A little over a mile from my house in Atlanta is a bakery that has as much style as it does substance. The Little Tart, is owned and operated by master baker, Sarah O'Brien, who believes in making pastry the right way. As Sarah explained, "We use good, local ingredients and lots of care."
At 10 years old, Sarah received a rolling pin from her grandmother, who then taught her how to make apple pie using fresh apples from the orchard up the street. She's been hooked on baking every since.
After I spent a morning in the backroom of Little Tart, it became quickly apparent that baking is serious business. Their workspace was incredibly clean and organized, with Sarah and her two employees working studiously to craft crusts and doughs that taste as good as they look.
When I first arrived, Sarah was finishing off her morning batch of fresh croissants. (out of the oven each morning at 8:15am) When I asked Sarah what made them so tasty, she replied, "My croissants are the product of many frustrated attempts at perfection. I'm still perfecting my croissant recipe."
She added, "They are uniquely mine because I made them for myself every morning for months and decided they weren't quite there. Once they got good enough for me, I thought they were finally good enough for my customers. I eat one every morning."
You'll find a bevy of delectable goodies at The Little Tart with Sarah's best sellers including her quiche, tarts, whole wheat chocolate chip cookies and seasonal galettes.
The salted caramel nut tarts are quite popular, and for good reason. These delicious pastries are another result of Sarah's unending search for perfection. As Sarah shared, "This means that not every tart looks the exact same."
Sarah was kind enough to share her caramel sauce recipe. The ingredients are; 200g organic cane sugar, 115g water, drop of lemon juice, 1 cup cream, 30g butter, 1 1/2 teaspoon honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Bring the sugar, water and lemon juice to a rolling boil in a saucepan. Cook without stirring until the caramel turns a deep, smoky brown. Swirl at will. When the caramel is nice and dark, slowly add the cream and whisk. Be careful as the cream will bubble and burn. Take the caramel off the heat. Add honey, salt and butter to finish.
Pour the sauce over your favorite toasted nuts in a sweet tart shell. Top with Maldon sea salt and enjoy!
Grab your own salted caramel nut tart or a slew of other treats, including lunch, at The Little Tart in Grant Park. They share their space with Octane Coffee, so if you like your pastry with a cup of good joe, you'll feel quite at home here. In fact, you may not want to leave...
Photos and Content: Sweet Peach