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A Surprise Ending {CtBF}

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We’re headed into the season of holiday indulgence.  Usually, the week before Thanksgiving, I try to watch what I’m eating because from Thanksgiving until the end of the year, there are a myriad of temptations to enjoy and, though I exercise a fair bit of self control, my threshold for resistance is low.  This week’s selection for Cook the Book Fridays, Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Tart from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, threw that plan out the window.

Chocolate is not normally my thing.  Certainly, it’s never my first choice in the dessert department.  This recipe with a chocolate crust, a layer of caramel-y dulce de leche, and a layer of chocolate custard is one that I’d never pick on my own.  In fact, I’ll admit I dragged my feet on making it.  But, even though I waited until the last minute, I knew Howard would like it so I soldiered on.

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The first step was to come up with dulce de leche.  What fun!  I skipped the supermarket and turned it into a simple DIY project.  All that’s needed is a can of sweetened condensed milk, a mason jar, and a slow cooker.  I poured the milk into the jar, screwed on a two-part top, placed the jar in the slow cooker and covered the jar with water and turned the heat to LOW.  Ten hours later, the milk transformed from ivory to a golden brown.  Plus it tasted amazing.

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I love press-in crusts, and that’s what this recipe called for.  The chocolate cookie crust came together easily in the stand mixer and pressed into the pan just as easily.  There was no salt in the pastry, but a light dusting of fleur de sel before par-baking added the right touch.

To pull it all together, the dulce de leche is spread over the warm crust, then topped with a chocolate custard that was made while the crust baked.  Finally, another sprinkle of fleur de sel to cut the sweetness before returning the filled tart shell to the oven.

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The tart is baked, and then, after turning off the heat, it sits in the oven some more.  I thought it was rather wiggly, so I left it there even longer.  I got a late start. By the time the tart was done, it was bedtime, so I put it in the refrigerator where it set up nicely.  I had extra custard, which I put in a ramekin for a chocolate pudding snack.  It also firmed up nicely in the fridge.

I was so glad I made this tart.  It was rather indulgent and very delicious.  As expected, Howard really liked it, but not so expectedly, so did I.  Though we will enjoy it for an after-dinner treat for a few days, there are better ways to showcase it.  It would better appreciated as a contribution to a holiday pot luck or dessert for a dinner party.

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I encourage you to try out this tart over the holiday season.  You can find the recipe here on Williams-Sonoma’s website.  You can also find it on page 289 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  This book has more than its share of winners, so it’s worth treating yourself if you haven’t already.  And to see how my friends enjoyed their own tarts, follow links to their posts here.

Dessert Incompatibility {CtBF}

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As Howard and I say, we’re “dessert incompatible”.  I’m far from a chocoholic.  I’ll eat chocolate, but it’s never my first choice.  On the other hand, for Howard, it’s chocolate all the way.  When I try making a new dessert usually only one of us loves it.  It’s tough…

Now that we’re cooking through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, I’m discovering new twists on familiar and new recipes.  Take this week’s choice, for example.  Chocolate Mousse is something that I always forget about.  I’ve made it a few times before, and it’s always a crowd pleaser.  However, it’s not something that comes to mind when I’m deciding what to make for dessert.

Discovering this week’s recipe Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse takes things over the top.  The name says it all.  It’s not just chocolate mousse. It’s chocolate mousse that starts with a salted caramel.  I used to be terrified of molten sugar, but the more I make it, the more comfortable I get.  Melt sugar, whisk in butter and cream, and you’ve got caramel.  Stir in chopped dark chocolate until it melts and you have chocolate caramel.

Chocolate Caramel

Once it cools to room temperature (we don’t want scrambled eggs in our caramel, do we?), you whisk in egg yolks.  Finally, fold in stiff egg whites with some fleur de sel, and you have salted butter caramel-chocolate mousse.  Spoon the mousse into glasses.  Voilà!  Who would think that something so good would be relatively easy to make?  The hard part is waiting at least 8 hours for it to chill.

The mousse is packed with flavor.  Both the chocolate and the caramel flavors come through.  It’s sweet, but not too sweet.  It’s light, so not too filling a dessert.  The small juice glasses I used are the perfect size for a little treat after dinner.

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So far Cook the Book Fridays’ new book choice hasn’t disappointed.  I will have to remember to serve this mousse to company so it’s deliciousness can be shared.

If you want to try it at home, you can find the recipe on page 258 of My Paris Kitchen.  The recipe has also been published on Epicurious.  To see what my friends thought of the mousse, check their links here.

The core of Cook the Book Fridays are bloggers who met through French Fridays with Dorie, have remained friends, and enjoy cooking together (virtually anyway). All are welcome to join us as we continue the journey through another French cookbook, David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.