This Salted caramel chocolate tart is one of my favoruite tarts ever! Salted caramel and Chocolate are match made in heaven… It just tastes phenomenal as the buttery caramel with slight salty kick meets the silky chocolate ganache! They are also surprisingly easy to make! Chocolate ganache is a 3 minutes work using 2 ingredients while the caramel sauce is 3 ingredients and also done in no time.
What is a tart?
A tart is a freestanding shallow open-faced pastry, often baked in a tart ring with fluted or straight sides. Smaller tarts are referred to as tartlets. Making Chocolate Pâte Sablée tart shell is one of the baking basics worth mastering for every home baker and let me tell you that this is the only tutorial you will ever need!
Chocolate Pâte Sablée filled with salted caramel and chocolate ganache is the ultimate French patisserie style goodness that is easy to make at home following my step by step baking Guide.
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Reducing sugar, replacing egg, using milk instead of cream, using poor quality chocolate etc. will all have an impact on your baking
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method for more delicate, complex pastries
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking desserts
First let’s start with some important notes regarding the ingredients of this Salted caramel Chocolate Tart recipe
For the Chocolate Pâte Sablée tart shell
- Flour: I am using pastry flour for this tart shell recipe, feel free to use AP if can’t find pastry flour in your local supermarket. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Almond: Some Pâte Sablée recipes contain almond, some don’t, I prefer mine with some almond flour in it from taste and texture point of view. It is worth to buy good quality ground almond, without skin. You can replace with equal amount of flour
- Cocoa powder: Always use unsweetened, 100% cocoa powder in baking. I use dutch-process cocoa powder, it has a lovely dark colour and it is lower in acidity
- Sugar: This sweet pastry dough is made with icing sugar. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes. Balances flavour and enhances other ingredients especially chocolate desserts. This is a sweet tart dough and I just love that extra very mild salty kick at the end
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. While in most of the recipes butter needs to be on room temperature, this is an exception and you have to take it very seriously. Butter needs to be chilled, which means take the butter out of the fridge, cut into cubes then place it into the freezer for 10-15 minutes before using it
- Egg: Room temperature as always
For the Salted caramel sauce
- Granulated sugar: Use white granulated sugar, nothing fancy
- Butter: As above, use unsalted even though you are making salted caramel, you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. It is very important that butter needs to be at room temperature. If butter is too cold, it won’t incorporate properly into the caramelised sugar
- Heavy cream: Also known as whipping cream, has a fat content between 36% and 40% . Use it room temperature and avoid substitutes like vegetable based “whipping cream”
- Salt: Preferably use salt flakes
For the Chocolate ganache
- Chocolate: The chocolate tart will be as delicious as the quality of the chocolate you are using. Please please please use high cocoa content chocolate which you would anyway enjoy eating on its own and avoid using “baking chocolate”. I am using Valrhona Jivara 40% chocolate that tastes amazing and works wonderfully silky while making ganache
- Heavy cream: Also known as whipping cream, has a fat content between 36% and 40% . Avoid substitutes like vegetable based “whipping cream”
Now let’s continue with my top 10 tips regarding the technique and equipment of making this Salted caramel Chocolate Tart recipe
1. Crumbling method
There are 2 methods in the pastry chefs’ world making tart shell; one is creaming, the other is crumbling. With creaming method the butter is on room temperature and first needs to be creamed with icing sugar. In case of crumbling method, basically you need to rub the mixture between your hands until it becomes a sand like consistency. I am sharing the crumbling method with you in this recipe, which is my preference for one single reason; as the butter used while it’s very cold, overall it makes the dough colder meaning easier to work with. And that brings us to the next important topic.
The dough will come together in literally few minutes. First rub the mixture between your hands until it becomes like a sand then mix the egg in, knead with your hands only for a minute and done! Do not use mixer.
When I started experimenting with baking, I had several disastrous attempts making tart shell. Now I understand that the one and only reason I failed was me being inpatient and forcing the dough even when its temperature was inappropriate.
Baking is science and in general temperature is one of the most important factors to understand AND utilise for our benefit. When I say temperature I don’t purely mean baking temperature but also the environment we work e.g kitchen temperature as well as the dough temperature.
While making sweet tart crust, temperature is everything! If the dough is too hot, it’s sticky and can’t be rolled out or shaped. If too cold, it will easily break. The entire tart making process is a balancing exercise between keeping the dough cold enough but not too cold.
To give you a concrete example, in a home kitchen environment on a warmer day this practically means taking the dough in and out of the freezer about 15 times in between steps to ensure the dough is always on the right temperature to work with. Yes, not just to chill once or twice but to be in control of the dough temperature all the time! Obviously in professional kitchens temperature as well as humidity is under control and the rolling process is done by a machine, however in home environment this is something we have to be super careful with.
3. NO Blind baking
Do you know what blind baking is? Baking blind is the process of baking a pie crust without the filling. It’s done by lining the unbaked tart or pie shell with parchment paper and filling with baking bean. Frankly, it’s a half solution only and while it certainly prevents the crust from puffing up while it bakes, it does not provide even baking. Blind making makes the tart crust somewhat unappealing, full of wrinkles as I call it and baked uneven. My recipe DOES NOT involve blind baking and that brings us to the next important topic, the equipment.
