In India, we have this tradition (maybe I should say had?). As a child, when it’s your birthday, you have to distribute candies in school. It’s one of those days you really looked forward to – it’s the only day you were allowed to wear “colour” dress, meaning no uniform, teachers were sort of nice to you on that day and you would get wished by known and unknown students, probably because you stood out in your uniformless avatar.
It’s amazing how we found happiness in little things as kids. My mom would take me to the shop and I was allowed to pick a toffee. She would buy 100 of those and put them in a plastic box. I would go around distributing them and if I liked someone I gave them more than one candy, sometimes two, even three. Feels like ages ago.
I don’t know what the birthday tradition is for kids today. I won’t be surprised at all if cupcakes and macarons are doing the rounds. Anyway, back in the day, we had a toffee called Caramel by this brand called Parry’s. The brand certainly exists but I don’t see the toffee anywhere, anymore. Birthdays for me were synonymous to Caramel by Parry’s.
I wanted to remember my childhood – birthdays filled with plenty of Caramel toffees, I would pop one in and enjoy how sweetly chewy it was and before it went down my throat, the next one would be unwrapped. I wanted to recreate my childhood favourite sweet but things didn’t go very well.
It’s one of those situations where everything was done as it should be but my caramel failed to set. Maybe I added a little too much butter, maybe I let it cook for too long but I blame the hideously humid weather. Yet it was delicious; brown sugar, cream, butter and a dash of vanilla, what’s not to love? Salted caramel, chocolate tarts were part of my to-do list for the longest time and this was my chance, and I pounced at it.
- 113 g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 200 g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) brown sugar
- 1 cup (260 ml) heavy cream
- ½ cup light corn syrup
For chocolate topping
- 113 g dark chocolate, melted (over double boiler)
Sea salt, to sprinkle
Makes 12, 3 inch tarts
- Prepare the tart shells as per the recipe
- Cool the tart shells after baking.
- For the caramel, melt butter in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add cream, sugar and light corn syrup. Bring to the boil and let it simmer in medium-high until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently.
- Plop a tablespoon of caramel into the tart shells.
- Spoon the melted chocolate.
- Sprinkle a little bit of sea salt over the tarts.