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The Best Sea Salted Chocolate-Caramel Tart


My sister Megs (a.k.a. Queen of the Pies) is making pumpkin and pecan pie for Thanksgiving, so I get to have fun baking up something a little less traditional.

This tart has been bookmarked for ages.  The simplicity of its components drew me in: buttery tart crust, caramel, ganache, sea salt. I love all of those things individually so I could imagine how heavenly they would be all together! 

Caramel is my favorite above chocolate (have I mentioned that before?) and because I'm very particular about it, my own caramel recipe is substituted in this tart. It's firm enough to hold its shape and won't spill out of the tart when cut, but it's soft enough to be ooey-gooey good!




In my eyes, there's no prettier sight than ground pistachios on chocolate ganache. When I'm at the store I always search for the greenest pistachios peeking out of their shells.  A sprinkling around the edge of this tart makes it a little more beautiful, but it's totally optional.

I also use and recommend Grey Celtic Sea Salt for this tart. It's the perfect coarseness for a topping and lovely light grey.

Sea Salted Chocolate-Caramel Tart
Most of this tart recipe has been adapted from The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion, but I've used my own caramel recipe. You'll need to plan ahead so the tart dough can chill, but most of the components are very easy to make. If you don't own a tart pan, a metal 9-inch pie pan will work fine. This recipe is also known as the "Twix Tart".


Yield: One 9-in tart                                                      [click for printable version]

Crust:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sea salt
  1. Cream butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. Add eggs; mix until incorporated and scrape down the bowl.  Add 2 cups flour and salt and mix on low just until incorporated.  If dough is very sticky, add remaining flour.
  3. Remove dough from bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface.  Lay into a 9″ tart pan and trim excess dough with a knife.  Place in freezer until very firm.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Fit a large piece of aluminum foil into the tart pan so that it completely covers the edges.  Place pie weights, dry beans or uncooked rice in the foil covered crust and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the foil with weights.  The tart shell should be blonde.  Shell may be baked for an additional 5-10 minutes for golden color (I did not do this). Let crust cool completely before filling.

 Caramel:
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream at room temperature
¼ tsp. sea salt
  1. Melt the sugar over medium-high heat in a large pot. Whisk the sugar as it melts, and cook until it becomes a deep amber color.
  2. Add the butter and stir it in until melted.
  3. Pour in the heavy cream (the mixture will foam) and whisk until the mixture becomes a smooth sauce. Note: If lumps form, keep stirring over gentle heat until they have melted.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in salt and let cool slightly.
  5. Pour the caramel into the tart shell.  Tilt to cover the bottom evenly.  Let cool in the refrigerator until caramel is firm.

 Chocolate Ganache
12 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate or 1 ½ cups bittersweet chips
1 ½ cups heavy cream
  1. Roughly chop the chocolate and place it in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium-high heat until just boiling.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and gently whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Allow to cool slightly before using.

Very gently pour the ganache over the caramel layer.  The caramel may want to move around a little, so pour a little at a time (using a ¼ cup measure to pour from will help).  Place in refrigerator until firm.
Toppings:  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt before serving.  I also added ground pistachios around the tart's edge and a small piece of gold leaf in the center.


Gluten Free Version:




Gluten-Free Sea Salted Chocolate-Caramel Tart
I have a family member who is gluten intolerant and also cannot consume anything containing casein.  Here is the tart I made for her.  I taste-tested a little piece, and it's very close to the original.  The only difference is the caramel - it is slightly less rich. Some (not all) components of this recipe are vegan, as they do not contain casein.


Gluten free tart crust:                                                              [click for printable version]
Adapted from Elena’s Pantry

2 cups almond meal
½ tsp. fine sea salt
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Pulse flour and salt together in a food processor.  Add coconut oil and egg.  Pulse until the mixture clumps and forms a ball on one side of the bowl.
  3. Press into a 9-inch tart pan.  Cover with foil  and add pie weights, dry beans or uncooked rice to weight the pie during baking. Bake for 20 minutes covered then bake an additional 5-7 minutes uncovered.
  4. Remove and let pie crust cool completely.
Vegan caramel sauce:
You’ll need a can of full-fat coconut milk that has been refrigerated for 4 hours or more.  Do not shake the can before opening.