Let me get this straight, I am not paid to say the below, I am only talking about my experience after trying a lot of different baking products. You can only achieve neat, visually appealing, even colour tart crust by using professional baking equipment. Luckily these are available to purchase on Amazon not just for professionals but also for home bakers. If you want to make beautiful, patisserie style looking tarts it’s worth to invest into a perforated baking mat, a couple of perforated tart rings and a silicon mat. They are not the cheapest and I was really wondering about buying them however they have changed my tart game forever! Best investment ever.
4. Silicone baking mat
I recommend using 2 Silicone baking mat for rolling the dough out in between them. The recipe is designed in a way that you do not need to add extra flour while rolling the dough however it might stick to your kitchen counter so use silicone baking mat. It’s also possible to use 2 sheets parchment paper however the silicone mat provides a much neater, smooth surface. It can be washed and then used all the time so overall worth the investment. I am using the “Amazon basics” cheapest version so no need to buy anything expensive.
While rolling, start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions. Again remember, temperature is very important. If the dough is too cold, you won´t be able to roll it out. If too warm, it will be difficult to handle and will even stick to the silicone baking mat.
5. Perforated baking “air” mat
I have been using Perforated “air” baking mat for more than a year now from a brand called Silikomart and loving it. The air mat is perfect for baking tart crust, éclairs or even cookies. Thanks to the holes in the mat, the heat spreads evenly throughout mats’ surface guaranteeing a perfect and even baking without blind baking. Use the Perforated “air” baking mat on top of the oven rack so that the air can circulate properly.
6. Perforated tart ring
Again, I have been using my Perforated tart ring for over a year and it’s the best investment I have ever made. I can not recommend it enough, it’s really one of those tools you have to invest in once and then will change your baking experience forever. Yes, I am loving it! The Perforated tart rings are non-stick and stainless, they allow homogeneous baking due to the even air circulation. It’s a a genius solution, isn’t it? Silikomart (and some other quality brands) offering the rings in various shapes and sizes, I am using a 8cm (3,14inch) diameter round version. As far as I can see there are several cheap copies of the initial Silikomart product, I am not sure though whether they are made of the same material and whether they work or not.
7. How to avoid tart dough shrinking while in the oven
Have you ever experienced shrinking, sad looking tart dough while baking? Again, 3 things to remember: temperature, technique and equipment. In terms of temperature, you have to freeze the dough before baking. In regards to technique, you must not force the dough while placing it into the tart rings. First cut the bottoms out then cut the side as long strips and carefully but firmly stick them together. Thirdly, use the right equipment, with Perforated tart ring the dough somewhat sticks to the side of the ring as opposed to shrinking like in case of non-perforated rings.
8. How to make caramel sauce
I have a a detailed step-by-step tutorial about making caramel sauce, make sure you read it! In a nutshell, you will have to make dry caramel by melting sugar then incorporating butter and cream into it. It is super quick however it´s important that you follow the steps in my tutorial.
I just love making caramel sauce, and this has been my go to recipe for years! Try it and use it on literally anything; cupcake, cheesecake, apple pie, brownie or even your morning coffee! This home made caramel is sticky, buttery and balanced in sweetness. Once you taste it, I can guarantee that you will be making it over and over again!
9. How to make chocolate ganache
Chocolate ganache is literally chocolate and cream mixture with endless uses; cakes, cupcakes, tarts etc. As usual, the quality of the ingredients will highly impact the end result. While taste is obviously very important, in case of chocolate the quality goes way beyond taste, good vs poor quality chocolate that can make or break any recipe. I recommend to chose a high quality brand with high cocoa content chocolate to avoid disappointment. I am using Valrhona Jivara 40% chocolate that tastes amazing and works wonderfully silky while making ganache.
Chocolate ganache is a 1:1 mixture of chocolate and warm cream
- Place finely chopped chocolate into a bowl
- Heat cream until just simmering. If it’s boiling, the cream is too hot and could burn the chocolate. If the cream is not warm enough, it won´t melt the chocolate properly
- Pour warm cream over the chopped chocolate
- Let the two sit for a minute then stir together
10. How to assemble this Salted caramel Chocolate Tart recipe
First, you will make the tart shells and you have to let them cool before filling. Next, prepare caramel sauce according to the recipe and pour warm but not hot caramel into the tart shells to fill 1/2 of them. Sprinkle with salt flakes. Make sure you don´t burn yourself while working with warm caramel. Pop the tarts into the fridge for the caramel to set. Make sure that you pour the second, chocolate layer on top only after the caramel layer set. Then lastly, prepare the chocolate ganache according to the recipe and pour warm chocolate ganache on top of the already set caramel layer. The tart will need to set in the fridge for about an hour before serving.
