"I started my roasted white chocolate journey nearly a decade ago, when I worked with the inspirational Melbourne pâtissier Darren Purchese to develop a roasted white chocolate tart that reminded us of the Caramac chocolate bars of our youth. Here in Australia, our version of a caramelised chocolate bar was Caramilk, which was launched long before Darren and I made our roasted white chocolate tart. It was discontinued in 1994, but returned to the market to much fanfare in 2018 as we all fell in love with roasted white chocolate as the logical successor to the early 2000s' craze for salted caramel. Try this tart and you’ll know why."
200g packet white chocolate, coarsely chopped
300ml thickened cream
150g unsalted butter, chopped
pinch sea salt flakes, plus extra to serve
sea salt flakes, shaved white chocolate and crème fraîche, to serve
Sweet shortcrust pastry
1½ cups (225g) plain flour
150g salted butter, chilled, chopped
2 tablespoons icing sugar mixture
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon chilled water
To make the pastry, process the flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and water. Process until the dough just comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, gather and shape into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest.
Roll out the dough on a sheet of baking paper until 3mm thick. Ease into a 2.5cm deep, 22cm (base measurement) fluted tart tin with removable base. Press pastry into the flutes of the tin. Trim excess pastry. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill.
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Line the pastry with a large sheet of baking paper. Place tin on a baking tray and fill with pastry weights or rice. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove paper and weights or rice. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until slightly golden and crisp. Set aside to cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 140°C (120°C fan-forced). Place the chocolate in a shallow roasting tray. Bake, stirring the chocolate every 10 minutes with a spatula to spread and melt on the tray, for 20–30 minutes or until the chocolate turns a rich caramel colour (the chocolate may look grainy but continue to mix and it will melt and eventually become smooth). Stir in the cream until well combined (the mixture may start to look lumpy). Bake, stirring every 5 minutes, for a further 10–15 minutes or until smooth. Stir in the butter and salt.
Pour chocolate mixture into the pastry case. Place in the fridge for 3–4 hours until set.
Decorate with a big pinch of sea salt flakes and shaved white chocolate curls – use a sharp knife or potato peeler to make these. Serve with crème fraîche.
Matt Preston's World of Flavour (published by Penguin, RRP $39.95) is available now from great Victorian booksellers such as Books for Cooks, Hill of Content, The Paperback Bookshop and Readings, as well as online.
Sign up to our weekly news on Victoria's best food and drink.