Sunday Dinner

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Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart

Soccer season is over, but basketball season is just beginning.  The first game is today, so I needed a Sunday dinner that could be made in advance.  The good thing is the Sugo we are having has that "next day better" goodness.  The torta and vinaigrette were also made yesterday and the bread baked fresh this morning.  Since the tart was also made and I know how good it is, it is the recipe that I am sharing today.

This tart has the look of a winner.  The sheen of the chocolate ganache catches the eye and hints at the luxurious layer of caramel lurking below.  These two flavors are held in a crust infused with Dutch process cocoa.  That's three levels of dessert enjoyment on one fork.  Sprinkle some sea salt flakes on top to intensify the chocolate and caramel.  

Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart
serves 8-10

For the Tart Dough
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
9 Tablespoons (4 1/2-ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1 extra large egg

For the Caramel
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 Tablespoons water
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
6 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 Tablespoon crème fraîche

For the Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Sea salt flakes

For the Tart Dough
In the bowl of a food processor add the flour, sugar, espresso powder and salt.  Pulse until combined.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour.   Process in short bursts until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the egg and process in long pulses, about 5-7 seconds until the dough has started to clump.  Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough onto the surface.  Using the plastic wrap and the back of your hands, gently press the dough into a disk.  Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375º F.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  If refrigerated overnight, let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle, flouring the dough and surface as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.  Roll up the dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it over an 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Fit the dough into the edge of the pan.  Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough (let the kids practice their baking skills with the scraps).  Place the tart onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Line the tart pan with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until cooked through.  Place on a rack to cool completely.  Once cool, return the tart shell to the baking sheet.

For the Caramel
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water.  Cook, without stirring, until it reaches 350º F on a candy thermometer or until amber in color.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, cream, and crème fraîche (the mixture will bubble vigorously) until smooth.  Return the caramel to a low heat and stir until any hard crystals melt.  Pour the caramel into the cooled tart shell and cool slightly; refrigerate until firm, about 4-5 hours.

For the Ganache
In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a boil.  Put chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and pour hot cream over; let sit 1 minute, then stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth.  Pour ganache evenly over caramel and refrigerate until set, about 4-5 hours.  Allow tart to set at room temperature for 15-20 minutes (depending on how warm your kitchen is) before serving.  Sprinkle the tart with sea salt, slice, and serve chilled.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Saveur, April 2009


  1. This looks absolutely amazing! I am going to make this this week - thanks so much for posting it! Brendakcus at yahoo dot com

  2. Oh my, oh my! This could certainly be the demise of the girlish figure - but what a way to go! Looks unbelievably delicious!

  3. Simply beautful and mouth watering. I must make this.

  4. oh my goodness...i'm all about salt and caramel and chocolate...especially since i went to the chocolate show recently. this looks fabulous!

  5. My supermarket does not have creme fraiche. Do you know of a good substitute for this recipe, or would it be OK to leave it out?

  6. Anon-
    I would use another tablespoon of heavy cream in lieu of the crème fraîche.


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