If you really want to spoil Mom next Sunday, set aside a couple of hours and make her this beeee-autiful dessert. Chocolate crust has a little espresso powder (instant coffee powder works too) which brings welcome hint of bitter to an otherwise rich dessert. A layer of caramel adds a buttery note. And chocolate ganache topping, well, it's a satin cloud of chocolate dreams.
Three distinct textures also make this dessert a party for your mouth. Dense chocolatey crust adds a nice bite, caramel adds a pleasant chewiness and the ganache is silky, melting chocolate nirvana.
What a great reason to spend Saturday night in! Here's the plan: Gather your ingredients (and a tart pan) by May 9th. Don your comfiest threads and your apron. Ready your kitchen via Pandora (my favorite stations lately are First Aid Kit and Michael Kiwanuka) and beverage of choice (mine is something springy: Lillet, club soda, twist of orange).
Caramel Chocolate Tart with Chocolate Crust
Makes 9” round tart or 14”x4” rectangular tart.
For the chocolate crust:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the caramel layer:
1 # Annie B’s baking caramel (1 block)
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
For the ganache layer:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make the chocolate crust:
- In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and the salt.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture and mix until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough onto a work surface and gently knead until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. The dough will keep for up to 1 week wrapped, in the fridge.
- Spray a 14”X4” rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom or one 9” round tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick baking spray. Press the dough in an even layer in the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan with your fingers. Chill or freeze for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line the pan with parchment paper and fill to the rim with dried beans or pie weights. (This step will prevent puffing of the dough when baking). Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the crust looks dry and baked through. Set aside to cool completely.
Make the caramel layer:
- Cut the caramel into cubes and melt. For a softer caramel layer, add the cream when melting. If using the microwave, put cubes into a microwave safe bowl and stir every 20-30 seconds until melted. Or on stovetop, using heavy saucepan, melt over low heat, stirring frequently.
- Carefully remove the sides of the tart pan from around the tart dough. Transfer to a serving platter.
- Pour the melted caramel into the prepared tart shell. Refrigerate to set, about 20 minutes.
Make the ganache layer:
- Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine the cream, butter, vanilla and salt. Bring just to a simmer making sure the butter is completely melted.
- Pour the cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and let sit undisturbed for 2 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Whisk the chocolate until the ganache is shiny and smooth. Carefully pour the ganache over the set caramel and gently tip the tart from side to side to allow the ganache to cover the top of the tart completely. Allow the ganache to set, about 30 minutes, before cutting sand serving.
Photography by Jill May