I’m all for cheat’s anything when it comes to eating – especially when it comes to cravings! The quicker I can get from the making part to the eating part, the better! A few weeks ago, I discovered a ground-breaking new way of making shortcrust tart cases. While I’m all for making pastry from scratch and resting, rolling and blind-baking, sometimes, you just want to eat more than you want to bake and that’s okay – which is why this recipe will change your life. Shortbread biscuits, people. The answer was there all along – duh! Simply crush up the biscuits with some butter, press them into the tart cases and bake for 10 minutes and hey, presto (as they say), you’ve got tart!
While I’m all for shortcuts, the one thing I don’t cut the corner on is proper caramel sauce – nothing from a bottle or ready-made can EVER replace a proper homemade caramel sauce. I like to use sugar with flavour AND sweetness, and while boring white sugar gives you the latter, my favourite unrefined, Natura Light Muscovado Sugar, gives you both – double whammy! And because just two layers of deliciousness is never enough, I’ve topped these tarts with dark chocolate (the good stuff) and a sprinkling of sea salt for some salty crunch. Cheating never tasted THIS good!
Cheat’s Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Tarts
200g (half a packet) shortbread biscuits (I used Eet Sum Mores)
1 tbsp melted butter
¼ cup water
½ cup cream
200g good-quality dark chocolate, melted (I use AFRIKOA 70% Dark Chocolate)
sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Grease 4 x small spring form tart tins. Place the shortbread biscuits in a food processor and pulse until very fine – almost powdery consistency. Add the butter and mix to form a consistency similar to wet sand. Use a teaspoon to press the biscuit crumbs into the prepared tart tins to form a pastry case then bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool thoroughly. To make the caramel, place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until the mixture reaches 140C on a thermometer or until soft crack stage – when a little caramel dropped into a cup of water forms a soft ball which gets hard after a minute. Add the cream and butter and swirl until combined. Remove from the heat and pour into the baked pastry cases. Allow to cool completely then spread with the melted chocolate. Sprinkle a few sea salt flakes on top and allow to set – if you can wait that long that is!
Disclaimer: This post has been created in collaboration with Natura Sugars, however, I only work with brands I think are awesome and that I actually use myself.