Though preparing your own shortcrust pastry is massively satisfying, having flour from one end of the kitchen to the other is sometimes not what you’re after when you are about to have friends around for afternoon tea.
With this in mind I am a massive fan of those handy, pre-made shortcut pastry shells that you can get in packs of 12 from the supermarket or grocer. Having the pastry shells so perfectly made allows me to exert energy into the more creative area of fillings and toppings.
Key lime and lemon meringue tarts are popular, citrusy favourites, but when I want a hard hitting crowd pleaser, then I’m all about the salted chocolate and caramel tarts. They are embarassingly easy and can be knocked up with a few pantry basics.
SALTED CHOCOLATE & CARAMEL TARTS (Makes 12)
397gm can condensed milk
2 tbps golden syrup
100gm dark chocolate
40ml thickened cream
12 pre-made sweet pastry shells
Couple of teaspoons sea salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Prepare the caramel by heating up the milk, butter and golden syrup over a low heat. Cook for about 8 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken up and deepen a little in colour (make sure the heat is not so high that it spits and sticks).
- Layout your pastry shells onto a prepared baking tray, lined with baking paper.
- Fill each of the pastry shells with the caramel filling, making sure to leave a little room for the chocolate.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes where they will deepen in colour and general carameliness. Remove and let cool a little.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave for a couple of minutes (being careful not to burn). Check every 40 seconds or so and give it a stir.
- Add the thickened cream to the chocolate and stir to combine.
- Top each of your tarts with the chocolate mixture, then sprinkle each with some coarse sea salt (just a touch).
- Stand back in awe of your fabulous creations.