Chocolate-dulce de leche tart

Chocolate-dulce de leche tart.

Need I say more? Probably not, but I will.

One of my favourite cookbook authors is David Lebovitz. I have been an avid reader of his blog for many years, own all his cookbooks and almost exclusively used his Paris Pastry app when planning our visit to Paris last year.

He brought out a new cookbook recently called My Paris Kitchen. It is stunningly beautiful and I love the stories that go with each recipe. He also wrote a very insightful blog post about the making of the book. You should read that post and then go and buy the book.

And then you should make this tart.

The first time I flicked through the book, I saw the photo for this tart and decided instantly that I had to make it. Luckily I had a jar of dulce de leche tucked away in the pantry. Past me was looking after future me. If you can’t find dulce de leche, you could try making your own. I’ve never made it, but if I was going to, I’d probably go with the oven method – I’ve heard too many horror stories about cans exploding to try the stovetop method. I make enough enough mess in the kitchen as it is! I’d also like to try this recipe one day in the very near future using this salted caramel filling.

There were a couple of times I wasn’t convinced that this recipe was going to turn out, but it did and it was spectacular. In the end, it was relatively easy, and, had I not made scrambled eggs along the way, would’ve been much quicker!

This recipe makes one 9-inch or 23cm tart.

Chocolate pastry

Ingredients

  • 85g salted butter at room temperature
  • 35g icing sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 140g plain flour
  • 35g dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel

Filling

Ingredients

  • 230g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 310ml full fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 240g dulce de leche
  • Fleur de sel

Method:

Start by making the pastry. Beat the butter and icing sugar using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer (if you are lucky enough to have one) until smooth. Add the egg yolk and beat until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and flour and then add it to the butter mixture, mixing until the dough just comes together. Take the dough out, shape it into a disk and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Roll the dough out and place it in your tart tin. There is *just* enough pastry here to fill the tin. I was convinced there wasn’t going to be enough. Unless you have perfect rolling skills (which I don’t), you may need to trim part of the dough off in some areas and fill the gaps around the edges. Press together firmly so it all joins together well. Sprinkle the salt over the bottom of the tin and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes.

At this point you can turn the oven on to heat to 200°c.

Line the chilled pastry with aluminium foil and cover with pie weights/rice/dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the weights and bake for a further five minutes until set. (Yes, a little bit broke off the side of mine)

Tart Shell

Whilst the pastry is still warm, spread the dulce de leche over the bottom in an even layer. If you have a very thick dulce de leche, leave it on the hot base for a minute or two before you start to spread it as the heat will help soften it a bit.

Dulce de leche

Decrease the oven temperature to 150°c.

Now start the filling. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over some simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove from the heat and set a mesh strainer (lined with muslin if you have it) over the top.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl and set aside. Heat the milk in a saucepan to warm, but not boiling, and very slowly start to whisk into the egg mixture, roughly a tablespoon at a time to begin with. If you’ve ever made ice cream before, the process here should be familiar.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until it thickens slightly. Be careful here as this step is quite quick and if you’re not careful, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs and have to start this part again!

Pour the custard through the strainer into the chocolate, add the vanilla and stir well until nice and smooth.

Place the tart tin on a baking sheet lined with foil and slowly pour in the chocolate mixture. Try and pour it from a few spots, otherwise it will make a bit of a crater in the dulce de leche. Smooth the top and sprinkle it generously with fleur de sel.

Filled tart

Now the instructions say to “bake for 20 minutes, turn heat off and leave the tart in the oven with the door closed to glide to a finish for 25 minutes more”. After the 20 minutes it was still runny so I gave it another 10 or so minutes before turning the oven off. It was still wobbly at this point, but not runny. When I did take it out it was still fairly wobbly and I was convinced that when I cut into it, it would be a huge runny mess. But, as it started to cool, it started to set. And by the time we were ready to eat it, the chocolate mousse/custard was perfectly set and the dulce de leche was perfectly oozy.

