THREE YEARS, guys.
Can you believe it’s been 3 whole years since this little blog began as just another wordpress site? What started as a whim to keep in touch with family and friends far and wide has grown into something I schedule into my weeks and look forward to spending time on. I’m a little shocked how quickly those 3 years have flown by, and would never have expected to have found the love and commitment to blogging that I’ve discovered in those years. Sure, things have changed, but most things have stayed the same. The pictures are a little prettier, but the food was no less good before. I still like to eat far more than I like to cook or bake. I still like food to taste even better than it looks.
I can’t imagine running out of recipe ideas or things to share, so if you’re up for it, can we do another 3 fun, delicious years?
Whether you were here from day one or started reading yesterday, thank you. Thank you for reading, for trying the recipes, for smiling at my kids’ antics, for your feedback, for letting me feel it’s worth every bit of love and time I put into it. I love documenting my recipes and life in this little space and love interacting with all of you through food and family. I love and appreciate every comment, share, like, and encouraging word. I love seeing my recipes showing up on Google search, but, even more, I love seeing those recipes showing up at Bible Study or in the home of a friend.
So. The 3-year mark called for a special occasion dessert, and since Carl was coming this weekend too, after we haven’t seen each other for a few weeks, it had to be something that would make him smile and miss me extra when he left on Monday. I’ve had this tart on my mind for awhile, and this was the perfect opportunity to make it.
I’ll warn you now: this isn’t my usual quick and easy dessert. It’s definitely easy, but it’s also time consuming. There’s prepping, chilling, baking, chilling, stirring, chilling, and then even more chilling before slicing. Let me assure you at the outset: it’s worth it.
I was worried the pretzel crust would be too salty – it absolutely is not.
The crushed pretzels in the crust add the most delicate hint of salt to the tart, and balance the richness of the pure fudgy ganache and smooth sticky caramel that top it. You could add a sprinkle of sea salt to the top if you really want to feature the sweet and salty combo, but I opted for a few pretzels on top and letting the sweet really shine. Every one of us absolutely loved this, and despite the fact that I spent a good few hours making it, it’s one I would definitely make again.
The crust can be made ahead – in fact, the whole tart can be made a day or two in advance, making it a perfect special-occasion dessert for when you want to impress but also want to spend more time socializing than in the kitchen. I made this in a removable-bottom tart pan because I’m staying with my mom and she has one, but I imagine you could also make it in a pie plate if you don’t want to take it out before slicing – if you try that route let me know!
And one more time because I want you to know how much I mean it…thank you so much for reading :)
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1¼ cups coarsely crushed pretzels (3.5 oz) + a few more for topping
- ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar/icing sugar
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted (for sealing crust)
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- CARAMEL TOPPING:
- 1¼ cups packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ tsp vanilla
- For the crust, with a mixer, cream the softened butter with the 1¼ cups crushed pretzels and confectioner’s sugar until smooth (there will still be some pretzel chunks). Add the flour and egg and beat until creamy. Flatten the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap (it will be sticky) and refrigerate for about 45 minutes, until firm but not too firm to roll. If you refrigerate it longer, simply let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.
- Roll the dough out between the sheets of plastic wrap to an 11″ round. Peel off the top layer of plastic and invert the dough into a 10″ removable-bottom tart pan. Press dough into corners and remove layer of plastic wrap. If the dough tears, just patch the areas with excess from the overhang.
- Refrigerate the crust for 20-30 minutes, until firm.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the crust with parchment paper and top with pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes, until nearly set, then remove pie weights and parchment paper and bake another 10-15 minutes, until firm and edges are golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
- Once cool, spread 2 oz of melted semisweet chocolate evenly over the crust. Set in the fridge to set while you make the ganache filling.
- For the filling, finely chop remaining semisweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate and set aside in a heat-proof bowl. Heat the whipping cream in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until steam rises from the cream.
- Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until completely smooth and shiny. Spoon 1⅓ cups of the ganache into the crust, setting aside the rest for topping. Put tart in the fridge until ganache sets, about 1 hour.
- While the ganache is setting, make the caramel:
- Bring brown sugar, whipping cream, and butter to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once it boils, continue to boil over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside to cool while ganache sets.
- When ganache is set, pour caramel sauce evenly over top and sprinkle with extra pretzel pieces. Rewarm extra ganache gently on the stove or in the microwave and drizzle over top.
- Chill before serving for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Remove from fridge 20-30 minutes before serving for maximum flavour.
- Store leftover tart in the fridge.