Chocolate Caramel Tartlettes with Sea Salt - SHF#9

17 June 2005

It’s that time again, and yet another great theme chosen by Jarrett of Life in FlowAKA the host of Food Porn Watch – is tantalizing titillating tempting tarts! I thought about having spring/summer fruits in it, but I’ve already done a fruity tart for a previous IMBB, so decided to go with my all-time favourite – chocolate.

This is the first recipe I’ve tried from The Last Course by Claudia Fleming – I had wanted this book for quite a while and thankfully Clement convinced me! There are so many things I’d love to try in this book, each recipe has a little twist and her appreciation of the ingredients is so inspiring.

I’ve made chocolate souffle with salted caramel sauce a while ago (with somebody else’s recipe) – I knew I wasn’t a big fan of souffle but I love the combination of salted caramel and chocolate so it had to be done. It turned out really nice with the bitter souffle and sweet caramel sauce, but I still didn’t get over my aversion to warm pudding type desserts…

Before I made the chocolate dough for this tart I suspected normal vanilla dough might work better with this filling, but I was wrong! The recipe suggests adding corn syrup to the caramel filling – I used a smaller quantity of golden syrup instead as I can’t seem to find corn syrup around here. I quite liked the taste of the caramel and adding the creme fraiche was a really nice extra touch.

After filling the shells with the gooey caramel, pour the chocolate ganache over, and of course, the sea salt. In the recipe, she suggests using fleur de sel but I used Maldon sea salt this time. As soon as you cut into it, the filling oozes out and you’ll be in caramel heaven!

Although I must say that this didn’t surprise me taste-wise, I think the balance between the caramel and chocolate ganache works well. I used 8cm tart rings, but smaller shells might work better because the filling is seriously rich and sweet. This is strictly for those of us with a very sweet tooth!

Yield: 2 dozen tartlettes

Chocolate tart dough

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder

Caramel filling

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons creme fraiche

Chocolate ganache glaze

1/2 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 ounces extra-bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Pinch of fine sea salt, such as fleur de sel, optional

To prepare the tart dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and beat on low speed until just combined. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a disk. Wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour, or up to 3 days.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the tart dough to an 18×12-inch rectangle, 3/16 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cutter, cut out 24 rounds of dough and press them into mini muffin tins or 2-inch tart pans, trimming away any excess dough; prick the dough all over with a fork. Chill the tart shells for 20 minutes.

Line the tart shells with foil and fill with dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the pastry looks dry and set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (The tart shells can be made 8 hours ahead).

To prepare the filling, place 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan. Add the sugar and corn syrup and cook the mixture over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until you have a dark amber caramel, about 10 minutes. Carefully whisk in the butter, cream and creme fraiche (the mixture will hiss and bubble up, so stand back), whisking until smooth (The caramel can be made up to 5 days ahead and refrigerated). Divide the caramel among the tart shells while still warm (or reheat the caramel until it is pourable) and let sit until the caramel is set, at least 45 minutes.

To make the ganache glaze, in a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Place the chocolate in a bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Pour some of the glaze over each of the tarts while still warm. Let the glaze set at room temperature for at least before serving. Sprinkle with salt, if desired, just before serving.

Food - Sweet        36 comments    Permalink

  • if you like the chocolate and caramel combo, i highly recommend the chocolate caramel tart in emily luchetti’s most recent book. it consists of milk and bittersweet chocolate chunks suspended in a caramel custard. i like it better than claudia’s tart.

    Posted by dexygus | 17 June 2005 #
  • Pretty picture Keiki - as always! Sounds like a yummy combo, too!

    Posted by | 17 June 2005 #
  • Ugh, that was me! Sorry!

    Posted by Zarah Maria | 17 June 2005 #
  • Keiko, chocolate and salted caramel is one of my favorite combinations in the world! I am sitting at my desk just trying to mop up the drool... I think I have to buy Claudia’s book too. So tempting, so beautiful!

    Posted by melissa | 17 June 2005 #
  • It looks tempting, but your description convinced me that this one might be sweeter than I care for. I think I’ll just content myself (quite happily) with gazing at your seductive photograph!

    Posted by Rachel | 17 June 2005 #
  • I *love* the sight of the flakes of salt resting on top of the chocolate, by the way.

    Posted by Rachel | 17 June 2005 #
  • The crust looks perfect, to say nothing about the whole dish looking fabulous, Keiko. I love a bit of sea salt on desserts, too.

    Posted by Nic | 17 June 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko!
    Another beautiful post!
    I keep wondering when some glossy magazine is going to snap you up as food photog/writer!
    I keep a selection of salts at the ready. Mauldon is one that I usually go for, I love the feel of it, plus it is great on Focaccia!

    Posted by Melissa | 17 June 2005 #
  • Now this is the tart to end all chocolate cravings, I would imagine. It looks and sounds absolutely devine.

    Thank you so much for joining in on another edition of SHF - and for sharing this tart with us.

