On my first trip to Mons, Belgium I went on a bit of a mission to find a chocolate shop to bring home a box of those infamous delicacies. On a narrow, twisting street leading away from the town square I discovered “gold” in a tiny shop. It was like walking into a chocolate lovers dream restaurant. Glass case upon glass case was filled with more chocolate varieties than I could have ever imagined. It took an exceedingly long time and much internal debate to select which chocolates would make the trek back home. And as it would happen when I have chocolate in hand, I simply had to eat one of the treasures immediately. Then another. And another. Needless to say, that box of chocolates did not make it on the plane.
I have spent years attempting to create a dessert form of the intense flavor of a Belgium dark chocolate covered caramel. The caramel was gooey not chewy and the chocolate was richly dark. With Rue des Sars Triple Chocolate Tarts I achieved success. Layers of chocolate begin with a flakey chocolate crust filled with an intensely chocolate pudding cream and topped with chocolate whipped cream. Inside all of this luscious chocolate is a gooey caramel filling.
When making this dessert, use the finest dark and unsweetened chocolate available. This recipe used Lindt 70% Cacao and Guittard Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bars. With the cocoa, Callebaut Baking Cocoa Powder would be first choice, but Hershey’s Cocoa is acceptable for providing an intensity of flavor without becoming bitter.
While a purchased caramel sauce will produce an acceptable dessert, using a homemade sauce produces an extraordinary dessert. Baltic Sea Amber Caramel Sauce has exceptional flavor and is easily made. There will be plenty of sauce for this recipe plus some for ice cream or dipping apple slices.
The chocolate crust is pressed into the pans rather than rolled. Created as an unsweetened chocolate pasty crust to buffer sweet fillings, Joan Would Have Loved It Chocolate Pastry Crust produces a flakey crust that withstands the crème filling.
2 large egg yolks
1 c whipping cream
4 oz dark chocolate 70%
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 t unsalted butter
½ c sugar
3 T cornstarch
¾ c whole milk
2/3 c whipping cream
2 T powdered sugar
1 T cocoa
Break chocolate into shards in a medium sized bowl. Place the butter on top. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cream together until smooth. Set aside.
Place sugar and cornstarch in a heavy, medium sized saucepan. Whisk to combine. Gradually add the whole milk, whisking while pouring to completely combine. Heat mixture over medium heat, stirring continuously with a spatula. Bring to a simmer and cook 5-6 minutes until it thickens slightly.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the milk into the bowl of egg yolks and cream, whisking constantly. This needs to be a slow process to allow the eggs to warm gradually. Return the entire mix back into the saucepan and return to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until it begins to simmer, about 5-6 minutes. Turn heat to low and cook and additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Place a fine mesh strainer over the bowl of chocolate. Pour the mix through the strainer. Scrape the underside of the strainer to capture all of the filling and discard any solids left in the strainer. Stir the filling until the chocolate and butter have melted and completely combined. The butter will separate a bit from the filling. Once the filling has cooled, whisk again and the butter will completely incorporate into the filling. Cool in refrigerator for an hour then whisk to incorporate any separated butter. Chill at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
Pour the 2/3 c whipping cream into a small bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks have formed, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the powdered sugar and cocoa. Beat an additional minute until stiff peaks form. This will set up quickly.
On a dessert plate, place one baked pastry crust cup.
Fill the cup with 2 tablespoons of the chocolate crème in the cup forming a well in the center.
Add enough of the Deeply Amber Caramel Sauce to fill the well without overflowing.
Cover the caramel completely with an additional tablespoon of the filling.
Top each cup with 1 tablespoon of the chocolate whipped cream. Drizzle with Deeply Amber Caramel Sauce.