I feel like a broken record when I say, “I can’t believe I’ve never baked [x]” from one of the BAKED cookbooks. I’ve been baking out of them for so many years that it would be a reasonable assumption to assume I had made pretty much everything. But actually there are a number of recipes from Baked Explorations that I have never made because I joined Baked Sunday Mornings when they were about ⅔ through that book. One recipe I’ve had my eye on all these years… but had never made… is the Malted Crisp Tart.￼￼ I almost made it countless times, but it has four different components and felt complicated at a glance, even though every time I looked at it more closely, I went, “each part is really not that hard, why do I always think this is complicated?” And yet, I still never got around to it. I knew that I wanted to get this recipe posted here before BSM came to an end (two more recipes left). This week the group was making Hazelnut Cinnamon Chip Biscotti from BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking, which I had already made and did not enjoy. I decided this is finally the week that I’m making the vaunted Malted Crisp Tart. And truly, it was super easy and some parts can be done ahead. Spoiler alert: It was every bit as spectacular as I thought it would be.
You’ll start by making a brown sugar crust, which comes together very easily and gets pressed into a tart pan, or a ring mold in my case. (I prefer the more contemporary look of a straight-sided mold rather than a fluted tart pan.) I had enough crust mixture for an 8″ round tart and a 6″ square. It did take me a fair amount of time to press the crusts evenly into the molds, but Baking OCD dictates that crusts must be as smooth and even as possible, sooo that’s how it goes. Anyway, you combine flour, brown sugar, malted milk powder, salt, butter, and vanilla extract in a food processor, press it into the pan/mold, freeze for 20 minutes, then bake for about 20 minutes or until it’s golden. I do think the crusts would’ve turned out a bit more even if I’d blind-baked them, but once the filling was poured in, it was more or less irrelevant.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
Next are the caramelized crispies. I feel like I’m saying that in a very nonchalant way, like, “Oh, just some rice krispies with sugar, NBD”. But I’d like to impress upon you how delicious and rather brilliant these are. All you do is melt sugar with a little water in a pot, add the cereal, and keep stirring until the sugar caramelizes. However, it took a lot longer than I expected, and at several points I thought I had ruined it somehow. The sugar dries out and turns white, and you just keep stirring, and after about 15 minutes or so, finally the sugar at the bottom will start to liquefy again and turn golden, until finally all the cereal is coated in amber sugar. (The recipe says that the pan will smoke, but this never happened.) Spread the caramelized cereal out on a lined sheet pan and break it into clusters. Related tip: Try very hard not to eat all of them before you finish making the tart. ￼￼￼
The third component is the milk chocolate ganache, which could not be simpler. You heat heavy cream and malted milk powder to a simmer, and pour it over finely chopped milk chocolate, then stir until smooth. Pour the ganache into your cooled crust(s), then sprinkle some cereal clusters and crushed malt ball candy evenly over the surface and press them into the ganache gently.￼ At this point, the tart will go into the fridge so the ganache can firm up.
The final step is making the malted diplomat cream topping. This involves making a cooked custard, which has to be chilled for an hour before folding in freshly whipped cream. I had fully intended to do this, except that I was simultaneously working on a complicated lasagna project, for which I prepared homemade ricotta, and I ended up unexpectedly using all the milk that I had in the fridge. Seeing as how I can’t really run to the store for one thing right now, I ended up not making the diplomat cream. Instead, I simply whipped heavy cream with malted milk powder and a tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar. To be honest, this was absolutely wonderful on top of the tart and I don’t know that I would do it differently in the future. I could be wrong, since I didn’t try it with the diplomat cream– it’s entirely possible that that takes it to a whole new level that I can’t even appreciate, but if you’re in a hurry or don’t have milk on hand, malted whipped cream is a more than adequate substitute.￼
Every element of this tart includes malt powder, so the malted flavor bursts forward in every bite. Besides this, I loved the textural contrast of the crisp crust, creamy ganache, feathery whipped cream, and the crunch from the caramelized cereal and malt candy. I ended up just dolloping whipped cream on top of individual slices rather than over the whole thing, plus a final sprinkling of crushed candy and cereal, since I wasn’t serving it to a group (because quarantine and all). ￼￼￼￼￼￼I was over the moon for this dessert, and I’m so glad I *finally* took on this project– every morsel is heavenly. This recipe would make cute individual tartlets as well.
So I’ll conclude by saying that this is one of my all-time favorite recipes from all four BAKED cookbooks. I kind of suspected that, so it’s extra ludicrous that I had never made it before, but I’ll just chalk it up to saving the best for last.￼ You can find the recipe for Malted Crisp Tart at Baked Sunday Mornings, and take a peek at the other bakers’ lovely tarts too!
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2020.