Truth be told, my search for treasured and heritage-inspired tart recipes was a little bleak. I dug up hundreds of heirloom pie and cookie and cake recipes, but the tart recipes were extremely scarce, or incomplete, or not really tarts. Instead, I tasked pastry chef extraordinaire Melissa Fritz Walters with creating a tart that is a little bit malty and little bit crispy, and she built the tart of my candy-colored dreams. The Malted Crisp Tart is a Melissa-original, and it quickly became my favorite dessert. The brown sugar crust is a near perfect receptacle for the dense malted milk chocolate and light malted diplomat cream, and the layers of caramelized rice crispies provide an unexpected but ultimately desired crunch. The tart is definitely designed for a swanky gathering, but I have been known to eat a slice in my pajamas in front of the television.
Lightly spray a napkin or paper towel with vegetable oil and use the napkin to apply the oil to the sides and bottom (and nooks and crannies) of the tart pan.
Place the flour, salt, malted milk powder, butter, sugar, and pure vanilla in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.
Scoop the crumb mixture out into the prepared tart pan and use your hands to press the mixture into bottom and up the sides of the tart pan (the crust should not look too thick).
Place the tart pan in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Remove the tart pan from the freezer, place on a baking sheet, and
Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack and cool completely.
Line a half-sheet baking pan with a Silpat or, alternatively, a sheet of aluminum foil sprayed with vegetable oil.
In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together 2 tablespoons water with the sugar and bring just to a very low boil for about 1 minute.
Add the crisped rice cereal and stir until the mixture is dry. Keep stirring until sugar begins to caramelize and the pan begins to smoke. Fold the mixture over and over until all the crispies are coated with an amber layer of sugar. Once the crispies are completely coated, turn them out onto the Silpat and cool completely.
Break the candy up into large chunky pieces and set aside.
Place the milk chocolate in a medium-size heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together the heavy cream and malt powder. Bring the mixture to a simmer (tiny bubbles will form around the edges of the cream; it should not be a rolling boil). Remove from the heat and pour over the milk chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes. Starting in the center of the bowl, and working your way out to the edges, whisk the chocolate ganache in a circle until completely smooth.
Gently pour the ganache into the cooled tart shell. Top with crushed malted milk balls and 1 cup caramelized crispies. Very gently press the crushed malt balls and caramelized crispies into the ganache.
Refrigerate the tart while you make the Malted Diplomat Cream.
Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer and keep warm.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, egg yolk, egg, cornstarch, and malted milk powder together until the mixture is pale, about 1 minute.
Whisk half of the warm milk into the egg yolk mixture, then pour the mixture into the remaining milk in the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through the sieve and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour until chilled.
Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator and whip until creamy.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream with a whisk until soft peaks form and fold into the pastry cream.
Remove the tart from the refrigerator and cover the Milk Chocolate Malt layer with the Malted Diplomat Cream. Garnish with a few whole malt balls and caramelized crispies. Refrigerate the tart to set up, about 30 minutes, and serve immediately. The tart can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
© 2010 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.