Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 11th January 2013

After my unexpected and long absence I wanted to come back with an irresistible sweet treat and I thought this Caramel, Peanut Butter Mousse and Chocolate Tart would be the perfect recipe to share. It’s ooey, gooey, sweet, salty and rich. And resisting a slice is near impossible.

A close up photo that's been cropped to show one-half on a Caramel, Peanut Butter Mousse and Chocolate Tart displayed on a white cake stand.

At first glance the lengthy recipe may cause you to skip on to the next dessert recipe but trust me all the steps are fairly simple (caramel may be the only exception if it’s your first attempt but still very doable). And most definitely worth it!

A photo of a mini and large Caramel, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Tart displayed with a white ceramic hot chocolate pot set against a black background. Large tart is displayed on a white cake stand and mini tart is displayed on a sheet of baking paper with dessert spoon.

During my absence it occurred to me that some of you might be wondering why I go missing at times. And you may believe I’m not committed to my site but believe me that couldn’t be further from the truth. In 2003 I took a bad fall down the stairs at home and suffered a spinal compression fracture. Unbeknownst to me it quickly became apparent that my bones were extremely frail.

Osteoporosis is often referred to as a silent disease because bone loss usually occurs gradually over the years and doesn’t present with any symptoms. Most sufferers like myself aren’t aware they have it until they experience a fall that causes a fracture. It was most unusual in my case because I was in my thirties at the time.

A photo taken looking down on a Peanut Butter Mousse, Caramel and Chocolate Tart decorated with blobs of Chantilly cream and dusted with cocoa displayed on a white cake stand.

I was also diagnosed with a kyphosis, which is a hump-like curvature of the spine. Although one surgery was attempted (they had to stop the procedure) to open the compression and straighten the spine it was unsuccessful. And because of the osteoporosis any future surgeries (at this point) isn’t an option because my bones are quite frail and could only cause more fractures and complications.

A photo of Chocolate, Peanut Butter Mousse and Caramel Tarts displayed on a dark wooden board.

Although I take medication to combat the pain it doesn’t always work and unfortunately the medication I take is unavailable until March due to a recall. The generic replacement is not near as effective. During these times I do my best to limit my physical activity so I can get through the day. If you follow any of my social circles you’ll notice when I’m taking a break from creating sweet treats my social activity increases, I need to do something to keep my mind active.

A photo of a Caramel, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Tart displayed on a white cake stand and shown with an antique silver cake server on a light yellow cloth napkin.

So although I may be away from here I would love to interact with you in the social circles. If you have any questions related to baking or creating sweet treats please reach out I would love to help! Plus it would be wonderful to get to know each of you better. I find I am most active on Google+. You can find me posting to my personal profile or business profile. During this last absence I created a new community called G+ Sweets. We plan on hosting information hangouts, video how to’s and much more, I hope you’ll join us.

I’ve found since the accident the biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome is coming to the realization that although I’m the same person that needs to be busy ever second of the day unfortunately my body can’t keep up. I appreciate that you’ve stuck with me during my absences, it means more to me than I can ever express into words, thank you!

A close up photo of a Peanut Butter Mousse, Caramel and Chocolate Tart displayed on a white cake stand.

Back to something more delicious, I started this tart with an almond pasta frolla (Italian sweet shortcrust pastry) flavoured with Vietnamese cinnamon and vanilla. The texture of pasta frolla is best compared to shortbread rather than the traditional pie dough. Pie dough is flaky, pasta frolla is crumbly and it’s also rich and buttery. The technique for preparing pasta frolla is very similar to pie dough with the main difference being that pasta frolla is kneaded for a very short time to bring the pastry together. The pastry is often used for cutout cookies. And because of its versatility it’s widely used in Italy.

A photo of cut mini Caramel, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Tart displayed on a sheet of baking paper with dessert spoon and a large tart of the same description displayed on a white cake stand set in behind with a white cloth napkin and white background.

For those of you that have never prepared caramel I have a few tips to share for success. One, I would recommend purchasing a digital candy thermometer. I use the one that I’ve linked to and I’ve been very happy with its performance. This thermometer is not only useful when making caramel (or candy confections) but also for monitoring the temperature of oil when preparing fried desserts like Bomboloni or achieving the optimal sugar syrup temperature when preparing Italian Meringue.

Mini Chocolate, Peanut Butter Mousse and Caramel Tarts topped with Chantilly cream and dusted with cocoa displayed on a dark wooden board.

Two, to reduce the amount of splattering when preparing this type of caramel, I recommend using room temperature cream or warming it slightly over low heat before adding it to the sugar syrup. Three, I prefer to use a large pot when making a batch of this size because when the cream is added to the sugar syrup it will boil up and boil ferociously. Four, if you’re preparing caramel for the first time I urge you to use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms, sugar burns are extremely painful.

A photo of a Caramel, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Tart displayed on a white cake stand with a dark black background.

