Monday, February 4, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Tart with Sea Salt

This is the first recipe I got from my cooking friend. It's from a book called The Perfect Finish, by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark. I currently have this book from the library, so I'm working my way through several of their recipes.

The instructions are verbatim from the book (pages 137-138). I've added my own notes at the bottom. Also, the ingredients ask for Maldon sea salt, but here I've just written sea salt. Because I don't know what Maldon sea salt is.

Tart shell: They include a recipe, but I've only used one from Smitten Kitchen.

Filling ingredients: 

Caramel layer: 

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
Pinch of sea salt

Ganache filling: 

12 oz bittersweet chocolate (preferably 60 to 66 cacao percent), coarsely chopped
Small pinch of sea salt
2 cups heavy cream



1. In a small saucepan, bring the 1/2 cup cream to a boil, then turn off the heat.

2. In a heavy saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar with 5 tableespoons water and cook, stirring, over high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring this caramel mixture to a boil and let cook, without stirring, for about 4 minutes, until it reaches a dark amber color (at about 374 degrees F) and begins to smoke. Don't be afraid, the taste is worth it. Swirl the pan if the sugar is browning unevenly.

3. Take the pan off the heat and slowly whisk the hot cream into the caramel, standing back as you pour since it will sputter. Stir until smooth. Add the salt. Put the pan over low heat if the caramel is not pourable, and warm it, swirling, until it can be poured.

4. Swirling the pan, pour the caramel into the tart shell, evenly covering the bottom. Let cool. It will become matte, rather than glossy, and will feel rubbery and no longer sticky. Refrigerate until ready to pour in the ganache.


1. Place the chocolate and salt in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a boil.

2. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let sit for 3 minutes, then whisk, beginning in the center and slowly working outward until the chocolate has been smoothly melted into the cream. Set aside.


Scrape the ganache into the tart shell and give the pan a light rap on the counter to level the surface and remove any air bubbles. Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours. Sprinkle with the sea salt.

My notes: 

I love making this tart. It's not very complicated and doesn't take a ton of time, but it looks fancy and tastes amazing. I like to keep the topping salt separate - not everyone likes it, and it seems better to sprinkle it on right before serving. 

The first time I made it I didn't let the caramel boil for long enough, so it didn't completely set (but it was still good). They're serious when they say to let it smoke (but when I make it, I take it off the heat *immediately* after it starts to smoke, so I don't usually try to do this step when Moo's around). 

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