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Chocolate Caramel Tart

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Oh, Yum! Chocolate Caramel Tart!  A creamy truffle-like filling, gooey caramel and a shiny ganache glaze, sprinkled with flaky salt!  All in a tender shortbread crust and fat-free, calorie-free! Woohoo!  Just kidding about the fat-free, calorie-free. That was mean, wasn’t it?  Oh, well, we can always dream.

a slice of chocolate tart with a cup of coffee in the background

A slice of chocolate caramel tart

One thing we are not kidding about….this is a dreamy dessert. It is rich, decadent and unforgettable. It is the perfect finish for that special, fancy dinner you have planned.

This is a dessert that you can make in advance and refrigerate while freeing up your precious meal planing time. 

The shortbread pastry crust:

The French term for this lightly sweetened, shortbread pastry crust is Pâte Sucrée.  Pâte sucrée is one of the traditional pastry crusts that the French use for their lovely cream and fruit tarts. 

Check out the recipe for our Easy Shortbread Pastry that makes the base for our chocolate caramel tart.  It is rich with butter, flour, sugar and egg yolks.

A food processor makes this crust in a matter of minutes. It is a press-in, no-rolling, easy crust.  Preparing the crust in advance, baking and refrigerating or freezing it is a huge plus.  It will be ready for the filling at your convenience.

Chocolate Caramel Tart on a cake stand

View of tart sprinkled with salt flakes

The Filling for our Chocolate Truffle Caramel Tart:

Ahhh, a taste of heaven on a plate!  This creamy, rich, chocolaty filling tastes like a truffle.  We used a good chocolate for the truffle-like custard which includes cream and eggs.

We filled the par-baked shortbread pastry shell and baked the filling at 250°F for 35 minutes.  It is not too sweet but silky and luscious.

making chocolate filling for the tart

Butter in warm chocolate mixture

Our advice for buying chocolate is to get the best you can afford because it truly does make a difference in taste.  And our best advice is to NOT use the standard chocolate chips that you would use for cookies.  It will work but it won’t be as dreamy and heavenly. 

straining eggs through a sieve and into a chocolate mixture

Adding beaten eggs to the chocolate mixture

We used Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate which we purchased in the bulk section of our local market. You can also find it in bulk at WinCo Foods or online.  Another, easily accessible good chocolate is Baker’s semi-sweet squares.  It is available in most grocery stores and we have previously used it with great results.  Here are some additional choices for really good chocolate:

  • Ghirardelli
  • Lindt 99%
  • Scharffen Berger
  • Valrhona

There is a reason we do not recommend using the famous chocolate chips you would use for chocolate chip cookies. There are additives and preservatives in them to keep the chips whole in cookies.  The additives distort the pure flavor of chocolate. 

For the ultimate chocolate experience, spend a couple of dollars more and make this tart with the very best chocolate. 

Chocolate Caramel Tart on a cake plate with two slices below on small plates

Chocolate Tart and two serving slices

About the Caramel layer:

Caramel is addictive! The sweet caramel in our chocolate truffle caramel tart is a decadent, gooey layer of goodness. We purposely kept the layer to a minimum so the sweetness does not overpower the chocolate.

a close-up photo of Chocolate Caramel Tart with the caramel drizzling over the edge

Cut section of tart

Caramel is mainly sugar cooked to the melting point. It will turn a deep golden-amber color at which time a warm mixture of cream and butter are stirred into the sugar.

The longer the mixture cooks the denser it becomes. A caramel sauce is moderately thin and used for toppings. Caramel candies have the same cooking process but cooked for a longer time period.

A Ganache Glaze for the Chocolate Caramel Tart:

The shiny ganache glaze adds an elegant touch to our tart and is highlighted with a sprinkle of salt flakes.

This simple chocolate glaze is made with only chocolate, cream, a touch of light corn syrup and a tablespoon of hot water.  The addition of the corn syrup is what makes the glaze shiny and glossy but it is the hot water that makes it flow smoothly to the edges.

a close-up of a slice of Chocolate Caramel Tart

The taste of salted truffle on a shortbread crust

The secret to keeping the glaze shiny, glossy and mar-free is in the application.  Pour the glaze onto the center of the cooled tart, pick up the pan, tilt and turn it allowing the glaze to flow to the edges. 

Do not try to spread the glaze with a spatula as it will leave surface marks.  Use a toothpick to pop any bubbles that appear on the surface.       

Plan ahead for this recipe:

You will want to plan ahead for this recipe. After the chocolate filling gets baked, it needs to cool in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours. Then after the caramel filling is made and poured on top, it needs to cool in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Even the ganache glaze needs to sit for at least an hour (or longer) before the tart goes to the refrigerator.  

Tip:  Do not cover the tart with plastic wrap when transferring it to the refrigerator.  The plastic wrap will stick to the surface and ruin the beautiful shiny glaze.  See our notes on how to cover the tart in the refrigerator.

You will love this world-class sinful tart dessert and will want to make it again and again.   You could serve this on a special occasion like Mother’s Day!  I’m just say’n…. ❤️

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A slice of truffle-like Chocolate Caramel Tart

Chocolate Caramel Tart

Yield: 12 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 55 minutes

You will fall in love with this Chocolate Caramel Tart. A Creamy truffle-like filling, gooey caramel and a shiny chocolate ganache glaze sprinkled with flaky salt!  All in a tender shortbread pastry crust.

