Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Etch's Caramel Date Tart

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This post is sponsored by Nuffnang

I used to think of myself as a strictly coffee-only kind of girl, but in the last few years that has definitely changed. Green tea in the morning, Earl Grey in the afternoon and Peppermint at night – but one thing that doesn’t change is that I love my tea hot, sweet and super strong. Which is why I was excited to try Twinings’ new blend, Assam Bold, originating from the region of the same name in India’s north-east.

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The part that piqued my interest is that this is the strongest Twinings blend ever in Australia. It was nice to take the time to share a cup of tea with my Mum, something that we don’t get to do very often! I really liked the rich, strong, malty, biscuity flavour, and it didn’t have even a hint of bitterness that other black teas sometimes get when you brew them for a strong cup. I had mine with a little sugar, she had a little milk.

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Of course I had to make a little tea-inspired dessert to go with it. I made a slight twist on the Caramel Date Tart from Etch, a restaurant which sadly closed its doors recently. I had this for a dessert on my birthday a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I steeped the dates in Assam Bold tea instead of Earl Grey, which meant it was a perfect match, carrying the flavours through wonderfully.

The caramel layer was smooth and creamy, and I was surprised to find that it was actually very easy to make. For afternoon tea I served it plain, but if you were making it for a dessert, a big scoop of ice cream and a little caramel sauce with the tart would be lovely.

I also have one Twinings tea chest to give away for one lucky reader so you can try out Assam Bold for yourself! To enter, leave a comment and tell me what is your favourite sweet treat to eat with a cup of tea. The competition is open until 5pm Friday 19th October, and the winner will be notified by email, so sorry but no anonymous comments will be eligible. For full Terms & Conditions, please click here.

This competition is now closed.

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Caramel Date Tart
Recipe from Etch Restaurant via Trissalicious
Serves 8

Caramel Filling
• 100g caster sugar
• 550ml cream
• 2 eggs
• 4 egg yolks
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pate Sucree (Sweet Pastry)
• 140g cold butter, diced
• 100g icing sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1 egg, lightly whisked
• 230g plain flour
• 20g cornflour

Date Filling
• 100g dates
• 1 tea bag Twinings Assam Bold Tea

To make the caramel filling, heat the cream in a pot and set aside. Heat the sugar in a saucepan to make a caramel. Once the sugar has reached a nice rich and dark colour, add the warm cream. Let the caramel/cream mixture cool then whisk in the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Allow this mixture to cool and store in the refrigerator, around 1 to 2 hours.

To make the pastry, place the butter and icing sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer and beat until lightly creamed. Add the salt and drizzle in the egg, a little at a time. Beating until it comes together as a smooth mass. Sift the flour and cornflour together briefly until it just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and use your hands to shape it into a smooth flattened ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before rolling out. This pastry makes 500 grams so the excess can be frozen for up to 2 months.

To make the date filling, heat around 150ml of water in a saucepan and place in the tea bag of Assam Bold tea. Allow this to infuse for around 4-6 minutes and then add the dates. Bring to the boil for around 10 minutes. Remove the tea bag and mash up the dates with the back of a fork. Allow to cool before using for the tart.

Meanwhile, roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to about 2 mm thick. Butter a 22cm tart tin with a little melted butter and place on a baking tray. Roll the pastry up over the rolling pin and carefully lift it onto the tart ring. Press the pastry into the bottom and up the sides of the tim. Trim the excess pastry, leaving an overhang of about 1 to 2 cm. Patch any holes with the pastry trimmings. Prick the base all over with a fork and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When ready to cook the tart, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line the tart with baking paper and baking weights or rice and blind bake for 7 minutes.

Remove the paper and weights. Brush the inside of the tart with a little egg wash and bake for a further 4 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and sit on a wire rack for a few minutes to cool. Use a sharp knife to slice away the pastry overhang, leaving a nice even edge.

Fill the tart base with the date filling and lower the oven temperature to 125°C (260°F). Pour the chilled caramel filling into the tart shell and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until just set, and still quite wobbly. Rest on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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