Take a bite of this Tahini Caramel Tart! Right through the screen!
Tahini, a sesame seed paste that has long satisfied the Mediterranean palate is finding a much wider audience. It has the potential to rival peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter.
According to Adeena Sussman, an expert in Israeli cooking and author of Sababa, where this recipe is featured, “Tahini is made from sesame seeds that are soaked in water (sometimes salted), then crushed so the hull separates from the tender inner germ. The seeds are then run through a centrifuge to separate and dispose of the waste before being roasted and finally, ground between huge millstones to produce the tahini everyone in Israel knows.”
In a regular supermarket, among the many brands of tahini available nowadays, you will find Joyva Sesame Tahini, Seed & Mill Organic Tahini, Ziiyad All-Natural Tahini, and Roland Organic Tahini. Whole Foods has also created its own 365 Organic version.
Smooth tahini paste has become a favorite among chefs and home cooks, as Israeli cuisine is gaining more popularity. Not surprisingly, it is on the menu at places that specialize in Mediterranean cooking, and home cooks are discovering that it is as handy to have in the kitchen as peanut butter.
It’s also turning up in sweet dishes, like this delicious Tahini Caramel Tart. Caramel Tarts started to show up a good 20 years ago, but this one, made with tahini in the caramel is pretty special. As you see in the recipe, it calls for ½ teaspoon of sea salt. Use it. The caramel really needs this whole amount of salt, or else, it’s going to be too sweet.
When I first made this tart and photographed it for this blog, I ended up skipping the Labaneh whipped cream. Since then, I made this tart a few more times, including the whipped cream, which does add a good complement. As you can tell, this recipe quickly became a regular in my kitchen, and I hope it becomes a regular in your kitchen too.
I’m slowly working my way through Sussman’s book. You might also like this recipe for Eggplant and Tomato Galette from Adeena Sussman’s Sababa.
Tahini Caramel Tart
Adapted from Sababa by Adeena Sussman
Serves 12 to 14
Chocolate Shortbread Crust
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
3 tablespoons Asian date syrup
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup pure tahini paste
Labaneh Whipped Cream
2/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup 4-Hour Labaneh, or Greek Yogurt
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confection sugar at medium-high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary, until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and sesame seeds. And beat until just incorporated 15 to 20 seconds. Gather the dough, then press it into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Freeze for 10 minutes, then bake until the crust is golden and flaky but still soft, 25 minutes. Cool Completely.
While the tart is cooling, make the caramel: Place the granulated sugar in a medium saucepan and sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water on top of it. Turn the heat to medium, bring to a boil, then increase the heat to medium-high and boil until the sugar turns syrupy and the color of light caramel, about 7 minutes ( be careful here; it can burn, so take it off the heat a few seconds early if you’re in doubt and swirl gently if one area begins to darken more than others). Remove the syrup from the heat, then immediately add the cream, brown sugar, butter, and date syrup and stir until the butter is melted. The mixture will sputter, then may harden in parts, but don’t worry. Place the saucepan back on the stove. Bring the mixture to a low simmer over low heat and simmer until it’s a deep mahogany color, 11 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat, whisk in the salt and then the tahini until smooth, and pour into the baked tart crust. Cool slightly, then chill until the tart is set, at least 4 hours (but overnight is best).
Make the Whipped Cream: just before serving, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form, 2 minutes. Add the labneh and confectioner’s sugar and whip until soft peaks return, 1 minute. Remove the tart from the fridge, slice, and serve with the whipped cream.
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