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Master Chocolatier William Curley Shares His Sea Salt Caramel Tart Recipe From "Couture Chocolate"

Nicole Barylski

A complex dessert worth the effort. (Photo: Jose Lasheras)

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Master Chocolatier William Curley is sharing with Hamptons.com how to make his Sea Salt Caramel Tart from "Couture Chocolate." The book is a celebration of and master class in working with chocolate, and contains recipes like Cassis and Hibiscus Truffles, Chocolate Lollipops and Florentines and Chocolate Croquant.


Makes 12 tarts

 • 1/2 quantity Sea Salt Caramel
 • 75g (2 1/2oz. / 1/2 cup) hazelnuts, chopped
 • 1 quantity Raspberry Compote
 • Twelve 6cm (2 1/2 inch) chocolate discs
 • Chocolate decorations, edible gold leaf, chopped hazelnuts and halved raspberries, to finish

Sea Salt Caramel:

Makes about 80 chocolates

 • 185ml (6 1/4 fl oz. / 3/4 cup) whipping (pouring) cream
 • 1 vanilla pod (bean), split lengthways
 • 375g (13 oz. / 1 2/3 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
 • 60g (2 oz.) liquid glucose
 • 300g (10 oz. / 3 sticks) sea salt butter, cut into cubes and at room temperature


1. Put the cream in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla pod (bean) into the cream and drop in the empty pod. Bring to the boil. Take off the heat immediately.
2. Meanwhile, heat an empty heavy based saucepan. When it is hot, add one-third of the sugar with the liquid glucose and heat slowly until it forms a light caramel and the sugar crystals have dissolved.
3. Add the remaining sugar and continue to cook until you get an amber caramel. This will take about 15 minutes, but there are lots of variables so you must be vigilant and keep watch while it is cooking.
4. Gradually add the warm cream to the caramel. Mix well and then take off the heat.
5. Add the butter, cube by cube. Mix well until it has been fully incorporated and then leave to cool.

Raspberry Compote:

 • 12g (2 tsp) pectin powder
 • 35g (generous 1 oz.) caster (superfine) sugar
 • ¼ cinnamon stick
 • 200g (7 oz.) whole raspberries (fresh or frozen), stoned and roughly chopped
 • 100g (3 1/2 oz.) ready-made raspberry puree (see below)


1. Mix the pectin and the sugar together in a bowl.
2. Put the cinnamon stick, chopped raspberries and raspberry puree in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
3. Stir in the sugar and pectin and cook for 2 to 3 minutes over a low heat.
4. Leave to cool.

Raspberry Puree:

 • 50ml (1 3/4 fl oz. / 3 tbsp) water
 • 50g (1 3/4 oz.) caster (superfine) sugar
 • 500g (1 lb. 2 oz.) raspberries
 • 10ml (3/4 tbsp) lemon juice


1. Put the water and sugar in a pan, bring to the boil and then leave to cool.
2. Put the raspberries in a food processor and add the sugar syrup and lemon juice.
3. Blitz to a smooth puree and then pass through a fine sieve (strainer).
4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until needed.

Hazelnut & Almond Pastry:

 • 225g (8 o.z / 2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
 • 135g (5 oz. / generous 3/4 cup) icing (powdered/pure) sugar, sifted
 • 50g (1 3/4 oz. / 2/3 cup) ground hazelnuts
 • 50g (1 3/4 oz. / 2/3 cup) ground almonds
 • 2g (1/4 tsp) salt
 • 75g (2 1/2 oz.) eggs (about 1 1/2 eggs), beaten
 • 325g (11 oz. / 2 1/4 cups) soft flour, sifted

Raspberry Dacquoise:

 • 125g (4 1/2 oz. / 1 2/3 cups) ground almonds
 • 60g (2 oz.) icing (powdered/pure) sugar
 • 30g (1 oz.) plain (all-purpose) flour
 • 160g (5 1/2 oz.) egg whites (about 5 eggs)
 • 125g (4 1/2 oz. / generous cup) caster (superfine) sugar
 • 125g (4 1/2 oz.) frozen raspberries, chopped

Dark Chocolate Cremeux:

 • 150ml (5 fl oz. / 2/3 cup) whipping (pouring) cream
 • 75ml (2 1/2 fl oz. / scant 1/3 cup) milk
 • 55g (scant 2 oz.) egg yolks (about 3 eggs)
 • 25g (scant 1 oz.) caster (superfine) sugar
 • 160g (5 1/2 oz.) fine dark (bittersweet) chocolate (66% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
 • 15g (1/2 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

1. Start off by making the Hazelnut & Almond Pastry. Put the butter in a mixing bowl and add the icing sugar. Beat together until light in colour. Mix in the ground nuts and the salt. Beat until smooth. Gradually add the eggs. Lastly, add the flour and mix to form a smooth and homogenous mass. Place the pastry onto a floured baking tray (sheet), wrap in cling film (plastic wrap) and chill for at least 1 hour. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm (⅛ inch) thick and line 12 tartlet cases. Prick the base of the tarts and leave to rest for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the dacquoise.

2. Preheat the oven to 160C (325°F/ Gas 3). Mix together the almonds, icing sugar and flour. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites, gradually adding the sugar and increasing the speed. Continue to whisk to a firm meringue. Alternatively, whisk by hand. Fold the dry ingredients and the raspberries into the meringue. Spread the mixture onto a 25.5 x 30cm (10 x12 inch) baking tray lined with silicone (baking) paper. Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Leave to cool, then cut into 5cm (2 inch) discs with a plain cutter. Next, make the chocolate crémeux.

3. Put the cream and milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light in color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour half of the boiled cream over the egg yolks, mix and then return to the cream in the pan. Cook over a low heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, being careful not to overcook. Take off the heat and pass
through a fine sieve (strainer) into a bowl containing the chopped chocolate and mix gently until the chocolate has melted. Add the butter and mix until smooth. Pour into a shallow dish, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and cool rapidly until firm. Next, bake the pastry:

4. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/ Gas 4). Line the tartlets with silicone (baking) paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, remove the beans and bake for 8 to 10 minutes more. Leave for 5 minutes, then remove from the cases and cool on a rack.

5. To assemble & finish: Spoon the sea salt caramel into a piping (pastry) bag, snip a small hole in the end and pipe a small bulb into the base of each tartlet case. Sprinkle about 1 tsp of chopped hazelnuts on top of the caramel. Spoon a layer of the raspberry compote on top, then a disc of raspberry dacquoise. Pipe a ring of caramel around the edge of the disc and then spoon on a small amount of compote.Top with a chocolate disc.

6. Stir the cr.meux to loosen and spoon into a piping (pastry) bag fitted with a 7mm (1/4 inch) plain nozzle (tip). Pipe spirals of cremeux on top of the chocolate. Decorate with raspberries, chocolate decoration, hazelnuts and gold leaf.


• Leftover pastry can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen.
• You will need 12 tartlet tins 7cm (2 3/4 inches) in diameter and 3cm (1 1/2 inches) deep

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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