Tarte au Carambar – Not Just for Kids
Coming back from Indonesia, we put our thoughts of nasi goreng (fried rice), exotic noodle dishes and all of those delicious tropical fruits we savored aside. We started thinking of going home to Zürich and having our wursts, Rösti and Swiss cheese – and for me, I missed my precious chocolate drawer too — but more on that in the next post. We arrived in Paris for the last leg of our trip, and with an hour or two at Gare de l’Est before our train, I was more than happy to roam around and grab a few French items. A good transition back to continental Europe for sure. I got the new issues of my favorite French food and travel magazines (Saveurs, Elle à Table, Régal, étoile, Coté Sud, L’Officiel Voyages) and a pain au chocolat.
When I noticed a bag of Carambar, a childhood favorite in France, I was rather tempted. The iconic yellow wrappers, red writing and pink bag, thin sticks of dark caramel hard enough to break all of your teeth, and a silly riddle on the inside of each wrapper. Sometimes the jokes are so awful, that you just have to laugh. I thought it would be a sweet nostalgic treat for my (French) husband, a fun way to pass some time on the train, plus… didn’t I have a recipe with Carambars that I was hoping to try?
Indeed I did. A few months ago, I found myself chatting with Berko Patisserie owner Régis Clerc-Vincent. The day we met, he had just opened his new pastry shop on rue Rambuteau, specializing in savory and sweet tarts. I have yet to return to taste the cupcakes, a later addition to his repertory. When I asked Régis if he’d share a recipe, he offered one for a Tarte au Carambar. A very French ingredient, but not one that is very typical in the kitchen. I figured it would be real fun to try. I never did before only because our bag of Carambars mysteriously disappeared. (Oops.) This time, I was smart – I bought two.
adapted from Régis Clerc-Vincent of Berko, Tartes d’Aujourd’hui
1 roll of frozen pastry dough
One 350 gram bag of Carambars (45 pieces)
1 cup (240 ml) cream
3 large eggs
1 generous Tbsp of flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Roll out pastry dough and fit into your tart pan. Prick holes with a fork in the dough, and cover with parchment paper. Add dried beans, rice, or pastry weights if you have them. Bake the pastry “blind” (without filling) for 30 minutes.
In a saucepan or in a glass bowl set over a pot of hot water, melt the Carambars with the cream on medium heat. Watch closely and stir often. Take off heat and add the flour and eggs, continuously mixing until you have a smooth, homogenous mixture. Pour this mixture onto the cooled pastry crust. Bake again at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool before tasting. Keep in refrigerator.