    Posted by Jennifer | 17 June 2005 #
  • Keiko
    I don’t like the idea of using Corn Syrup (which is supposed to stop crystallization) in my caramel.
    So when I made my Chevre Cheesecake Pots with Caramel and Fleur de Sel for a previous SHF, I turned to these Waitrose instructions for a purer, more natural caramel which you might like to check out. It worked really well!

    Posted by sam | 17 June 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko~ Love it love it love it! As always, you did fabulous with the photo.. Even though I just had a big lunch, now I’ve got an appetite for one of your delicious looking tartelettes!

    Jenny and I have been eyeing this recipe for a while too, ever since we bought the book a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, we don’t own tart rings of appropriate size... where did you buy yours?

    Oh and PS.. Sweet & Savory survived the move.. please update your link!

    Posted by Alan | 17 June 2005 #
  • Absolutely gorgeous. I have stocked up on chocolate, have some condensed milk(will make soft caramel), should be superb for the weekend!

    Posted by Dreska | 18 June 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko- I heard that Claudia Fleming was also a student of Pierre Herme before and I guess that is why the type of dessert they make is somewhat similar. The combination of salted caramel and chocolate was also done by Pierre Herme before and other unique combinations in the book of Claudia are similar to those of Pierre Herme. By the way, the tart look so nice and I think it is really delicious. Oh and nice picture too. thanks

    Posted by Cathy | 18 June 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    As usual, your photo is excellent. Makes me want to reach out and take a bite. =) I love the combination of chocolate and caramel. This is on my list of must try desserts. Thanks for the suggestion on the serving size. Since this is really sweet, I might consider smaller tartlets.

    Posted by Reid | 18 June 2005 #
  • oh my, looks absolutely delicious. chocolate and caramel make me weak in the knees.

    Posted by stef | 18 June 2005 #
  • Keiko, how beautiful. This inspires a major craving. It looks very much like the dark chocolate tart in a chocolate crust made by Maury Rubin at the City Bakery, although his has no caramel, so is not as sweet. I sometimes travel 90 blocks downtown to get one of those...

    Posted by Julie | 20 June 2005 #
  • Dear Keiko

    Corn syrup is also known as glucose (although it’s not pure glucose, just mainly glucose).Table sugar (sucrose) consists of glucose and fructose ’joined’ together. The addition of glucose in your caramel prevents crystals from developing (chemistry wise, it acts as an ’impurity’), thus making that smooth caramel easier to achieve.

    I love your photos and your inspiring culinary creations.

    Posted by Sascha | 20 June 2005 #
  • I lurrrrrv chocolate things, especially the warm and oozing type. I’m going to try this with my mini tart pans. Thanks Keiko!

    Posted by Lynn | 20 June 2005 #
  • hi keiko, that looks phenomenal - even lovelier than the picture in claudia fleming’s gorgeous book! had recently come across a nancy silverton recipe for chocolate caramel sandwich cookies in her "sandwich book", which she says is inspired by the gramercy tavern dessert - essentially a "mini me" version of the fabulous tartlette you made! again, what a beautiful picture...cheers,

    Posted by Joycelyn | 20 June 2005 #
  • omy - i just can’t stop coming back to your blog to look at all the gorgeous pictures...your photography is breathtaking! and i love the use of the sel on your tarts. so perfect!

    Posted by sarah | 20 June 2005 #
  • Hi Dexygus - thank you for your note, I actually bought Emily’s book recently and was contemplating making it... After hearing what you said, I must try soon!

    Hi Zarah - thank you!

    Hi Melissa - thanks, I hope you like it too!

    Hi Rachel - I guess how sweet it is is subjective, but for me, it would be just right served in small shells.

    Hi Nic - thank you, I agree that a sprinkle of salt on desserts adds something!

    Hi Melissa - I’ve been using Maldon for ages but it has never disappointed me!

    Hi Jennifer - I’m sure I’d be making fewer desserts if there wasn’t SHF, so I’d like to thank you for creating such a great event!

    Hi Sam - thanks for your tip, that’s the way I normally do it but I must say I quite like golden syrup... I know it’s not good for you, but I can’t help it. BTW, I often end up using the recipes on Waitrose site, they are quite good, aren’t they?

    Hi Alan & Jenny - thank you, the rings I used weren’t just for tarts I think. I found them at my local kitchen shop, so I’m sure you can find them in different sizes. I’ll update the address of your gorgeous site soon, thanks for letting me know.

    Hi Dreska - have a super chocolaty caramely weekend!

    Hi Cathy - I didn’t know she has worked for him. It definitely rings a bell when you see some of her desserts - thank you for your useful info as always!

    Hi Reid - thank you for your kind note as always. I actually made this with small square moulds (about 4-5cm) too and it worked perfectly.

    Hi Stef - thanks, they make me weak in the knees too...

    Hi Julie - thank you for your note, that’s another place I must go next time I visit NYC...

    Hi Sascha - thank you for letting me know about corn syrup, it’s very useful. I’m sure cooking with better knowledge helps to get better results,
    I’ll be making better caramel next time :)

    Hi Lynn - go for the ooze!