When preparing this tart I suggest keeping the tart shell in the springform pan until you’re ready to decorate with Chantilly Cream and serve. It’s much easier to store in the refrigerator during stages and it keeps the shell from getting damaged. One last tip, after the pastry shell has cooled unlatch the springform pan remove the tart shell, flip the base of the pan so that the lip is facing down, reassemble the pan and carefully place the shell back inside. When it’s time to decorate and serve you can easily slide the tart off the base onto a cake plate or stand.

A photo taken looking down on a mini Caramel, Peanut Butter Mousse and Chocolate Tart that 's been cut with the slice set off slightly to the right displayed on baking paper with dessert spoon.

I hope you all shared a wonderful holiday season with your families and wishing you all the very best in 2013! Happy Weekend.

 

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Cakes & Cheesecakes, Crostate, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Mini Desserts, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Piccola Pasticceria, Pies & Tarts, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Torte

Comments (18)

18 Responses to “Caramel, Peanut Butter Mousse and Chocolate Tart”

  1. Sarah Flemming Says:

    While I am not a professional chef, this thermometer, http://www.amazon.com/Splash-Proof-Super-Fast-Thermapen-Thermometer-Professional/dp/B002GEG5FW/ref=sr_1_3?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1357946010&sr=1-3, is the best I have ever have, for candy or oil.

    I am sorry for your physical difficulties. I look foreward to making this tart.

  2. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Thank you Sarah. This looks like an amazing thermometer, a little more expensive than the one I purchased but I’m in the market for a new thermometer for tempering chocolate, will take a look at the features of this one, thanks for the recommendation I’m sure others will appreciate it too.

  3. Lauren at Keep It Sweet Says:

    You certainly did come back with a bang, this looks outrageous! I do hope that your health is doing better!

  4. The Weekend Chef #2: 10 Recipes Featuring Plum Chicken, Baked Donuts Says:

    […] Caramel, Peanut Butter Mousse and Chocolate Tart […]

  5. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Thank you Lauren and I hope you’re feeling better too!

  6. Maggie Says:

    Grace, I’m sure there are many others like me who seldom comment but are very grateful for whatever time you are able to share your fantastic recipes with us.

    I’ve made many of the wonderful recipes from your book and blog, and never yet been less than delighted. Well, maybe just once… but I’ll tell you about that some time when you’re feeling invincible. :)

    Wishing you a healthy(er) 2013!

  7. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Thank you so much Maggie and thanks for sticking with me, and you must share (I hope it wasn’t a huge disaster). Meeting with the doc on Monday, hoping to put a new plan in place. Wishing you all the best in 2013!

  8. Mariam Says:

    I’m sorry to hear that Grace, wish you the best health! I’ve missed your absence, but you’ve come back with one amazing dessert for me to try, peanut butter, chocolate and caramel = the perfect combo!

  9. Kathryn Says:

    I know how frustrating it can be when your physical abilities don’t let you do everything that you want – I can only say thank you for all the time and effort that you do put into this site. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to stop thinking about this tart, pretty much all my favourites in one!

  10. Maura Says:

    Controllo il tuo blog ogni settimana e, vedendo che non scrivevi da un po’, ho pensato che fossi in vacanza o comunque occupata per le feste natalizie; quindi mi e’ dispiaciuto molto sapere che, invece, non sei stata bene.
    Ti auguro che questo 2013 ti porti tanta salute!!!

  11. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Thank you Kathryn, hope you’re having a great start tot he new year.

  12. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Mariam, hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your family, wishing you all good things in 2013.

  13. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Thank you Maura, meeting with my doc tomorrow hoping he has a new plan for me, fingers crossed. My mother is convinced that I should visit the shrine of Padre Pio. All the very best to you as well in 2013!

  14. Erica Says:

    Good for you for keeping going with the blog, despite setbacks. I’ll definitely continue reading, as I find your recipes are always show-stopping and unique, with an Italian flair. Please keep them coming!

  15. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Thank you so much Erica!

  16. Maura Says:

    Spero che il tuo appuntamento con il dottore abbia portato buone notizie. Per tornare a quanto ti ha detto tua madre, posso solo dirti che anche io sono credente e, male sicuramente non ti fara’. Semmai ti dara’ un po’ di forza morale. Tanti cari auguri.

  17. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Maura I wish I could say it went well but unfortunately doctor is now referring me to a new specialist, which may take some time but I am keeping my fingers crossed it won’t take too long. If all goes well I will be visiting this summer and I will visit Padre Pio. Mauro I learned this week how powerful the power of faith and prayer is, my brother had an accident and things looked bleak but within 24 hours he was walking out of the hospital even the doctors were shaking their heads.

  18. Ela Says:

    Hi Grace, sorry to hear about your medical issues, sending prayers your way, I hope you’ll feel better soon. Thank you for sharing your fabulous recipes with us although you’re not feeling so good. I love your book, I really enjoy reading and looking at the photos. Take care. Bless you.

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