I knew I wanted to do something a little different for balsamic with my dessert. I think this fits the bill perfectly. This tart is really, really good. The crust is very slightly adapted from a recipe by the phenomenal David Lebovitz; as soon as I saw the method on how to make the tart crust, I knew I had to try it. The tart recipe itself is the result of playing around with a couple of recipes, adding things here and there, combining things, leaving others out. The end result is fantastic! The crust is flaky and slightly sweet; the filling is chock full of nuts and caramel and the balsamic and chocolate add a hint of extra depth to the flavor. Try it this weekend!
BALSAMIC CARAMEL, NUT, AND CHOCOLATE TART
For the crust:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 slightly rounded cup of flour
For the filling:
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup water
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1 ½ ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (about half of a large baking bar)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. To make the crust, get an oven-safe bowl (Pyrex is good) and put the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt in it. Put the bowl in the oven (yes, you read that right) for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starting to brown around the edges. Take the bowl out (and be careful, don’t forget the bowl is hot) and add the flour. Stir it in quickly, until a ball of dough forms. Put the dough in a 9-inch tart pan and spread it out some with a spatula. When the dough is cool enough to handle, press it evenly across the pan and up the sides; save a small piece of dough to patch any cracks. Prick it all over with a fork and pre-bake the crust for 15 minutes in the oven. Once it’s out, if there are any cracks, patch them with the reserved dough.
While the crust is in the oven, make the filling. Put the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat. Let the mixture boil without stirring, until it’s a nice amber color. You can swirl the pan a bit and also brush the sides with a wet pastry brush if needed.) Reduce the heat to medium, and CAREFULLY whisk in the whipping cream until smooth. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Stir in the nuts and chocolate pieces. Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, until bubbling all over. Let it cool completely before serving.
"Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, & who we want to be." -- Molly Wizenberg