I’m taking half an hour out of my bank holiday Sunday to share something I’m super proud of with you all. I’m even tempted to say that today’s recipe might be the best thing to ever come out of my kitchen. Because, whilst I love all the things that make it to this blog, I absolutely adore my new Mars Bar Tart. It’s my baby.
We’ve got to clear one thing up first. In the UK, a ‘Mars’ bar is a chocolate covered nougat and caramel bar of joy. It’s similar to what Americans call a ‘Milky Way’, I think. To make matters worse, in the UK a ‘Milky Way’ is a whole other type of chocolate bar. It’s not quite as good though.
We need to get some sort of transatlantic candy bar treaty, because all this is getting pretty damn confusing.
Anyway, today’s Mars Bar tart is based on the British Mars, which is one of my absolute favourite sweet treats. I pretty much have at least a Mars bar a week. Because a Mars a day helps you work rest and play, right? And so I wanted to try and turn that little chocolate bar into a whole dessert, so that not only can I have one for my mid-morning snack, I can also have a slice for my dessert in the evening too.
This tart, much like a Mars bar, has both caramel and nougat running through the middle, as well as a generous coating of milk chocolate. But unlike its namesake, this tart also has an Oreo crumb case – because you can’t really have a tart without a case now, can you. And I’ve got easy and quick methods to make all four of these parts, so you’re not going to have any trouble putting this together yourselves.
First up, the Oreo crumb case. This is easy, and you’ve probably made one before. Just whizz up some Oreo cookies in a food processor (or place them in a plastic bag and hit repeatedly with a rolling pin) and mix with melted butter. Press the mixture into a tart tin and you’re done. There’s no need to bake, just pop in the freezer whilst you make the nougat, and it will be great.
Next, we’ve got the nougat centre. This was probably the most daunting bit when I was designing the recipe, but actually turned out to be the easiest. Yes, you could make your own nougat from scratch, but that involves candy thermometers and hard work. Instead, you’re just going to use some Marshmallow Fluff.
Yeah, Marshmallow Fluff. Surprisingly, if you mix a tub of Marshmallow Fluff with some melted milk chocolate, and add a tablespoon of malt powder (think Horlicks or Ovaltine), then you manage to make something that tastes *almost* like the nougat in a Mars. It’s not perfection, but it’s damn good. And there’s no messing around.
The next layer is the all important caramel. I’m going to be honest with you and say that I did try and make caramel the ‘proper’ way, but I always fail. I can make caramel sauce no probs (see my Caramel Peach Pavlova for proof!) but as soon as I try and cook it down to the thicker, harder caramel that’s needed for a recipe like this, it all goes to hell. Burnt caramel anyone?
Instead, I went back to my old faithful recipe for Chocolate Millionaires Shortbread and nicked the cheats caramel straight from there. Thanks 2016 me! This easy caramel is so much less stressful to make, as you don’t need a candy thermometer, or any caramel experience what-so-ever. Just pour the ingredients into a pan, heat, stir constantly, and job done. I’m going to be adding some salt to the caramel in my recipe, but feel free to leave this out if you don’t like a bit of salty with your sweet.
And then finally, we need to top off the Mars bar tart with a generous helping of milk chocolate ganache. If you’ve made ganache before, then you’ll be aware of how temperamental it can be, but I’ve got a trick to help you out if you run into trouble. If the worst does happen, and your ganache splits, then heat up a little bit more cream to almost boiling, and add it to the ganache. Give it a mix through, and usually this will be enough to bring it all back together. Almost like magic.
Don’t beat your ganache too hard, or you’re going to end up with some pesky air bubbles (like I have). Ahh, nothing can ever be perfect. And like my Mum always says, if you make something look too good, then people will think you bought it.
Oh, and just because I used a rectangular tart tin, it doesn’t mean you have to. This will work just as well in a 9 inch circular tin – just make sure whatever you use has a loose bottom to help with getting the tart out in one piece when you want to serve it.
- 300g (10.5 oz) Oreo cookies (not double stuff)
- 75g (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 175g (6.2 oz) milk chocolate (semi-sweet)
- 1 tablespoon malt powder (Horlicks or Ovaltine)
- 170g (2 cups) Marshmallow Fluff
- 165g (¾ cup) unsalted butter
- 75g (1/3 cup) light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons golden syrup or corn syrup
- 250g (¾ cup + 1 tablespoon) condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 340g (12 oz) milk chocolate (semi-sweet)
- 240ml (1 cup) double or heavy cream
- 60g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 Mars bars (US Milky Way bars) to decorate - optional
- Place the Oreo cookies into a food processor and blend into fine crumbs. Alternatively, place the cookies in a sturdy plastic bag and hit repeatedly with a rolling pin until completely broken up into crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a bowl and add the melted butter. Stir together well, and then press into a round (9inch) or a rectangular (14 x 5 inch) tart tin. Make sure that the bottom of the tin is completely covered, as well as all the sides. Press down on the crumbs with the back of a spoon (or your hand) to compact them together. Place the tin in the freezer whilst you make the rest of the tart.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring well between each, until the chocolate has completely melted. Leave for a few minutes to cool slightly, and then stir in the malt powder.
- Spoon the Marshmallow Fluff into the bowl with the melted chocolate, and stir together. This will be a little tricky, as the mixture is pretty sticky, but do your best. It is okay if there is a slight marbling once you're done.
- Remove the tart tin from the freezer and spoon the nougat mixture into the bottom. This is easiest if you spoon blobs of the mixture all over the bottom of the tin, and then gently spread them out using the back of a spoon or your hands. Be careful not to damage the Oreo case when doing this. You are aiming for a nice even layer of nougat over the entire base of the tart. Place the tart tin in the fridge whilst you make the caramel.
- Place the butter, sugar, syrup, condensed milk, and salt into a large saucepan, and heat on medium until the butter and sugar have melted, stirring constantly. Keep stirring whilst the caramel mixture comes to a boil. The caramel will need to boil for 2-3 minutes, until it reaches a thickened and gloopy consistency, and has changed colour to a light golden brown. Do not boil for longer than 4 minutes, or the caramel will be too hard. Make sure to stir throughout the whole process, or the caramel may burn.
- Once the caramel is thick enough, remove from the heat. Place the saucepan in a sink of cold water to cool it down and stop the caramel cooking further. Leave to cool for 5 minutes. Once cool enough to touch, spoon onto the top of the nougat layer and spread out. You may not need all the caramel, so make sure there is room left in your tart case for the chocolate ganache on top. Spread the caramel out right to the edges of the tart, and level the top out as much as possible. Pop back in the fridge whilst you make the ganache.
- Break the chocolate up into small chunks and place in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave until almost melted, stirring every 20 seconds or so to avoid burning. Set aside.
- Pour the cream into a small saucepan and heat on low, stirring occasionally, until the very first bubbles start to appear. Immediately pour the cream on top of the partially melted chocolate, and leave for a minute or two.
- Gently stir the chocolate and cream together. Do not be too vigorous with this, or you will risk the ganache separating. If this does happen, and the ganache doesn't turn smooth but instead looks oily and split, then quickly warm up a little more cream and add to the bowl. Gently stir and it should then come back together.
- Once the ganache is smooth, add small chunks of room temperature butter and stir together until the butter has melted completely. If necessary you can put in the microwave for 20 seconds or so to help this process along.
- Pour the ganache on top of the caramel layer, and smooth out with the back of a spoon until it has reached the edges of the tart. Place back in the fridge to set for a couple of hours, or overnight. When ready to serve, you can top with slices of Mars bar if wanted.
- The tart should stay fresh for 3-4 days if stored in the fridge.