+1 tip: decorate with golden dust spay
Some more tart recipe ideas to try
Creamy Raspberry tart – This Raspberry tart recipe is an ideal balance between buttery, melt in your mouth shortcrust pastry and silky raspberry ganache with full of natural raspberry flavour
Triple Hazelnut nut with gold chocolate disk decoration – This Triple hazelnut tart recipe is a dream for hazelnut lovers but what makes it even more special is the gold chocolate disk decoration melted on top! Contrasting layers of melt in your mouth hazelnut Pâte Sablée tartlet shell, silky hazelnut ganache, crunchy hazelnut .. a super complex dessert experience that is much easier to make than it might sound!
Strawberry Pistachio tart – This Strawberry Pistachio tart consist of Pâte Sablée sweet shortcrust pastry filled with silky Pistachio ganache and topped with delicious fresh strawberries. Beautiful contrast of rich and nutty Pistachio ganache and refreshing fruit in a buttery, sweet but not too sweet melt in the mouth pastry shell.
Fig Frangipane tart – Pâte Sablée (sweet shortcrust) filled with a incredible delicious, easy almond cream (frangipane) and a slice of fig is what makes this tart a truly amazing autumn recipe! The Franginape tarts are sweet, fruity and nutty at the same time
Coffee tart – Pâte Sablée filled with Coffee ganache and decorated with cream that makes it effectively a Cappuccino Tart. A must make for Coffee lovers!
Caramelized banana & Caramel tart – This Caramelized banana and Caramel Tart is the perfect easy yet fancy dessert you can make at home and impress everyone ! The tart has 3 elements: Home made Pâte Sablée (sweet shortcrust) tart shell, 5 minutes caramelized banana layer, super quick and easy 3 ingredients caramel layer on top
Lemon meringue tart – This Lemon meringue tart recipe is a decorative, individual dessert version of the well know lemon meringue pie. I love how the sweet and silky Swiss meringue complements the tangy and creamy lemon curd
Passion fruit & Chocolate tart – If you have not tried pairing passion fruit and chocolate before, you are missing out, they are truly match made in heaven! Silky & rich chocolate ganache meets floral & tropical yet tangy passion fruit curd in this Chocolate Pâte Sablée tart shell!
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For the Chocolate Pâte Sablée
For the Caramel
- 107 g Granulated sugar
- 42 g Unsalted butter room temperature
- 62 g Heavy Cream lukewarm
For the Chocolate ganache
- 100 g Chocolate good quality, eg. Valrhona
- 100 g Heavy Cream
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
For the Chocolate Pâte Sablée
- Sift together dry ingredients; flour, cocoa powder, icing sugar, almond, salt
- Add very cold butter cubes and rub the mixture between your hands until it becomes a sand like consistency. This will take around a minute or two
- Add egg into the mixture and mix with your hands just until the dough comes together, few seconds
- Knead with the palm of your hand for a minute or two (do not over knead and do not use mixer) just until the dough becomes smooth. Form a disk and cover the dough in plastic wrap. Let it rest in the fridge for min 2 hours. You can leave it resting in the fridge over night or you can even freeze the dough
- After the dough rested roll it out into 2mm thickness between two Silicone baking mat. Do not use extra flour for rolling
- Place the dough into the freezer for 15 min in between two Silicone baking mat.. Do not remove the mat at this point
- If at any point the dough gets too warm to work with, pop it back into the freezer for 5 minutes. You might need take the dough in and out of the freezer 10-15 times. It is extremely important to work with a dough that is cold enough to be able to handle (so not sticky) but not too cold which would result in breaking it
- Cut 8 long stripes out of the dough, this will be the side of the tart
- Carefully place the stripes into the ring one by one. Press each stripe onto the ring so it sticks to it
- Place the Perforated tart rings with the pastry dough in them into the freezer for 2 hours
- Pre-heat oven to 160C / 320F
- After 2 hours take the pastry dough with the rings on them out and trim the top to the level of the tart ring with a sharp knife
- Bake for 18 min then carefully remove the rings and bake for another 5 min. Let them cool on the Perforated "air" baking mat
For the caramel
- First and foremost be careful throughout the process not to burn yourself with sugar. Melt and caramelize sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, do not stir until it starts to turn golden brown. Watch the pan carefully as once it starts caramelizing, it can burn quickly
- When sugar fully dissolved and turns golden brown in color, add in butter in 3 steps while whisking vigorously. It will bubble and it´s normal, be careful. If butter starts to separate just keep whisking
- Once butter fully incorporated slowly pour lukewarm heavy cream into the mixture and boil for a minute. It will bubble and rise slightly but keep whisking. After about a minute your caramel is done. Use it in a few minutes as later it will start to set. If you need the caramel to be more runny feel free to re-heat it in microwave
For the chocolate ganache
- Chop chocolate into small pieces and place them into a bowl
- Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat just until simmering
- Pour warm cream over chocolate, let it set for a minute until chocolate gently melts then stir together
- Once tart tart shells cooled down to room temperature, prepare caramel sauce and pour warm but not hot caramel into the tart shells to fill 1/2 of them. Pop the tarts into the fridge for the caramel to set
- Prepare chocolate ganache and pour warm chocolate ganache on top of the caramel layer
- The tart will need to set in the fridge for about an hour before serving. Decorate with golden dust spray