    Hi Joycelyn - thank you for your kind words as always. Such compliment from you keeps me going, your creations and photos are absolutely gorgeous. I haven’t got any Nancy Silverton books and am thinking of getting one, which one is your favourite?

    Posted by keiko | 21 June 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko...this sounds (and looks, natch) amazing. The combination of flavours sounds glorious, too- just right for my super-sweet tooth!

    Posted by Moira | 21 June 2005 #
  • Hi Sarah - thank you for your note, your tart looked so delicious and refreshing!

    Posted by keiko | 21 June 2005 #
  • Hi Moira - thank you, I’m glad you have a super-sweet tooth too :)

    Posted by keiko | 21 June 2005 #
  • i fell in love with your tart the first time i saw it. i’m quite the chocolate fanatic, so you should understand why! but man, not only does the food you come up with look darn good, the quality of the pictures is breathtaking! seriously, they look as if they could be in a recipe book. i think you should write one of your own. you’re a brilliant cook! love your site, i’ll def. be back to oogle at your food photos. lovely...

    Posted by Cheryl | 21 June 2005 #
  • hi keiko
    ohh this looks yum and as usual, very very beautifully presented! I had wanted to make this sorta tart with lotsa chocolate and caramel for a long time now :) Definitely gonna try this out. Thanks!

    Posted by pinkcocoa | 21 June 2005 #
  • Hiya, as usual, gorgeous. And like all your other fans, I’m a huge fan of a small sprinkle of good salt on caramel. My wife has actually been fanatically collecting salts. My favorite surprisingly is not her treasured fleur du sel but an Australian Murray River salt flakes. Here’s a description I pilfered off a website:

    "As environmentally beneficial as it is flavorful and colorful, these apricot-colored gourmet salt flakes are more delicate than even fleur de sel, considered “the satin of salts.” Because salinity affecting Australia’s vital water supply and agricultural land is the country’s worst environmental problem, your support of the producers of this salt stimulates removal of salt from sensitive areas. The salt is produced by feeding saline water from the Murray Darling Basin into crystallizer ponds, where it is naturally evaporated at a very high rate in N.W. Victoria’s arid climate."

    Posted by Aun | 21 June 2005 #
  • hi keiko, i like nancy silverton’s "pastries from the la brea bakery", which features many refreshingly original recipes, as well as her "sandwich book", which has loads of delicious ideas for great sandwiches and snacks, alongside some cute "sandwich"-themed desserts. "breads from the la brea bakery" is one book i keep looking at but have never actually baked a loaf from - the bulk of the recipes require a home-grown adventure i am not quite ready to undertake yet!

    Posted by Joycelyn | 21 June 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko, don’t know if anyone else did already or not, but I just tagged you for a cookbook meme.

    Posted by Lynn | 22 June 2005 #
  • GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY makes me dribble. I love caramel choc and caramel is just so heaavenly!!!!

    I love Maldon too......if you do not mind I will add you to my link.
    Are you the Keiko in UK? Cecile of Englis Patis told me about the EB and the next will be Henley.

    Thank you for passing t my page just managed to read all the comments am still here in France!

    Posted by sha | 25 June 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko! This tart sounds absolutely stunning (as do all of the dishes you make, of course!) and excellent choice with the Maldon salt, m’dear. Yum.

    Posted by Molly | 26 June 2005 #
  • Hi there,

    Cheryl - thank you for your kinds words, I’m happy to know that you are a chocolate fanatic too :)

    Pinkcocoa - yes, go for it!

    Aun - oh, your wife must be a great cook too :) Thank you for the info on Murray River salt, it sounds fascinating! I hope I can taste it one day...

    Joycelyn - thank you for letting me know your favourite books, I had a quick look at pastries/breads from la brea bakery and they are already in my wish list :) Have you tried the bakery?

    Lynn - thanks for tagging me, I’ve actually been tagged already - will try to post when I can!

    Sha - thank you for dropping by, I’m glad you are a big fan of Maldon too. Yes, I am the Keiko in UK (I think) - I was looking forward to the ’posh’ version of a food blogger’s lunch at Henley, but I don’t think I can make it this time, what a shame! I love travelling and fell in love with your site, it’s so fascinating.

    Molly - thank you for your note, the tart was sweet but I didn’t mind!

    Posted by keiko | 28 June 2005 #
  • I like how you framed this with parts of both the salt and the tart falling outside of the photograph. Very nice composition.

    Posted by Smoove D | 20 July 2005 #
  • Hi Smoove D - thanks, but I must say that I wasn’t really happy with this one... couldn’t figure out how I should compose!

    Posted by keiko | 21 July 2005 #
  • that looks divine!!

    Posted by Kat | 16 December 2005 #
  • Hi, I was leafing through “The Perfect Finish” cookbook, by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark, when I spotted the slice of Chocolate Caramel Tart with Maldon sea salt- SOLD! They suggested making the tart with pate sablee. Have you tried the combination with a plain tart? I plan on making this for my husband’s 49th birthday cake…but if choclate tart is better, please let me know!!!
    Thank you!

    Posted by Deborah | 26 September 2011 #

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