it registers 320°F on a candy thermometer.1½ cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup corn syrup, ¼ cup water
- Take the sugar off of the heat and whisk in the cream mixture. *** Return the caramel to the heat and cook until it registers 250°F. Pour the finished caramel into the tart shell and let cool on the counter for 30 minutes before transferring to the fridge. Chill for a minimum of an hour and half. Overnight is better.
- You should have a little caramel left that you could fit into the tart. Pour the caramel into a ramekin and set it aside.
For the Chocolate
- Place the chocolate and cream in a heat proof bowl and place over a saucepan filled a third of the way with gently simmering water. This is a double boiler.1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 6 tbsp heavy cream
- Melt the chocolate and cream together until smooth. Take the mixture off of the heat and pour it over the chilled tart. Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate to ensure even coverage.
- Take the caramel you set aside earlier and heat it up in the microwave in 15 second intervals until liquid. Dot the surface of the chocolate with the caramel and drag a toothpick through both to create a swirled pattern.
- Finish the tart with a sprinkling of sea salt and chill for 1 hour prior to servingsea salt for sprinkling