With this post I become a life-time member of The Craftsy Cheerleading Club. Quite likely the oldest member of the organization, but my enthusiasm matches that of a sophomore. This class in particular Pies and Tarts for Every Season, is taught by Gesine Bullock-Prado. I’m a bit distant from TV (except for binge watching stuff like Broadchurch, Outlander, Black Mirror) so I had no clue she is such a hot commodity in the media. Deservedly so. Teaching is a bit of a performing act. You need to capture the attention of your students and at the same time convey your message in a clear and efficient way. Lightening up a lecture using jokes and funny analogies is a nice way to make sure your audience stays with you. However, balance is everything. There is a delicate line to negotiate between lightness and solid info, and she really shines at it. I learned a lot about pie crusts, how to manipulate each kind, how to choose which crust to bake depending on the type of filling. All in a fun, relaxed way. I am always amazed at the quality of online classes offered by Craftsy, and the reviews by users are for the most part spot on. Before buying any class, you can browse through to see exactly what you’ll be getting, and the feedback from other users. A win-win situation. Now, for the bit of bad news. I could not get permission to publish the recipe, so if you are interested in the exact formula Gesine used for crust and filling, you’ll have to get it from the site.
OVERVIEW OF THE RECIPE
It all starts with the crust. You have several options. You can make a single larger tart, or shape about 50g of dough per tartlet, using muffin rings or a tartlet pan like I did. Compared to a muffin ring, my tarts were a tad bit bigger, so I used 60g of dough for each one. Her recipe has some cute twists, like using condensed milk in the dough. It gives not only a more intense sweetness, but it browns nicely in the oven. Following her detailed instructions, I was happy to get all tarts to bake evenly, no soggy bottoms (who wants to have that? not me!), and basically zero shrinkage (scary thought).
I added my own little twist to the preparation by placing the pie weights (and dried beans) into the shells using food grade plastic wrap instead of parchment paper. It does not melt in the oven, as long as you crumble it on top preventing it from touching the metal of the pan, you’ll be fine. I love the way it allows the beans and ceramic balls to reach the edge of the tart. As long as you don’t bake the shells in a higher than 400F oven, no problem. After the initial baking with weights, I removed them, got the shells back in a baking sheet and baked with the bottoms up in the air as shown in the photo. I just wanted to prevent any soggy bottom phenomenon (watching Great British Bake Off made me traumatized about those).
For her caramel recipe, she uses a bit of maple syrup in addition to usual suspects. Any caramel recipe you enjoy will do, make sure to cook it to the correct temperature, 240 F, that will provide the perfect texture. No caramel running out when you slice the tartlet, no biting into a rock either. It hardens very quickly, but I still allowed the filled tartlets to rest at room temperature for a good 45 minutes before adding the chocolate ganache. Again, any recipe will do, but you need to have it almost cool to room temperature, so that it pipes nicely using a 1/4 inch piping tip.
You can be creative, do swirls, waves, fill it solid and play with the surface using an off-set spatula. Once it’s set, sprinkle Graham cracker crumbs on top, or anything else you might like. A drizzle of white chocolate? Oreo crumbs? Gold leaf in pieces? Or as Gesine does in the video, top with toasted mini-marshmallows and call them Caramel Smore’s Tarts. Brilliant! You can probably see a picture on Craftsy. Adorable stuff.
I had a blast making these… and the taste? Spectacular, even if I say so myself
That’s what you want… A nice layer of caramel in between the crunchy crust and the luscious chocolate ganache. Next time I will use muffin rings, so that the top of the crust will be leveled with the chocolate. If you have muffin rings, give them a try as tartlet containers.
Did I mention these would be amazing on Valentine’s Day?
Gesine, thank you for your helpful comments,
I have quite a few of your projects on my list of stuff to try soon….
ONE YEAR AGO: Chicken Korma-ish
TWO YEARS AGO: Sunday Gravy with Braciola
THREE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, February 2015
FOUR YEARS AGO: Avocado and Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing
FIVE YEARS AGO: Green Olive, Walnuts and Pomegranate Salad
SIX YEARS AGO: Romanian Flatbreads
SEVEN YEARS AGO: Ziti with Artichokes and Meyer Lemon Sauce
EIGHT YEARS AGO: Blasted Broccoli, Stove-top version