Ingredients

For the crust

For the Chocolate Filling:

  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter cut into thin slices and softened
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Caramel Layer:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoons water

For the Ganache Glaze:

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of salt flakes (final garnish)

Instructions

Shortbread Crust:

  1. Refer to the recipe in the link for the shortbread crust. After it gets baked, set it aside while you prepare the filling.

For the Chocolate Filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F
  2. In a 1-quart saucepan, set on medium-high heat, bring cream, espresso powder and salt to almost a boil, stirring to dissolve.
  3. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-size bowl and pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. Cover with a lid or plate and allow to sit for 5 minutes. When the chocolate has softened, stir to a smooth consistency with a spatula or spoon. Add butter, one or two pieces at a time and continue to stir until the butter is well incorporated.
  4. Pour the beaten eggs through a fine-mesh strainer into the chocolate mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. 
  5. Pour the chocolate custard into the par-baked shortcrust shell, carefully bump the tart pan on the work surface several times to remove any air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop any bubbles that appear.
  6. Place tart on a baking sheet and transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake until the outer edge of the filling is set and faint cracks appear on the surface, 30-35 minutes. The filling will be very loose and will appear to be un-cooked, that is just fine as it will firm up as it cools. 
  7. Remove the tart from the oven, leave the tart on the baking sheet and cool at room temperature. When cool, place in the refrigerator, uncovered until chilled and completely set, 3-4 hours, overnight preferably. 

For the Caramel Layer:

  1. Combine the cream, butter and vanilla in a small saucepan set over medium high heat. After the cream gets hot, reduce the heat to low and keep warm while making the caramel.
  2. In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, 6 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil. 
  3. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 340°F. and the caramel has become amber colored.
  4. Remove saucepan from the heat and stir in the warm cream-butter mixture. It will bubble violently and is best to use a long-handled wooden spoon for safety. Stir the caramel sauce until smooth. 
  5. Pour caramel over the cooled chocolate filling and let it cool in the refrigerate until firm, 2-3 hours.

For the Ganache Glaze:

  1. Add the chopped chocolate to a small dish.
  2. Combine the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes to soften.
  4. Stir the mixture with a silicon or rubber spatula until it is smooth. Do not use a whisk as it will incorporate air bubbles.
  5. Stir in the hot water until the glaze is shiny and pourable.
  6. Pour the glaze onto the center of the tart, quickly but carefully pick up the tart pan and tilt it around so the glaze flows to the edges. Continue tilting and turning until the surface of the tart is completely covered. Do not use a spatula to spread the glaze as it will make marks and not be smooth. 
  7. Let the tart sit at room temperature for an hour, until the glaze is set before transferring to the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. 

To serve:

  1. Transfer the tart from the refrigerator. Remove the outer ring from the tart pan. Insert a thin-bladed knife between the crust and the pan bottom and slide the tart onto your serving plate or cake pedestal. Sprinkle the tart surface with salt flakes.
  2. Allow the tart to sit at room temperature for 30-minutes before slicing. It tastes better when it is not cold.
  3. Use a thin knife dipped into hot water and wiped dry to cut each slice of the tart into wedges and serve.

Notes

The Chocolate Filling:

  1. Do not use a whisk for stirring the chocolate as it will incorporate air bubbles in the filling.
  2. Pouring the eggs through a strainer is optional but it does make a smoother filling by straining out any egg bits.
  3. Check the tart after it has baked for 30-minutes, remove from the oven when the edges appear to have faint cracks. The filling will be loose but will firm up as it cools.

The Caramel Sauce:

  1. When making the caramel sauce be sure that the cream-butter mixture is warm/hot. If it is cold it will cause the caramel to seize up.
  2. The cream-butter mixture can also be heated in the microwave.
  3. Use a large saucepan for cooking the caramel as the cream-butter mixture will cause the hot caramel to bubble up violently. Too small of a pan will cause the mixture to over flow.
  4. Use a clip-on candy thermometer when making the caramel. If necessary, tip the pan occasionally for the syrup to contact with the thermometer tip. An instant-read thermometer may also be used.When pouring the glaze, work quickly to tilt and turn as the glaze flows to the edges. If bubbles arise to the surface, use a toothpick to pop them.

To Serve:

  1. Remove the tart from the refrigerator and allow the tart to sit at room temperature for 30-minutes before removing from the pan and slicing .
  2. Use a thin knife dipped into hot water and wiped dry to cut each slice of the tart into wedges and serve.
  3. When ready to plate the tart, add a tablespoon of corn syrup to the center of the cake plate/pedestal, then place the tart on it.  The sticky syrup will keep the tart stable on the plate/pedestal.  Or a smear of butter will also work to keep the tart from sliding.
  4. If you would like to cover the tart, do not use plastic wrap as it will cling to the surface of the glaze. I used the domed lid from my large soup pot that was the diameter of the tart pan.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 Slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 579Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 1278mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 2gSugar: 55gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Laura Gilger

Thursday 9th of May 2019

This is sooooo tasty! Just, WOW.

Pat Nyswonger

Thursday 9th of May 2019

Thank you, Laura....So glad you and Harry enjoyed it! Happy Mother's Day to you! ❤️

John / Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 8th of May 2019

Chocolate? Caramel? Shortbread crust? Wowzer, what good stuff. Wonderful looking recipe -- thanks.

Pat Nyswonger

Wednesday 8th of May 2019

Thanks, John....Try it, you'll like it ?

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