P&Q: Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

Chocolate, peanuts, caramel, whats not to like?!?

Go to it…

63 thoughts on “P&Q: Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

  1. I made it several weeks ago, and I have to say it is in my top 5 Dorie recipes now!

    The caramel was the biggest adventure, and I was excited that it was successful! Because there is a relatively small quantity in the skillet I had to tilt the pan to measure the temperature, even though my digital thermometer has the sensor in the tip.

    Although Dorie gives both time and temperature for the last step of the caramel, I was glad to have the thermometer; mine reached the correct temp in half the time – just over a minute.

    One thing I did that really helped: I held my skillet in the air above the burner, checking the temp – and lowered it to the burner at intervals to better control the heat.

    Maybe because I used an unusual tart mold (it’s very deep, so I had to guess how high to press the crust) I ended up with too much ganache, and after filling the tart shell to the brim, I froze the rest. It always comes in handy!

    30 minutes in the fridge was actually not enough time to set my ganache. I was much happier with the texture after it had rested in the fridge overnight.

  2. Nancy,
    Wow, thanks for the all great advice. I can’t wait to make this (sans peanuts, though, I am not a fan. I think I’ll sub in another nut, though, like pecans or hazelnuts.)
    Jennifer

  3. I made this a few weeks ago and it turned out great. Very delicious! It took a long time for my caramel to reach the suggested temp, but it eventually got there. The ganache was really easy to make, and it assembled beautifully!

  4. The cooling times are very important, I skimped on the in-shell chilling time for the caramel, and my caramel layer kind of melted into the crust and the ganache. Didn’t hear any complaints, but for those who like their desserts layered and photogenic…

  5. Perhaps this is a stupid question, but I do not have a full sized tart pan, and am kind of reluctant to buy one (I know I should! It’s a space thing). Would a springform pan do the trick? Or should I just break down and buy a pan?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you have. :-)

  6. I would think you could use a springform pan. I would also think a pie plate would work too, although depending on size, you might have WAY too much ganache.

    I thought about making this in mini-tart pans. Has anyone tried that?

  7. Caramel! I love making that – it’s so fun to be able to make your own “intensity” of flavor (add the cream when it’s a light amber and it’s a more sweet, lighter caramel, or wait ’til it’s a real dark amber and you get a rich, smokey-flavored caramel). It has a tart shell though… but I suppose I can get over the anxiety of *that*!

  8. