If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.

Milky Way Tart adapted from Joanne Chang

       I’ve told you some of the story of Joanne Chang, the Harvard educated economist who threw in the towel and went on to open “Flour”, a Boston bakery and cafe that’s grown to three locations. That was between opening a marvelous pan-Asian restaurant called “Myers + Chang” with her husband, Christopher Myers.  But in case you missed it, Ms. Chang’s culinary education bears repeating; it is such an American story.  Ms. Chang grew up in a first generation Chinese American family in Texas.  Her introduction to American desserts consisted of visits to friends’ houses and the consumption of such great American classics as Wing Dings, Whoopie Pies, and Oreo Cookies.  Now, as one of the most inventive of bakers, Ms. Chang has re-invented some of her childhood favorites in recipes she shares in her cookbook “Flour” (Chronicle Books 2010). Here on Chewing the Fat, we’ve already shared her recipe for homemade Oreos (http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/05/homemade-oreo-cookies-courtesy-of.html).  That was such a success that it was just a matter of time before Andrew tackled another one: Her delicious caramel and chocolate confection called the Milky Way tart.  And when he did, I think he actually improved it.

         The Milky Way Candy Bar is all of 88 years old, having been invented by Frank C. Mars of Minneapolis MN in 1923.  It’s made of chocolatemalt nougat topped with caramel and covered with milk chocolate.  It was the first commercially distributed filled chocolate bar.  It was not named for the Milky Way Galaxy but rather for a famed malted milkshake of the same name. And it got its chocolate from another famous name:  Hershey’s supplied its chocolate to the Mars company for coating the Milky Way.  Interestingly, Ms. Chang’s recipe does not contain the malted milk flavor.  Instead it is a lighter-than-air chocolate mousse-filed tart in a buttery flaky crust.  Under the mousse lies a layer of rich caramel.  More caramel is drizzled over the mousse and the whole thing is topped with shavings of pure milk chocolate.  It is so very, very good.  Now this is no fly-by-night tart.  In fact, it requires about 10 hours to complete.  Of course the prep time is all of about 60 minutes including the pastry shell.  So this recipe looks positively daunting.  Fortunately, it’s the baking and resting and chilling that take up the bulk of the 9 hours.  And what was Andrew’s improvement? 

         The tart truly is a lovely mousse. However taking it out of the refrigerator for any sustained period of time led to a minor melt down. Andrew’s solution for this was not to just cool the pie in the fridge but to put the pie in the freezer and then, when it is served, it holds its shape far better and is an absolutely delicious frozen treat.  This one’s a keeper:
Here is the recipe:


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