1 cup sugar
½ cup coconut cream skimmed from the top of the can (save the clear portion of coconut milk for other use)
¼ tsp. salt
  1. Melt the sugar over medium-high heat in a large pot. Whisk the sugar as it melts, and cook until it becomes a deep amber color.
  2. Pour in the coconut cream and whisk until the mixture becomes a smooth sauce. Note: If lumps form, keep stirring over gentle heat until they have melted.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in salt and let cool slightly.
  4. Pour the caramel into the tart shell.  Tilt to cover the bottom evenly.  Let cool in the refrigerator until caramel is firm.
Vegan Ganache: 
3/4 cup lite coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
12 oz. vegan mini chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life brand)
  1. Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan heat coconut cream and oil over medium-high heat very hot but not boiling.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and gently whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly before using.
  4. Very gently pour the ganache over the caramel layer.  The caramel may want to move around a little, so pour a little at a time (using a ¼ cup measure to pour from will help).  Place in refrigerator until firm.
  5. Toppings:  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt before serving.  I also added ground pistachios around the tart's edge and a small piece of gold leaf in the center.




59 comments :

  1. Amazing!! I wonder if it's too late to get this on my table tomorrow!!

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  2. This looks amazingly delicious!

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  3. A fabulous tart! So luscious and delightfully sinful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. Amazing blog!! Beautiful photographs!! Deligious tart!!

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  5. This tart is so lovely. The pistachios around the outside make it so pretty too. Great idea!

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  6. I think the crust looks perfectly in contrast with the filling. I also like a sturdy crust in applications were the gooey-ness needs a friend to lean on. Cracks me up when people share their criticisms "Anonymously."

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  7. OMG - this looks AH-MAY-ZING!!! I've been wanting to do some sort of caramel chocolate dessert, but have been hesitant to take a stab at it. This tart may be just what I needed!

    one question for you, I tend to bake for friends living on another coast, so is this shipable? THX.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. I love the photos, but I too would have doubts about the base. Stunning looking filling though and love the cake stand :))

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  10. Thank you Perrigaux, I will take this into consideration next time I make my crust. xo

    Adriana, I don't think this would ship very well. I'm afraid the ganache and caramel are a little too soft to make the trip. xo

    H

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  11. ooh i hope this makes an appearance in your book! it is on its way to me - my xmas pressie to myself!

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  12. Amazing! As always! Swoon - I love it!

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  13. Well theres everything I love right there on that plate...good lord in heaven, what I would do for a piece of that!

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  14. must try! look fantasticly delicious.:-)

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  15. Christian Rene FriborgNovember 22, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    The green in the seasalt combined with the chocolate make this look SO tasty!

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  16. This looks too good to be true. Great photos and I agree about the green of the nuts on chocolate.

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  17. Hi Heather, everything is fantastic...

    Just one suggestion: Why you don't post the procedure to making the cakes with pictures...sometime helps a lot how you do this delicious recipes!!

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  18. I absolutely love the combination of chocolate and pistachios and the way you've decorated this tart is second to none. Chocolate and caramel are my two favourite things EVER so will definitely be making this :-)

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  19. That looks so delicious.
    I am just a little worried about the coconut oil, can we substitute it with something else.

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  20. heather, thank you so much for including a gf version! can't wait to try this over the holidays.

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  21. Oh my goodness so exciting to see a salted caramal casein free goody! We don't do thanks giving (i'm from the UK) but this will definitely be at boxing day this year!!

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  22. I'm drooling just looking at the pics. They look stunning!

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  23. At what point do you add the salt to the caramel? I can't find it in the recipe.
    Thanks

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  24. Thanks for the heads up! Add it right after you remove it from the heat.

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  25. Amazing looking dessert, I adore the way the caramel and chocolate parts are oozing off the tart, so decadent!

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  26. I've just received your book, and I love it!

    Ciao from Italy! :)

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  27. This looks so delish! I can't wait to make it! I love the pistachio decorative touch!!!

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  28. This looks awesome! I'm not a big chocolate fan, but pretty much everyone else in my family is. I'm thinking I'm going to have to make this. Your caramel looks delicious, too!

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  29. Loved these from the moment I saw them!

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  30. I just attempted the gluten-free version, and is it possible the recipe for the crust has mixed up numbers? There was far too much almond meal. I ended up using 1/4 cup oil and 3 eggs and it still was not a ball, but mostly dry crumbs. I would suggest starting with 1 cup of flour, and adding more if necessary.

