This dark chocolate and caramel tart that's lightly spiced with cinnamon and flavoured with oranges for balance and a bright acidity is named "Fred" for one reason; it's dedicated to my father. I'm always constantly baking for the birthdays of others and people I barely know so how awful would I be if I didn't create something special just for him, especially since he just turned the big six-O.
I was slightly stressed out thinking of ideas and flavours combinations since my sister wasn't contributing fantastic ones. Also, because I've had a rather busy week, I was only left with slightly more than half a day to prepare and assemble this birthday tart. I literally sat in the car in complete silence thinking of something, while my friend drove. I wanted to do something different, and something that I had most of the ingredients already in my pastry pantry. I started doodling on a piece of envelop, sketching my ideas et voilà. I went to buy the ingredients I needed, got back home at about 11pm and started doing all my mise en place to set everything that needed to be set (which was almost everything), and freeze everything that needed to be frozen so that I could glaze with ease the next day. All that consisted of preparing the dough, the salted caramel, the orange marmalade (from scratch that took me 3 hours), the chocolate chantilly cream, the glaze, and the chocolate-cinnamon cremeux.
The day itself, I started on the chocolate genoise, lined my tart ring, thinned down and soured my orange marmalade so I could spread it across the sponge, assembled the tart, glazed my chocolate-cinnamon cremeux, piped the chocolate chantilly, and dressed it up. Phew, that was a mouthful.
In a nutshell, this birthday tart had 8 components:
1. 72% arriba dark chocolate-cinnamon cremeux
2. chocolate-cinnamon pâte sucrée
3. chocolate genoise
4. chocolate rum soak
5. caramel fleur de sel
6. 66% chocolate-orange chantilly cream
7. sour orange marmalade insert
8. dark chocolate glaze
I was worried about the outcome of this tart. I didn't want something that looked nice to taste only so mediocre. Thankfully, it was just divine. My sister and I personally don't love the combination of chocolate and orange but we both loved this. I made sure that the orange flavour stayed subtle and was only there mainly to provide a tartness and balance to such intense dark chocolate. It complemented the subtle tones of cinnamon as well and it reminded me very much of Christmas or Thanksgiving. As usual, this chocolate cremeux is my absolute favourite. Such a smooth mouthfeel and it was rich, dense but at the same time almost quite mousse-like. The salted caramel provided the sweetness for the otherwise lacking in sugar in the 72% chocolate cream and this tart was just well rounded. Sweet, bitter, acidic, textural and robust in taste and flavour.
The photos of the cut tart were taken the day after. As you can tell.... the moment it was taken out of the fridge for me to photograph, it started condensing on my glaze because of the disgusting Singapore weather. That's why I really hate Singapore sometimes, it destroys my work. >:( this is probably my 100th time witnessing condensation on my pastries. It bothers me so much because firstly it looks so ugly and secondly, it's bad for the pastries!! That aside, piping that chocolate-orange chantilly cream was such great fun. It was my first attempt so I know it's not perfect but when they're cut into wedges, they look like mini pies with a fluted edge!
It's gonna be a busy next two weeks with two classes on Mille Feuille the following week, Mother's Day and my sister's birthday. On top of that, macaron orders for Naiise. Desperately in need of a proper kitchen, my own space, fridge and freezer.
Happy Birthday, Daddy! ♥