It’s been a while since anything more exciting than a vanilla sponge has been baked in the Gem and Mark household, but with Mark’s company instigating another bake-off, the Mr decided to take to the kitchen. I kinda watched, and came in to stir stuff and make a nuisance of myself when I was bored of doing the ironing.
A triple complicated combo was decided upon- A shortcrust pastry tart, topped with salt caramel, topped with chocolate brownie. Sort of like a chocolatey bakewell tart…ish.
We could have made shortcrust pastry, because it is easy, but even easier than that is buying it in a block in tescos, so that’s what we did.
Phase 1- Tarts. Roll out the shortcrust pastry, cut out rounds and insert into a pre-greased cupcake tin. One block made about 24 tarts.
Prick the bottoms of the tarts, top with little tin foil parcels of lentils or rice or whatever you have knocking around and stick in the oven- gas mark 6- for about 15 minutes or until they’re pale and crisp
Phase 2- Caramel. We didn’t cheat on this- could have just bought a tin of carnation, but there was a pot of double cream in the fridge that needed using, so:
(adapted from the Comfort of Cooking … and in cups because, well I have measuring cups and couldn’t be bothered to translate into proper measurements for the purposes of tidiness. If you don’t have cups, you should probably buy some)
1 cup of caster sugar
1/4 cup of water
3/4 cup double cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt (we used the 1 teaspoon from the original recipe, but it was a wee bit much so would reduce next time
How to do it…
1- Stir together water and caster sugar in a saucepan on a low heat. When the sugar dissolves, turn up the heat, bring to the boil and leave it. DON’T STIR!
2- Watch carefully. When it turns a deep amber colour (mine went amber at the edges first, so be careful not to let it burn!), remove from the heat, add the cream and stir stir stir. It will bubble like an absolute beast!
3- Add the butter and salt and you’re done. What’s not used with the brownies can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Phase 3- Brownies. My ultimate go-to brownie recipe is from a Jamie Oliver cook book. I don’t need another brownie recipe. Bold words!
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
40g cocoa powder
33g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
180g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
How to do it…
1-Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave- check it often and stir, to stop it burning
2- combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl the add the chocolatey butter mix. Stir together to combine
3- Pour in your eggs and mix well again
Phase 4- Assemble!
-Add a teaspoon of caramel to the bottom of each tart tin (take out your blind baking parcels first!)
-Top with a tablespoon of brownie mix (try to cover the whole of the caramel surface or it tries to bubble out of the sides. There will be a little bit of mix left over to make yourself a spare brownie for greed purposes. I put mine in a little silicone tray- no need to go to the trouble of lining a tiny tin
-To the oven! Bung it in for around 20 minutes on gas mark 5, or until the brownies are still a bit gooey
-When the tarts are removed and cooled on a wire tray, top with a drizzle of caramel (we put ours in a squeezy bottle, but a spoon will do the job too)
Eat 2… and take one to work the next day