Posted by: Catherine | April 16, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Tart



I found this recipe from the restaurant Marlow & Sons, Brooklyn, in a recent issue of Saveur, and thought it would be the perfect ending to my friend Scott’s birthday dinner. Right again! (Just can’t stand myself….) We had Arugula, Pear, Roquefort, and Sugared-Cashews Salad, The Best Coq au Vin, a fantastic BV Georges LaTour from 2004…and ended the evening with this tart. It was t like eating a giant piece of a really good chocolate-covered caramel on—better yet!—a really rich chocolate crust, so you’ve got three gorgeous textures going. You know how you never get enough of those chocolate caramels in the box? Well, this will do ya!

There was one little problem: I have never been able to make caramel successfully, and that goes for the hundred caramel lady apples I tried to make with Emma one holiday season for all of her teachers. We finally had to go to the store, buy the candies courtesy of Kraft and unwrap for hours to get enough for all the little apples. So, this time I tried again…and failed. Then, I tried again…and failed. The third time (that was my limit, and I’d already sent Bruce back to the grocery store for more heavy cream so it was his limit, too), I disregarded the candy thermometer altogether, and simply boiled away until the mixture looked like it was going to explode, but do so as the color of caramel. It actually worked! I am so proud of myself I’m going to submit this to the Cake Collection at

Also, I only had an 11 1/2-inch tart pan, so I halved again the recipe and that worked, too.

If you’re a chocolate and/or caramel person, I promise this won’t disappoint.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 1 T Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 t. kosher salt
10 T unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1/2 cup plus 2 T confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1/2 t. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar
3 T light corn syrup
1/4 t. kosher salt
6 T unsalted butter
6 T heavy cream
1 T creme fraiche

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Gray sea salt for garnish, optional (personally, I don’t like to mix sweet and salty… so I omitted)

Make the crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees. 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-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press dough evenly into the 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 1-quart saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 6 tablespoons water, and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 365 degrees. NOTE: I did this twice to no avail. Then, third try…I just boiled away until the mixture turned a light golden brown; that was the charm. Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, cream and creme fraiche (the mixture will bubble up) until smooth. Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate until firm, 4 to 5 hours.

Make the ganache: Bring cream to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream; let sit for 1 minute, then stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour ganache evenly over tart and refrigerate until set, 4 to 5 hours. Sprinkle tart with sea salt, if desired, slice, and serve chilled.



  1. This makes me want to grab a fork and reach right into the monitor for a bite! The caramel and chocolate is a deadly combination. I’ve had a hard time making caramel before too. It can be finicky and dangerous.

  2. Kyle loves chocolate and caramel, I’ll have to try this for his next birthday! A little nervous about the caramel after my difficulty with fudge. I’m impressed you tried three times, once is my limit.

  3. Oh my how could I resist this sweet indulgence? Looks achingly good!

  4. Full marks for perseverence Catherine! And thanks for being honest about the failures. I wonder how people would own up to that. After requesting caramel this week (is it the ongoing sweet tooth with easter or what) my hubby requested caramel. He was bitterly disappointed because it was golden and looked more like fudge. So, like you I needed to cook the heck out of it. But unlike you, I stopped there. Well done.

  5. What a gorgeous tart, that caramel layer looks especially delicious.

  6. I just started going to Saveurs web site recently and it is so fantastic. Your desert looks amazing!!

    That would be such a great thing to bring to a party!!

    Thanks for sharing that recipe!

  7. Caramel and I have not hit it off. I love to eat it – so maybe it does not want to be consumed? This looks so good and I love the combo of chocolate and caramel. I guess I will have to let caramel test my mettle once again.

  8. I’m not so much a caramel person, luckily, because caramel does kinda scare me. I think I only made one a attempt a few years ago when making upside down cake, and that was it. Your cake looks fantastic.
    Going to post a link to it tomorrow.
    Thanks again, Nurit

  9. Catherine, your tart looks divine, what a lucky chap Scott is! I am quite certain that 50% of being a good cook is persistance – try, try, try again – and when the rewards are so delicious, it’s certainly worth it.

  10. Catherine, what a delicious looking tarte!! This looks divine & I bet it tasted FABULOUS!!!! You have made my midday! Yum!! Pure evil for the hips!

  11. Oh, such a beautiful and decadent tart! It looks perfect!

  12. Caramel is a tempermental. I have burned myself, and redone so many flan recipes it’s not funny. But I did learn instinct is best when making caramel…the thermometer does not work for me either.

    This tart is beautiful.

  13. Yes, this tart is absolutely gorgeous.. Caramel and chocolate, and even the crust sounds perfect. nicely nicely done, its really a wonderful dessert.

  14. WOw, such a beautiful and decadent It looks perfect!

  15. You did it! The tart looks amazing. Congratulations on your first caramel!

  16. this looks great!
    thanks for the comments


  17. hahaha, that’s funny, how you finally GOT the perfect caramel sauce when you ditched the rules and stuck to your instincts! always listen to that baker in ya!

  18. Woah, woah – WOAH. That looks insanely delicious. I’m impressed with the way the caramel turned out, too! Not always easy.

  19. Heck yeah, you should be proud! I’ve never been able to get caramel just right either, so I’d be jumping too if I made this beeeeauty all by meself. Awesome!

  20. I’m glad to hear your caramel making was successful!! I give you credit for trying a third time – I usually get too frustrated after 2 attempts. Looks beautiful!

  21. Saw this cake over at Nurit’s blog and thought it looked AMAZING! That caramel is beautiful!

  22. Caramel + Chocolate = Heaven!! Saveur is my favorite magazine, they have the best recipes!

  23. I’m pretting much a chocolate person but you convinced me to try this tart. Looks so good. Thanks for sharing.

  24. So delicious! I want to have a bite of it!

  25. I need to take slicing lessons from you. I know this sounds odd, but you sliced that perfectly!

  26. This one looks incredible :O
    congratulation, a perfect torte! 🙂

  27. That looks so good! I like that nice and thick layer of caramel.

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