A buttery shortcrust tart layered with homemade caramel and rich chocolate ganache fit for a millionaire. So worth the calories.
Despite its simplicity- not only in presentation but also in preparation, a tart bares an air of elegance and sophistication- like those high-end, designer clothing, expensive appetizer parties rich people have in movies. I have always been somewhat bewitched by a dark chocolate tart- a magical concoction of butter-rich pastry and bitter chocolate. The combination is so simple. It is for this reason that you must use the best ingredients you can find when creating tarts.
The key to making a tart is the pastry. It cannot be too crisp- it must be firm yet crumbly- so that the fork can glide through without difficulties. It cannot be too sweet- because it must compliment the filling, not defeat it. It must be ever-so-slightly flaky, which is achieved by cutting in chilled butter and leaving breadcrumb sized pieces of it. The recipe I’ve provided for you is as simple as they get- a 3-2-1 recipe cut in half- no egg yolk required, yet the taste and texture is flawless. Once you have mastered the art of making tart shells, you have nearly mastered the art of tarts.
There are no limits to a tart filling. Chocolate mousse? Raspberry jam? Goat cheese? The sky is the limit. Filling the tarts is by far the most satisfying part of the experience. You can get creative with mixing and matching. I love Millionaire’s Shortbread- a shortbread layered with caramel and milk chocolate. This tart is a spin off of that- but with several adjustments that makes it appropriate for a dinner party or for a feeling of poise.
Instead of using milk chocolate, I’ve used a silky dark chocolate truffle ganache that is slightly sweet, bitter and of course, sinfully delicious. Paired with a dash of coffee granules, it’s unbeatable. The addition of coffee does not take away from the chocolate- but it compliments it beautifully. While adding coffee isn’t required, it is necessary.
On to the caramel. The caramel takes on a light golden color and is incredibly sweet to taste- after all, it’s made with condensed milk. It contrasts the bitterness of the chocolate and adds a playful twist.
I’m very proud of this dark chocolate caramel tart- fit for a millionaire. While it is sophistication, the way you’ll be devouring it is quite the opposite.
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, cubed and cold
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 can (14 oz/ 395 grams) sweetened condensed milk
- 3 tbsp butter (salted, unsalted- your choice)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- pinch salt
- 4 oz/113 g bittersweet chocolate
- ½ cup + 2tbsp heavy cream
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1-2 tsp coffee granules or instant expresso powder
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- cocoa powder for dusting
- In a food processor, combine all the ingredients to make the crust and blitz until they resemble breadcrumbs and begin to form a dough. Alternatively place all the ingredients in a bowl and work the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork.
- Form the dough into a ball and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes if the dough is difficult to work with.
- Keep a 9 cm springform tart tin ready (you can use a pie dish as well).
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ½ cm thickness. Gently roll back onto rolling pin.
- Gently place the rolling pin on the edge of the tart pan and unroll to release dough. I like to place the dough onto the tart pan this way- feel free to do it however you'd like.
- Tear off any excess dough or roll the rolling pin on the edges to cut the dough off.
- Prick the dough with a fork and chill once more for an hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C.
- Press a sheet of aluminium foil on the bottom and up the edges of the tart, making sure it is tight. You do not need baking beans if you do this correctly.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then take out of the oven, remove the foil and press the dough with the back a spoon to eliminate air pockets and to keep the dough from shrinking at the sides.
- Bake for another 5-7 minutes or until the dough develops a very, very slight golden brown colour. Cool completely before filling.
- Combine the butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted.
- Add the condensed milk, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir constantly until the condensed milk begins to boil profusely and develops a slightly golden, caramel colour (about 15 minutes).
- Spread the caramel onto the tart shell about ½ way up (you may have ½ cup extra). Let it sit for 15 minutes to firm up slightly while you make the chocolate topping.
- Break the chocolate and place into a heat proof bowl.
- In a saucepan, combine the cream, sugar and coffee and bring to a simmer.
- Pour over the chocolate, let sit for 30 seconds and then whisk until smooth.
- Add in the butter and continue mixing until the butter has melted.
- Pour the chocolate mixture over the caramel mixture and spread evenly.
- Chill the tart for at least two hours in the refrigerator before serving. To serve, remove the bottom from the spring form pan and dust with cocoa powder.