I don't know about you, dear reader, but by this time of the year - after all of the holidays and exchanging of gifts and parties - I'm generally pretty worn down and don't have as much energy in the kitchen as I normally do. This year was a bit different due to a slight illness that kept me from making a million different yuletide treats, but I still wanted my end of the year baking to be as easy as possible. So, I made a tart. A delicious tart.
Do y'all remember the three-section aluminum popcorn container that would always pop up around the holidays? It always had butter, "cheese" (definitely wasn't cheese) and caramel popcorn. My favorite was the caramel, of course. Anyway, I used to get one every year for Christmas from my parents and it was awesome. I would eat my fill in popcorn when opening presents and everything seemed right in the world. That ended when I apparently became too old for such a gift, so this caramel popcorn-topped tart will have to suffice. *Holding back tears*
The crust recipe for this tart comes from the Williams-Sonoma website, which I'll provide a link for below. I'm starting to get worried about my Williams-Sonoma addiction. While I was shopping for gifts the other day, I wandered (sprinted) into Williams-Sonoma and literally said the words "I Love You" out loud to the store front. I'm not even kidding. I was alone and the young couple next to me definitely heard me and it was pretty tragic but I really don't care because you gotta let your loved ones know you love them.
Keeping in line with making things simple, this recipe has two shortcuts:
1. I used store-bought salted caramel.... I can hear you gasping in horror and holding onto your loved ones. You can relax, though, because I live near this super cute and wonderful little cafe called Manhattan Jack that sells an awesome salted caramel sauce that is honestly just as good as any caramel I've ever made or had elsewhere.
2. I used store-bought caramel popcorn. I can hear you screaming in protest. I know, I know, it's really not that hard to make caramel popcorn but again I am in need of something easy, and you probably are too! Can't we just work through this together?
I'm glad we got that all figured out. Someone get me a drink, damn it.
Back to the tart.
I'm calling this a New Year's Eve Tart because it is decadent, silky, aesthetically pleasing and has crunchy popcorn on top, which we'll consider to be the fireworks, or something. If you lack someone to kiss at midnight this year, consider just shoving a piece of this tart into your mouth. Happy holidays!
Crust (Williams-Sonoma recipe)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 T chilled water
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 t salt
- 8 T chilled butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup salted caramel sauce
- 2 cups caramel popcorn
- 1 T fleur de sel, optional
- Mix the egg yolk, water and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt
- Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a fork or pastry cutter, until the mixture resembles course meal and there remains no butter pieces larger than a pea
- Add the egg mixture and stir using a fork until the dough begins to form and pull away from the sides of the bowl
- Turn onto plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for half an hour
- Roll out to the appropriate size for your tart pan (mine was 9" and was the prefect size) and press to the sides of the pan
- Bake at 350 for 25 minutes with pie weights or dried beans
- Remove from the oven and take out the pie weights
- Place foil over just the edges of the crust and return to the oven for an additional 5 - 8 minutes until it just begins to turn golden
- Remove from the oven and let cool
- Place the chocolate in a heat-proof mixing bowl and set aside
- Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate, allow to sit for 5 minutes, stir until smooth
- Whisk together the eggs, vanilla and salt and mix into the melted chocolate
- Pour filling into cooled crust and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until mostly set with a slight wobble in the center
- Allow to cool completely
- Pour salted caramel sauce on top of the cooled pie and smooth over with a spatula
- Sprinkle fleur de sel evenly on top
- Pile on popcorn
- Cut the lil babe up and serve her to all of your fun and sexy party guests