Happy first day of Fall! Something about Fall makes me want to put caramel on all the things. While I wouldn’t necessarily call this Chocolate Caramel Tart a seasonal recipe, I’m perfectly happy to enjoy this recipe all year long. 🙂
This Chocolate Caramel Tart has a chocolate shortbread crust filled with homemade salted caramel sauce and dark chocolate ganache. I also garnished the tart with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce and a sprinkle of flaky salt for good measure.
Making the Chocolate Shortbread Crust
The chocolate shortbread crust comes together quickly in a food processor. I used a 10″ tart pan with removable bottom, like this one here, but you could choose to make virtually any size or shape tart(lets) you want. Just keep in mind that if you make little tartlets, you’ll want to reduce the bake time for the crust. Because the crust is frozen prior to baking, you don’t even need pie weights.
I used dark (dutch process) cocoa powder for a darker color and slightly deeper chocolate flavor for the crust. If you only have regular unsweetened cocoa powder on-hand, that will do just fine.
Making the Salted Caramel Sauce
I’ll start out by saying *of course* if you’d rather buy caramel sauce, that makes this recipe even easier to throw together. That said, consider making it yourself because it is yuuuuummy! It may seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but I swear, you can do it!
This recipe is for a salted caramel *sauce*, so your tart will be a bit gooey and messy–which I don’t mind. If you’d like it to hold it’s shape a bit better, you can add less cream to the sauce.
Making the Dark Chocolate Ganache
The chocolate ganache is wonderfully simple and delicious! Choose chocolate that you enjoy eating! For me, it’s a dark chocolate (~70% cacao). I really like the bittersweet dark chocolate paired with the super sweet caramel sauce, and the sea salt in the caramel sauce and sprinkled over the top is just *chef’s kiss*!
The recipe includes some chocolate extract in the ganache. I highly recommend this (sometimes overlooked) extract! It lends amazing depth of flavor to chocolate baked goods! If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can find some here. Even better, make yourself some Homemade Chocolate Extract for next time!
Making your Chocolate Caramel Tart Ahead
You can do a little prep work in advance to make this bake come together quicker and easier the day you plan to serve it. I don’t suggest assembling the tart too far in advance, as the caramel sauce will eventually wreak havoc on your crust.
- The chocolate shortbread crust can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator, well wrapped, for several days. Just let it warm enough on the counter to roll it out and you’re all set!
- The salted caramel sauce can be made several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. You will just need to warm it enough to be pourable to fill the baked crust. I usually just go for room temperature, as if it’s too warm it will be too warm/thin for your chocolate ganache to be poured over top.
I don’t suggest making the ganache in advance! The chocolate ganache is at its best the first time it’s been melted, and should go directly into your tart.
So, on those days that only something truly decadent will do, this Chocolate Caramel Tart is here for you! The combination of textures and flavors is amazing, and I already can’t wait to make it again!
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Chocolate Caramel Tart
Chocolate Shortbread Crust:
- 1¼ cups flour
- ¼ cup dutch process cocoa powder (see note)
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 9 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and diced
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 Tbsp milk (I used whole milk)
Salted Caramel Sauce (see note):
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
- ¼ cup heavy (whipping) cream
- ¾ tsp fleur de sel (or other sea salt)
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
- 16 oz dark chocolate, chopped (I used 60% cacao)
- 15 oz coconut milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp chocolate extract (see note)
- powdered sugar, if desired
- Grease a 10" tart pan with removable bottom (see note). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, cocoa, powdered sugar, and salt. Pulse briefly to combine.
- Add diced butter and pulse until no large pieces remain. Beat egg yolk slightly and drizzle over the top. Process in long pulses until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead together. Roll the dough large enough to line your tart pan. Transfer to tart pan and trim edges. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease some foil and line the frozen crust with it (you don't need pie weights because the crust is frozen). Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake 25 minutes. Remove the foil, then bake for another 7-9 minutes, or until the crust appears mostly dry. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
For Salted Caramel Sauce:
- Pour sugar into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk, and keep whisking, as sugar melts. It will clump and you'll think you're doing it all wrong. You're not. 🙂
- Once sugar is melted, stop whisking and let sugar cook until it is deep amber in color. *Carefully* add butter (mixture will bubble!) and whisk to incorporate.
- Remove mixture from the heat. Add cream (carefully!) and whisk until smooth. Add salt and stir to incorporate. Set aside to cool slightly. (Can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.)
- Spread about a cup of the salted caramel sauce in the bottom of the cooled crust (see note). Set aside.
- Place chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, warm the coconut milk over medium heat until bubbling. Pour over chocolate and let sit two minutes.
- Stir the ganache until smooth. Add vanilla and chocolate extracts (see note) and stir to combine.
- Pour the ganache over the caramel layer. Chill at least two hours. Top with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce and a sprinkle of flaky salt, if desired.Enjoy!