Pie purists may argue that this is a tart, the defining element being all pies must have lids, but we'll make an exception for this crunchy, nutty caramel topping. Note: You will need a candy thermometer for the caramel.
1 portion basic sweet pastry (recipe here), rolled to 2mm thick
100g dark chocolate (50-70 per cent cocoa)
Espresso pecan and buckwheat caramel
2 cups castor sugar
½ cup cream
1 cup puffed buckwheat
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
melted dark chocolate, extra, to drizzle (optional)
Grease and line a pie tin. Gently place the rolled pastry over the top and push into the tin, trimming the sides. Rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Line the pastry with baking paper and fill the tart with pastry weights or uncooked rice. Blind bake the pastry case in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges start to golden. Remove the pastry weights or rice and bake for another 10 minutes until the pastry takes on a tanned colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
To make the ganache, break the chocolate into pieces into a stainless steel bowl. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat – this needs to happen quickly to prevent the cream from evaporating and reducing in volume. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the chocolate has completely melted. Pour the chocolate mixture into the baked tart shell – it should come up about half way. Pop the tart in the fridge for 30 minutes and remove it when you start to make the caramel.
To make the caramel, place the sugar and half a cup of water in a medium saucepan over low heat and stir with a spoon. Should sugar crystals start to form on the sides, brush them away with a wet pastry brush. When the sugar is dissolved, increase heat to high, bring to the boil and cook without stirring, until the mixture is golden and reaches 160C on a sugar thermometer (this can take up to 20 minutes).
Remove from heat and carefully add the cream, butter and espresso and stir until well combined. Stir through the puffed buckwheat and chopped pecans and pour the caramel mixture over the top of the chocolate ganache layer. Set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature or until almost set. Drizzle over melted chocolate (if using), slice and serve.