Now there’s a title! This is just a sinfully rich and delicious little tart – like chewy candy in a butter-cookie crust. It’s easy to make using store-bought caramels, and appropriately decadent for Valentine’s Day. This dessert is most elegantly served if it’s made in a shallow, 11-inch tart pan (one of those with fluted edges and a removable bottom) as directed in the recipe. If you don’t have that kind of pan, simply use a regular 9-or 10-inch pie pan to make the tart. You won’t be able to remove the sides for serving, and the serving pieces will be a little large, but it will taste wonderful anyway.
1 stick (4 ounces), very cold butter – cut into 8 pieces
1/3 cup, sugar
2 teaspoons, vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups, flour
FOR THE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE AND CARAMEL FILLING:
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces), semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup, heavy cream [divided use]
1 (14 ounce) package, vanilla caramels
3 cups, chopped pecans
Roll out the dough, and press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of and 11-inch tart pan (as described in the introductory note). Place a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the formed dough, and fill the tart pan with dried beans (beans may be re-used for this purpose almost indefinitely), or use aluminum pie weights. Bake 10 minutes. Remove foil with beans or pie weights, prick crust all over with the sharp tines of a fork, and return the empty crust to the oven to bake for another 7 minutes – or until lightly colored. Allow crust to cool completely before filling.
To Make the Tart Filling: In a one-quart glass bowl, combine the chocolate chips and the 1/3 cup of cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute, or until chocolate is melted and can be stirred smooth. Microwave for a few additional seconds if necessary to melt chocolate – but stir frequently – the chocolate will hold its shape even after melting – so you can’t tell that it’s melted, unless you stir it. When chocolate can be stirred smooth, do not heat further –the chocolate will “break” if it gets too hot. [Chocolate may be melted in a double boiler (instead of a microwave) if desired, heat it over, but not in, simmering water, stirring constantly.]
When crust is cool, spread 3/4 of this melted chocolate mixture (this is the “truffle” part) over bottom of the crust. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until this “truffle” has set. Reserve the remaining 1/4 of the melted chocolate truffle mixture.
In a large skillet, combine the caramels and the remaining 1/2 cup of cream. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth – about 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped pecans. Spread this mixture evenly over the chilled truffle mixture in the tart crust.
Heat the remaining 1/4 of the chocolate truffle mixture in a microwave for 15 seconds or so if necessary – you just want it to be gently melted. Drizzle this mixture attractively, (using a fork makes it easy), over the top of the tart. Refrigerate the finished tart until the filling is set – at least one hour.
Before serving, remove the sides of the tart pan (if using). Cut the tart into slices using a sharp knife.