The French know what it means to be a chocolate-lover. Chocolatiers are revered, adored, and celebrated in France. They’ve even got their own festival (Salon du Chocolat) each year to showcase their work.
People line up at the doors of the Port de Versailles for a chance to taste the best chocolate in the world. I was lucky enough to attend the chocolate festival during one of my trips to Paris in the fall, and it was spectacular.
My tastebuds were overwhelmed at the pure richness and luxury of the chocolates there. I was reminded of this feeling after one bite of this chocolate tart with caramel, also known in French as a tarte au chocolat et caramel.
Personally, I’ve always preferred my chocolate to be dark because of its rich chocolate flavor. After just a few tastings at the French chocolate festival, my palate had felt like it had been swimming in chocolate all day.
There were no artificial ingredients getting in the way of me indulging in pure, unadulterated chocolate, just as it is with this chocolate tart.
When making a chocolate tart like this, it’s really important to use the best chocolate that you can. And by best chocolate, I mean whatever type of chocolate tastes really good to you.
This isn’t the place to use bittersweet chocolate, or even chocolate that’s super dark (90%, etc.), unless you like eating that kind of chocolate straight out of the wrapper.
The reason for this is that a chocolate tart is made with just chocolate, cream, butter, and eggs. There’s no sugar in the chocolate filling, so picking chocolate that’s both rich and somewhat sweet is important.
I really love Trader Joe’s dark chocolate (72%) pound plus bar, and that’s what I use in this recipe. It’s got that perfect balance and tastes absolutely delectable with the caramel in this chocolate tart.
While the caramel is optional, I love that it adds another layer of flavor and extra gooeyness. You’ll only need a thin slice of this tart to fulfill your chocolate craving, but the few bites that it takes to eat that slice will be pure bliss.
Chocolate Tart with Caramel
Buttery pastry filled with rich chocolate ganache and sweet caramels.
for the pâte brisée (pastry dough)
- 90 g all-purpose flour 3/4 cup, plus more for dusting
- 50 g cold unsalted butter 3.5 tbsp, cubed
- 12 g powdered sugar 1.5 tbsp
- tsp about 2 cold water
for the chocolate filling
- 2.5 oz dark chocolate 75 g, chopped/broken into pieces
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 5-7 pure caramel squares depending on size, homemade or store-bought
For the pastry dough
Combine the flour and powdered sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed. Add the unsalted butter, and mix on medium speed until you get a shaggy dough with clumps no bigger than the size of peas. Alternatively, you can use a pastry blender or food processor if you don't have a stand mixer.
Stream in a teaspoon of cold water at a time until your dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and forms a compact mass. Roll out a sheet of plastic wrap and turn the dough out onto the plastic. Wrap the dough and press down on it to create a disc shape. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. If you have a 6-inch tart pan, grease the pan well. If you're using a 6-inch cake pan, as done here, line the bottom of the cake pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Use the extra scraps from the parchment paper to create 2-inch wide strips that can be used against the inside edges of the cake pan, but don't place these strips in the pan just yet.
Lightly sprinkle a wood board or pastry marble with flour. Turn the dough out onto the prepared surface. Sprinkle a pinch of flour over the dough before rolling the dough out into a 1/4 inch thick circle. Gently lift the dough circle off the board and center it into the prepared pan. Lightly fold the edges of the dough inward so that you can slip those 2-inch wide parchment paper strips into the pan against the edges. Now lift the dough edges back up and mold them against the edges of the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut off the rim of the dough anywhere where it might be sitting up much higher than another area of the dough. Use these cut off scraps to add dough to wherever may need a little more height along the rim of the tart crust.
Prick all along the bottom of the dough with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper inside the pan, on top of the dough, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Blind bake the crust for 11 minutes, then remove the parchment paper with the pie weights/beans, and bake the crust for another 10 to 12 minutes, just until the edges are beginning to golden. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
For the filling
In a small saucepan, warm the butter, cream, and milk just until it's beginning to boil. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl, then pour the hot liquid in the pan over the chocolate. Let the chocolate rest in this hot liquid bath for 1 minute, then stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Add the egg into the chocolate, then stir until completely incorporated and smooth. You will notice that the chocolate batter has gotten thicker because of the egg.
Place the caramel squares at the bottom of the prepared tart crust, evenly spacing them out. Pour the chocolate filling over the caramel, filling the crust just until the chocolate reaches the very top of the crust and meets the rim.
Bake the tart for 16 minutes, then let the tart rest on the counter until it's nearly room temperature. Cover and transfer to the fridge to cool for 2 hours before serving.
You may end up with extra chocolate batter depending on how much your crust shrank when it was pre-baked.