When I think of tarts, bundles of fruit and delicious custardy pastry creams instantly flood my mind. I feel like that’s what these little spectacles of elegancy and class are characterized by. Waves of colors, shapes, textures are usually what tarts consist of. I picture them in long symmetric rows, one after the other as if they are never-ending. I also feel like I should be eating cheese, drinking Rose wine, sitting underneath the Eiffel Tower and saying things like “oh mon dieu!” But what I really can’t get out of my mind is the fruit aspect. For some reason, they were previously tied to containing only fresh ingredients in my head. As usual, I decided to take this the opposite direction.
Tarts are one of my favorite things to make. People love them. “Oh wow, how fancy!”….I mean, they are pretty fancy, but they are also not that hard to make. So on my quest to continue my adoration for chocolate + salted caramel, I decided to look for something that could take it to the next level while refining it.
I found my match. And although it’s atypical, being pretty monotone and with no fruit in sight, I found a tart that had a chocolate crust, with a layer of homemade salted caramel, with chocolate ganache on top. The caramel is heavenly, creamy, and salty, the ganache is bittersweet, and the crust exhibits the perfect crumbliness. I know, it’s too much. But that’s what’s fun about it. And it’s also very pleasurable to eat an everyday, well-loved flavor combination in a way that’s off the beaten path. Which is pretty much how I like to roll, preferably with a slice of this and a spoon in hand.
Chocolate caramel tart
Adapted from Saveur
Note: when making all caramels, it really helps to have a candy thermometer. It helps in preventing disastrous caramel.
This tart is also very…oozy, which is never a bad thing. Just make sure you keep it chilled until you’re ready to serve it.
For the chocolate crust
1 1⁄2 cups flour
1⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably dutch process)
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks, preferably at room temperature
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the caramel layer
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon crème fraîche (if you don’t have, use sour cream or an additional tablespoon of heavy cream)
For the chocolate ganache
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Salt, preferably sea salt, to sprinkle on top
Make the chocolate tart crust
Set oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until mixture is pale and fluffy; mix in yolks and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients. Transfer dough to a 9″ fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press dough evenly into bottom and sides of pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.
Make the caramel
In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 6 tbsp. water and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 340°. Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, cream, and crème fraîche (the mixture will bubble up) until smooth. Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate until firm, 4–5 hours.
Make the ganache
Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat (don’t boil it over high heat because cream scortches easily). Meanwhile, place chocolate into a medium bowl. As soon as the cream begins to boil, pour it over the chocolate; let sit for 1 minute, then stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour ganache evenly over tart and refrigerate until set, 4–5 hours. Sprinkle tart with sea salt, slice, and serve chilled.