Salted Caramel Tarts

My boyfriend’s mother requested these after I’d made millionaires shortbread. It’s a simple caramel that is poured into a pre made sweet shortcrust tartlet and then devoured. Highly calorific but utterly delicious.

For 16 individual tartlets or one big one you need
1 tin condensed milk
200g butter
4 tbsp golden syrup
1-2 tsp salt flakes depending on taste
2 packs pre made sweet shortcrust pastry tartlets (I used Morrisons which were yummy).

Place the ingredients, minus the tart cases, in a non stick heavy based pan and heat gently. The key to the caramel is patience. Keeping the heat low to medium, and stirring constantly, heat it gently until all the butter is melted. Continue to stir and heat until it comes to the boil and then still stirring keep going until it’s thickened and turned a dark golden brown colour. This takes about 15-20 mins in total. Beat in the salt flakes and then carefully pour into the tart cases and leave to set.

Salted Caramel Shortbread Slice aka Millionaire’s Shortbread

This is to die for. Literally. Scroll down the list of ingredients and you’ll see why. But don’t let that put you off. In the immortal words of Masterchef’s Greg Wallace it’s got the perfect buttery, biscuity base topped with oozing salted caramel and then a thick layer of slightly bitter chocolate. An orgasm on a plate if you will. What’s not to like… Adapted from Nigella’s Roxanne’s Millionaires Shortbread in Domestic Goddess.

For 24 pieces you need
225g plain flour
75g fairtrade caster sugar
375g unsalted butter
397g can sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons golden syrup
250g fairtrade plain chocolate
2 tsp salt, preferably something flaky like Maldon

Begin by making the shortbread. Place the flour, sugar and 175g of butter in a food processor and blitz till it turns into sandy rubble. If you don’t have a food processor you can do this by hand by rubbing the fat into the flour and sugar.

Tip the sandy mixture into a lined 23x23cm tin and press down. Bake in a 160 degree oven for 35-40 mins. You want a crisp, golden brown bottom so take care not to have the oven too hot or it will brown before it cooks through.

Meanwhile make the salted caramel by placing the remaining 200g butter into a pan with the condensed milk and golden syrup. I learnt previously when I made this that using a cheap pan separates the butter fat out and splits the caramel. This is NOT a good thing. I managed to resolve it by beating the caramel in the pan submerged in a washing up bowl of cold water but it’s tricky so I recommend using a pan with a deep a base as possible (a Le Creuset is brilliant but admittedly perhaps too middle class for this…). Anyways. Melt the butter into the condensed milk and syrup and then bring to the boil stirring constantly until it’s thickened and a light golden brown in colour. This will take about 20-25 minutes and can’t be rushed. To ensure you don’t let it catch you need to take it slow and steady, stirring all the time. Beat in 1 tsp of the salt and leave to cool.

The shortbread should be baked by now, and if it is, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15-20 mins before pouring the likewise cooled caramel over the top. Tilt the tin to coat the base properly then sprinkle over the remaining 1 tsp of salt. Leave to cool while you melt the chocolate.

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie/bowl over a pan of water. I like to use 75% plain and 25% milk chocolate on mine, but do as you wish. Once the chocolate has melted, pour over the caramel, again ensuring it’s covered properly and leave until fully set. This means overnight unless you cheat like me and put it in the fridge.

Cut into squares and scoff. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Double-layer Banoffee Pie with Salted Caramel

We somehow accumulated a banana glut and there’s only so many banana smoothies I can drink and the freezer was already full of (a very nice) chocolate banana cake so I asked for ideas on things to use them up and the overwhelming response was banoffee pie! So here is my version of the classic.

For a pie that serves 8-10 you need
For the base
150g digestive biscuits
100g butter

For the caramel
397g can condensed milk
100g butter
100g light soft brown sugar
pinch salt flakes

4 bananas
250ml double cream
1-2 squares of plain chocolate

Begin by melting the butter and whizzing the biscuits in a food processor until they resemble sand. Pour in the butter with the motor running until combined. Spread into the base of a flan/pie dish, leaving a little lip around the edges to catch the caramel. Chill in the fridge while you make the caramel.

Melt the butter and sugar in a pan and then add the milk. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, and boil rapidly for 1 minute. Be careful not to get splashed by the bubbles as it will be VERY HOT! Mix in the salt.

Slice 1-2 bananas into 5mm slices and lay over the base. Top with the caramel and leave to chill for 1-2 hours in the fridge.

Once the caramel has set, place another layer of bananas on the top and then top with whipped cream. Be careful to only take the cream to soft peak stage as you want a pillow of creamy softness on the pie. Swirl to finish and then decorate with grated chocolate. Yum!