Thinking back, I’m pretty sure this is the first recipe I ever made up. The first thing I learned to cook was French Toast (which we called ‘fence posts’), although I hardly ever make it now and I seem to have lost the knack. But this recipe I invented when I was fairly young (somewhere around 10 or 12, I think), and had a craving for caramel that couldn’t be satisfied without inventiveness (I grew up on a small farm and the closest shop was half an hour by car). I made it again recently after a bit of a caramel revival and while it certainly satisfied my craving for something sweet and sticky, I don’t think it’s a particularly great recipe. The filling is kind of a cheat’s version of dulche de leche – it’s not quite as nice, but it much faster and much, much safer to make (10 year old me was not allowed to set tins of condensed milk on the stove to boil for hours on end). I’m posting it because I’m both terribly fond in a nostalgic way, and terribly proud of my 10 or 12 year old skilz.
Jackie’s Caramel Tart
1 sheet puff pastry (This is the original recipe – I think a nice homemade shortcrust would probably be better. But this is about nostalgia, not quality.)
2 tblspns butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tins condensed milk
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
Prepare a 24cm(ish) tart tin and line with puff pastry. Blind bake for around 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine – it should look a bit like a dark roux at this point.
Remove from heat and add a little bit of the condensed milk to form a paste. Add the rest of the milk and return to heat. Cook for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly. The caramel will thicken slightly.
Pour the caramel into the prepared tart shell and return to the oven for around half an hour. It should develop a rich, dark colour but keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. It will have a slight crust, and ooey, gooey caramel underneath.
Allow to cool, then serve, preferably with a bit of vanilla ice cream to cut through the sugar. It may not be quality food, but it’s easy and damn satisfying.