On Monday I finished my mock exams. Exams which caused my left hand (I'm a leftie and proud) to feel like it was going to fall off after all the writing its done. Exams that caused revision which did its best to ruin the Christmas holiday. Exams that made me miss the January sales. Exams that have caused a persistent aching back after being hunched over hours of exam papers. Exams that kept me out of the kitchen. Exams that buried my room under revision lists and guides and files and notes. Everybody knows there's only one way to celebrate the end of exams. Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart. Ok, maybe that was just me. But it’s a pretty good way to go! The recipe came from one of my top Christmas presents this year – a copy of Rachel Allen’s latest book, Entertaining at Home. I love Rachel Allen and our house has all her books, but this one was extra special because it was signed! I’m yet to meet the lady herself and the book was won from an auction, but its still exciting. I knew that I wanted to try something special to celebrate exams – something more complicated and different to what I normally make. This tart certainly went there for me! I practised pastry making, caramel making, and tried to improve my resistance around large bowls of melted chocolate. I’d never made caramel before and was extremely nervous but, although it wasn’t completely perfect, it turned out tasty and not at all burnt! The pastry provides the necessary crunch after all the soft sweetness of the tart fillings. The caramel is the strong sweet kick, with just a hint of salt at the end. The chocolate layer is thick and soft, like a mousse or truffle, but the use of dark chocolate prevents everything becoming too sickly. Perfect. As you may be able to see from the above picture, I had a slight issue with my caramel layer. Although it tasted divine, my fear of burning it meant I removed it from the heat too early and it was not thick enough (the consistency should be almost like dulce de leche). This meant when the chocolate was poured on top, the caramel in the centre was pushed from underneath and spilled out. In the end this wasn’t too bad as it caramelised the pastry at the top which was delicious, but it’s something to bear in mind. Overall, I was more than pleased with this tart. It was my first baking challenge of 2011, and it was utterly irresistible! Having a slice in my lunchbox every day makes me feel like I’m eating at a fancy restaurant, and makes those exams seem a hundred years ago… You can find the recipe here – enjoy!