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Chocolate Caramel Tart with Sea Salt

This image courtesy of Marcus Nilsson

For this elegant tart, a crisp, cookie-like crust is first covered with a layer of caramel, then filled with a serious bittersweet ganache, which gets extra depth from a pinch of sea salt. The tart is chilled until firm, then served at room temperature, so it’s ideal for transporting: Make it the day before you plan to serve it, then take it out of the fridge right before you leave, and it’ll be at the right temperature by the time you’re ready for dessert. Chef’s Note To create a shiny, smooth-textured ganache, carefully follow the directions for mixing, whisking gradually from the center and moving the whisk outward only as the center becomes fully combined. The result should be viscous and glossy and should hold a point when you remove the whisk.

Makes1 (9-inch) tart to serve 8

Cooking MethodBaking

CostInexpensive

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionFormal Dinner Party

Recipe CourseDessert

Dietary ConsiderationHalal, Kosher, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegetarian

MealDinner

Taste and TextureButtery, Chocolatey, Sweet

Type of DishChocolate Dessert, Dessert, Tart

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (5 ounces, 142 grams)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (3.5 ounces, 100 grams)
  • 2 large eggs (3.4 ounces, 96 grams), at room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (8.5 ounces, 242 grams), plus additional for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt (5 grams)
  • Electric Mixer
  • 9-inch tart pan
  • Pie weights or dried beans
  • ½ cup heavy cream (4.06 ounces, 116 grams)
  • 1 cup sugar (7 ounces, 198 grams)
  • Pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 60 to 66 cacao percent), coarsely chopped (about 2 cups, 340 grams)
  • Small pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream (16.24 ounces, 464 grams)
  • Candy Thermometer

Instructions

  1. For making and prebaking the tart shell:

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix until incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed just until the dough comes together. Scrape the dough into a ball, then wrap in plastic wrap. Flatten into a disk and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight (or up to 3 days).

  3. Generously flour a work surface and roll out the dough ¼ inch thick. Press it into a 9-inch tart pan, and trim the excess dough with a knife. Use the trimmed dough to patch any holes, and place the shell in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to bake (up to 1 hour).

  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the tart shell with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and take out the weights and foil. Return the tart shell to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until it colors slightly. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

  5. For the caramel:

  6. In a small saucepan, bring the ½ cup cream to a boil, then turn off the heat.

  7. In a heavy saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar with 5 tablespoons water and cook, stirring, over high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring this caramel mixture to a boil and let cook, without stirring, for about 4 minutes, until it reaches a dark amber color (at about 374°F) and begins to smoke. Don’t be afraid, the taste is worth it. Swirl the pan if the sugar is browning unevenly.

  8. Take the pan off the heat and slowly whisk the hot cream into the caramel, standing back as you pour since it will sputter. Stir until smooth. Add the salt. Put the pan over low heat if the caramel is not pourable, and warm it, swirling, until it can be poured.

  9. Swirling the pan, pour the caramel into the tart shell, evenly covering the bottom. Let cool. It will become matte, rather than glossy, and will feel rubbery and no longer sticky. Refrigerate until ready to pour in the ganache.

  10. For the ganache:

  11. Place the chocolate and salt in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a boil.

  12. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let sit for 3 minutes, then whisk, beginning in the center and slowly working outward until the chocolate has been smoothly melted into the cream. Set aside.

  13. To Assemble:

  14. Scrape the ganache into the tart shell and give the pan a light rap on the counter to level the surface and remove any air bubbles. Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours. Sprinkle with the sea salt.

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