Monday, May 14, 2012

Joanne Chang's Milky Way Tart

Everytime I flip through my copy of Joanne Chang's Flour cookbook I always stop on the Milky Way Tart.  I usually passed on it because a) we didn't own a tart pan, and b) it just seemed too difficult.  However, when we got a tart pan off our wedding registry, I decided to go for it, and ultimately it wasn't that hard and it came out really well!

Milky Way Tart
While I won't publish the recipe here, these are the simple steps I followed.  The full recipe is available on Leites Culinaria, but I'd encourage anyone to grab a copy of this great book if it's not already a part of your collection.

When you first read over the recipe, it seems daunting because of the number of steps.  The first was to make the mousse filling, which requires a lot of refrigeration - perfect for making ahead.

Mousse Ingredients
The Flour recipe actually required us to weight the chocolate chips out - when you don't use a whole bag its tough!

I first heated the heavy cream and the espresso in a sauce pan until scalded, when bubbles form around the edge but the cream is not actually boiling.

I poured the cream mixture over the chocolate chips and let it stand for a bit, allowing the chips to melt, then whisked it all together to until smooth.

Whisking Away
We have a fine mesh strainer that Nick uses all the time.  I have never had a use for it before, but it certainly came in handy.  I poured the cream and chocolate mixture through the mesh into some tupperware to make sure there were no lumps or other strange chunks in the mixture.  I added the salt, sealed up the container and placed it into the fridge until I was ready for it, which was in about 24 hours.

Mousse Mixture
The next step involved making the tart shell - again, another task that can be done ahead of time.

For the tart shell, or Pate Sucree as it is officially called, I broke out the stand mixture.  To begin, I creamed the butter, sugar, and salt and mixed them for about 3 minutes.

Creamed butter and sugar
I then slowly added the flour, making sure I scraped down the sides as I continued to add more.  The ultimate consistency should look like wet sand.

Adding the flour
At this point, I added the egg yolk and mixed it into the dough.

This dough needed to rest before being used, so I wrapped it up tightly in plastic wrap and popped it in the fridge for an hour.

Ready for the fridge
Rather than going through the many steps of making caramel (and since I have had trouble in the past) I decided to give the slow cooker/sweetened condensed milk method a whirl.

This method is really simple: place a plate at the bottom of the slow cooker (to protect it from rust), place the sweetened condensed milk on the plate and fill the slow cooker with water so that it covers the top of the cans.  Finally, place the top on the slow cooker and set it to low for 8 hours.

Soon to be caramel....
When I was ready to make the tart shell, I took the dough out of the oven and began to roll it out on a floured surface until it was about a quarter inch thick.

Ready to roll...
After making sure it was just about big enough, I rolled the dough around the rolling pin and unrolled it over the tart pan.

Ready to unravel
While it looks like I did a lovely job here - it actually was filled with holes that needed patching.  This dough is VERY forgiving, so don't worry if you need to do some patching.  I placed the whole thing in the fridge for about a half hour to let it chill before placing it in the oven.

Ready for the oven
Golden Brown
I did all the previous steps the day before I was serving the tart, and all-in-all it took about a half hour of actual working time.  The next morning I woke up and was excited to check out the results of my sweetened condensed milk, which, like magic turned into caramel!  Super easy and delicious - I will definitely be doing this again.

Magic Caramel!
From here it was easy: I covered the bottom of the tart with a heavy layer of carmel.

I then took the mousse mixture out of the fridge and poured it into a bowl, prepared the hand mixer and then went to town until it held its own peaks.

Cold mousse mixture
Fully Whipped
I dumped most of it out on top of the caramel (such a pretty color!) and smoothed it out and into the tart shell.

Piled High
Almost ready
For garnish, I dribbled the caramel over the top, shaved on some milk chocolate, and it was ready to serve.

Ready to serve!
Photo after the first bit - I couldn't wait!
The second day of work was pretty simple and easy - about 20 minutes total.  This seemingly difficult recipe that I found intimidating was actually straight forward and simple to do.  What's not simple is the taste!  This was just as delicious as the pictures and really tasted like a Milky Way.  The bit of espresso was subtle but added a nice depth of flavor.  I would make this again in a heartbeat - it's so worth it!


  1. Looks incredible!! I've had this tart before and it is to die for. I never realized so much effort went into it -- well done!

  2. I love this tart and have made it in mini form at home and at Flour. It's amazing. Yours looks beautiful!! Yay for new registry items!

  3. I need to get this cookbook because that looks amazing! I love that she uses weight measurements - I feel like that makes it way more foolproof...especially for an amateur baker like me!

  4. I've had the pleasure of having this a few times, it is dreamy

  5. this looks delicious. really nice job!

  6. I've seen this and tried it and it really is incredible! Good job!

  7. Fantastic job. Looks delicious.

  8. Yum this looks awesome! I bake from the Flour cookbook ALL the time, but I've still never made this. I guess that needs to change!

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