Here’s the money shot to prove it ;)

Chocolate - dulce de leche tart

Santorini

The final stop of our six-week trip was the Greek island of Santorini for a chilled out week of R&R. We stayed at the very beautiful Astra Suites in Imerovigli – well away from the hustle and bustle that other parts of the island, such as Oia and Fira, offer. Unbeknown to us when we booked, the resort is actually along the cliffs and it’s a fair walk up and down many stairs to get around, so be warned! From our balcony we had a beautiful view over the Caldera which provided the perfect spot to have breakfast each morning.

Astra Suites Santorini Breakfast View
Astra Suites Santorini Breakfast View

Oia is a famous spot for watching the sun set, however a walk up the cliff face from the hotel in the evening gave us the perfect vantage point to watch it from.

Santorini Sunset from Astra Suites

Other than swimming, drinking, eating and reading we didn’t want to make too many plans. We booked in for a private island tour with Kostas Sakavaras, a private tour guide who I found via Viator. Kostas took us on a half-day tour of the island that included many hidden gems. We finished the tour at a winery where I picked up a couple of bottles of Vin Santo, a wine from Santorini that I was starting to become quite fond of. As the island is very windy, the grape vines used to grown the grapes are grown low to the ground in a circular shape and often appeared as decorations and light fittings – I would’ve loved to have brought one home.

Santorini Grape Vine

Both Kostas and the staff at Astra Suites were happy to make dining recommendations. Knowing that we were going on a volcano and sunset cruise and therefore would be visiting the old Fira port, Kostas recommended Palia Skala (George’s place) where we had the tomato fries (think fritters), Santorini salad and gavros – lightly battered and fried fish. The tomato fries were delicious. If you do intend on visiting the old port, try and time your visit so that you aren’t in the line for the cable car for an hour along with all the tourists returning to their cruise ships. We got caught, but didn’t have much choice as we needed to get down there to catch our boat for a sunset cruise.

Tomato Fries - Palia Skala

At most places we went to, we also ordered a Santorini salad. Typical of what we call a ‘Greek salad’ back home, they featured lovely produce from the island – tomato, cucumber, onion, olives and feta.

Santorini Salad

Dotted all over the island were places to stop for gyros; a bargain at 2.50 Euro.

Gyros

Near the resort was Anogi restaurant, where we went one night and feasted. I started with a block of feta cheese wrapped in filo and topped with a honey sauce, while D had a pita topped with meatballs. For main I opted for the tomato rice while D had fish. Whilst the tomato rice was a simple dish of rice cooked in a tomato based sauce and topped with feta, the frehsness of the tomatoes made this dish a winner. For dessert I had baklava while D had the ‘death by chocolate’ chocolate cake. Lighting wasn’t great which means there aren’t any photos to show you, so you’ll just have to take my word for it on this one!

For the final night in Santorini, and the holiday as a whole, we went to Selene, which is considered the best restaurant in Santorini. Kostas had advised us against it, saying he thought it was overrated, but we decided to stick with the booking. We’re glad we did because the food was sensational. Sitting outdoors also meant dinnercame with a beautiful view of the sun setting.

Selene Santorini Sunset

To eat, I had quail to start while D had baby octopus, both of which exceeded our expectations.

Quail Selene Santorini

D Entree Selene Santorini

For main, I had slow cooked lamb that I never wanted to end. Given it’s been so long so since we visited, we unfortunately can’t remember what D had. Anyone willing to take a guess what’s under the dome?

Selene Lamb Santorini

D Main Selene Santorini

For dessert, D had a chocolate constellation; dark, milk and white chocolate in all types of textures. Crunch and silky smooth mousse side-by-side … and the sphere – wow.

D Dessert Santorini Selene

The inside of the sphere. Hold your horses chocolate lovers!

D Dessert inside Selene Santorini

My dessert was a take on baklava, served with a glass of Vin Santo – a great way to end the meal and the trip.

My Dessert Selene Santorini

One final recommendation for Santorini is to do a sunset cruise. We went on board the Thalassa which the hotel booked for us, but I am sure there are others to choose from. The cruise lasted about five hours all up, including a hike up a volcano and a visit to the thermal hot springs (which aren’t very warm). Food was included and the sunset incredible. A perfect way to end our holiday.

Santorini Boat Sunset Edited

Santorini Sunset