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  31. Dear Heather, I have a very pragmatical question: what do you do with all of your deserts :-)?? Do you eat them or sell them? Have you ever written a post about how to make a career of blogging. I have read that you recently left your day job to do this full time and I have nothing but appreciation for that. It is amazing how in today's age it takes but a single post on the world wide web to get noticed and. Congratulations!

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  32. Hi Anonymous that had trouble with the tart crust! Above I link Elena's crust recipe, and made it just as she did,except for the method of cooking. 1/4 cup of oil and 3 eggs sounds like quite a lot for this recipe. It's hard to say what went wrong. I pulsed the mixture at 3 second increments until the dough all collected to one side of the food processor. It took a couple of minutes for it all to come together. So sorry you had trouble!

    Hi Anonymous that asked about the desserts! Gosh, I have to say that most of my family and neighbors are well fed. Sometimes my freezer is overflowing with desserts that we just couldn't consume in a timely manner. It can be difficult to find homes for all those desserts. Right now I'm looking into donating some of my efforts to retirement homes.
    I've never written a post about career blogging, and maybe that will happen after I've been doing it full-time for a little while. It's only after 3 years of blogging that I felt confident enough to leave my day job. What a big scary step that was! I'm only about 3 weeks into blogging full time so I'm slowing figuring out what kind of blogging schedule works now. Thank you for the kind words!

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  33. The pies look absolutely lovely. The only thing is, I am sad to say but the gluten free version can't be called vegan, because of the egg in the tart crust.

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  34. Right Emma, some components (as noted) are vegan, but it is not entirely vegan.

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  35. this looks wonderful - just 1 question = did you use a flan tin that had a removable base or not? just worried about getting it out at the end :) from a NZealander!

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  36. Hi there! I used a tart pan (sometimes called a quiche pan here in the US) with a removable bottom. Like this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Kaiser-Bakeware-Tinplate-11-Inch-Removable/dp/B0000CFLJH/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1353882641&sr=8-6&keywords=round+tart+pan

    Thanks for asking! xo

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  37. thanks heaps - will be trying this out in the next few days - :)

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  38. Gorgeous! Plus, I have a huge crush on that cake stand! I've never seen anything like it.

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  39. I also love caramel over chocolate and I am absolutely drooling over this tart

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  40. Wow, that just looks so rich and fantastic, I just had to wipe some drool off the side of my mouth : )

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  41. That tart is amazing. I seriously wish I had that in front of right now. Looks and sounds so delish.

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  42. WOW! the gluten-free Sea Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart is amazing.

    Thank you (-:

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  43. This tart look so yummy. I love the different hues of brown with the bright pop of green from the pistachios

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  44. I am thinking of making this for christmas - will it keep well in the fridge overnight if I make it on Christmas Eve?

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  45. Yes, it definitely keeps well refrigerated overnight.

    xo

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  46. Looks lovely!!

    How long can this tart be made in advance? Is it freezable? Or am I jus better off keeping it in the fridge?

    :)

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  47. Can I make this with a gluten free oat and almond crust. Also could I use almond milk and earth balance began butter to make the caramel or coconut creamer

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  48. Thank you for the most awesome recipe.
    It took me 5 tries to make caramel, but now I have a very pretty dessert for tomorrow. Every recipe I've tried here are always winners!

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  49. I made this tonight and it turned out beautifully! I can't wait to see how it tastes when I bring it to my book club tomorrow. The only downside, I thought, was that it took quite a long time to make. It would have been great to see baking time on the recipe. Thanks!

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  50. Definitely one of my faves, to look at at least, sine I'm choosing one for the giveaway... I'll try making it when I get home from Morocco this summer!

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  51. What would happen to the chocolate layer once the tart is taken out of the fridge where it set?
    Won't the chocolate start sweating at room temperature?
    Absolutely delicious :)

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  52. Hi Mary!

    The chocolate ganache didn't sweat when taken from the refrigerator. But it does soften at room temperature.

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  53. Hi Heather,

    This recipe (and the accompanying photo) look so amazing I had it saved for a few months before I was able to make it. I'm making it now for Christmas. The only sad thing is that my pie crust shrank, despite using the foil and rice as pie weights and freezing the dough in the pan for over an hour. I did have quite a bit excess dough so I'm wondering if I rolled it too thin? Otherwise, do you know what might cause the shrinkage? I'm hoping I'll be able to fit the ganache on top!

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