I should start by saying that there have been far, far more TWD desserts that I expected not to enjoy, but ended up loving, than there have been desserts that I expected to love but did not. I will also say that when I affirmatively do not like a Dorie Greenspan dessert, and cannot explain that dislike purely by personal taste (see, e.g. custard, flan), I assume that I made an error. Usually I can identify the error, but in the case of this week's Tuesdays With Dorie dessert, Chocolate Caramel Crunched Tart, I cannot. But since most of the TWD universe heard angels sing upon tasting this dessert, and I was most disappointed, I can only conclude that I messed something up somewhere.
I cut most of the recipe down to make one 4" tart, but I made a full batch of the caramel because I had visions of my non-chocolate-eating husband enjoying the leftovers over vanilla ice cream. And he might have, if we owned a jackhammer. I had one previous run-in with caramel that, um, did not go well, so I was nervous going in. In fact, when my husband asked me that Saturday morning what I had on the agenda for the day, I told him that I was totally flexible for most of the day, but that at 1:00, I needed to concentrate on caramel completely, and would be most appreciative if the children were out of the kitchen (out of the house = even better). He totally wrangled the kids during the appointed time, and I had zen-like focus on the caramel. It seemed to go fine. The temperature was right. The color was right.
But the caramel was so, so wrong. It was spreadable at first, but once it cooled, it became rock hard, and I found the flavor to be on the bitter side. Not at all the smooth, luxurious caramel I had been hoping for. The caramel was very hard to break through without a knife (or with a knife, for that matter), and the ganache did not seem to be properly set. While this screams "company dessert!" on paper, I would not serve it to company unless Dorie herself were in the kitchen making it with me, because I don't want to have to raid my toolbox for proper dessert utensils (wire cutters? needlenose pliers?) nor do I like to ask my dinner guests to sign a waiver before biting into my dessert affirming that they have not had any recent dental work.
Carla of Chocolate Moosey chose this tart. It is obviously wonderful in just about everybody else's hands, so head on over to Carla's website for the recipe!
5 months ago