The simple addition of red M&Ms, candy eyeballs and pretzel halves turn this family favourite dessert into a Christmas classic. Start this dessert at least 8 hours ahead of serving (I make the caramel the night before).
Ingredients (serves 10-12)
1 x 395g can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Big pinch sea salt flakes
1½ cups plain flour
3 tspns icing sugar
140g cold butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tblspns water
150g dark chocolate melts
½ cup thickened cream
12 red M&Ms
24 candy eyes
12 pretzels, cut in half to look like antlers
To make the caramel filling, put the unopened can of condensed milk into a large saucepan and fill with enough water to just cover the to of the tin. Bring the water to the boil, then turn down the heat until the water is simmering. Keep simmering for 3½ hours, ensuring you top up the water regular so the can is still fully submerged. Allow to cool for 30 mins in the water before carefully removing. Carefully open the can and scrape the caramel into a small bowl. Add vanilla and sea salt flakes to taste.
To make the pastry, put flour, icing sugar, butter, yolk and water into a food processor and process until just come together. Press dough into a ball, knead gently on a floured surface until smooth; cover, refrigerate 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Lightly grease a 24cm flan tin. After resting, roll dough on floured surface until large enough to line the tin. Lift pastry into tin, ease into sides and trim the edge.
Place tin on an oven tray, line pastry with baking paper and fill with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 15 mins then remove baking paper and weights and bake, uncovered for a further 15-20 mins or until pastry case is golden browned and crisp. Leave to cool.
Once the pastry is completely cool, spoon in the caramel and smooth the top with a silicone spatula. Refrigerate for 30 mins.
To make the chocolate ganache, place the dark chocolate melts and cream in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Stir continuously until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is glossy and smooth. Set aside for a couple of minutes to cool slightly.
Pour the chocolate ganache onto the caramel layer and refrigerate for a further 30 mins to set .
Once set, cut the tart into 10-12 slices. Decorate each slice with a red M&M nose, 2 candy eyes and 2 pretzel antlers. Serve and enjoy!
Tart recipe adapted from Beatrix Bake’s salty dulce de leche, the Australian Women’s Weekly pastry & Donna Hay’s chocolate ganache. Reindeer inspiration from Instagram.