I am not a sweet person. Well, let me precise that: I do eat and enjoy a bit of good quality chocolate every single day. It's a ritual.
But that's about it. I seem to have been born without a sweet tooth. Or have lost it at just around the same time as I did my baby teeth. Ever since my cravings are savory.
That's probably why I started dreaming of pizza recently. The week had been a long and complicated one work wise, and at some point I called the day a day in the middle of the afternoon. I poured myself some ice cold club soda, squeezed in a bit of lemon juice and went into my garden with the goal to chill.
I tried to think of things that make me happy, things I love, things on my bucket list. And then of people. And suddenly this little story formed: If I could do what and be where ever I wanted right at this moment I would go on a long, long hike in the Bernese Alps, then eat pizza with my Mom at our favorite Italian place, and surprise her with a Carac.
Boom. Here it was. A Carac. I had not thought of one in years, maybe not in a decade. Yet it is a cherished and very special childhood memory of mine.
When ever Mom took me to town, usually on a Wednesday afternoon when all Swiss children were off of school, we always took the time to visit a Tea Room - a café with adjacent pastry shop - and treat ourselves to something special. While I switched between Chäs-Chüechli (savory cheese tartlet), Mütschli & Branchli (a crusty roll & a chocolate bar) or Canapés (slices of a fluffy milk bread sliced in exact squares, buttered and then neatly decorated with charcuterie, tuna, egg, asparagus, etc.) my Mama would go for the Carac. Each time, always, with no exception.
There's more mystery than knowledge about this intriguingly green and chocolaty, disc shaped little pastry. Apparently it is a creation born in the western, French, part of Switzerland and dates back to at least the beginning of the last century. The name is said to refer to an especially high quality chocolate named caraque, produced around the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.
What I do know for certain is that my Mama really, really enjoys a Carac. So I decided to make my very first own batch in her honor, and to surprise her - if not, unfortunately, at this very moment so at least on Mother's Day.
So this coming Sunday morning my Dad will go to Progin, the finest pâtisserie of of the small town my parents live, buy two Carac and bring them home to Mama from me. And then he will turn on his laptop (wich usually is turned off) and show her this post.
Because even if I share my thoughts and this recipe with all the readers and lovers of fine pastries and of good food in general out there: This one is for you, my beloved Mama! Much chocolate to you, and much love! (I am not sure if this now makes me a sweet person?)
Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and add. Crack the egg into the mix.
Assemble the dough briskly and quickly, not overworking it. Roll it into a ball, wrap with plastic foil and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
In the meantime grease 12 small tartlet or muffin molds.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each out about 1/8 inch thin. Put them in the molds and cover with parchment paper. Fill the molds with dried beans or chickpeas. Bake for 10 minutes or until they have turned golden. Remove the beans and parchment paper, take the crusts out of the mold and let them cool.
Break the chocolate into pieces and put it into a heavy sauce pan. Add the cream. Over medium heat, melt the mix into a ganache, stirring constantly.
Fill each crust with ganache, saving a tiny bit to decorate the finished pastry.
Let the filled crusts cool in the fridge for one hour.
With a whisk mix the confectioners sugar and the water. Add a few drops of green food coloring, add more if you want a darker shade.
Divide the frosting between the pastries.
Let the frosting dry at room temperature, at least one hour.
Put the leftover ganache into a little ziploc bag, cut off one tiny corner and pipe a small chocolate dot onto each pastry.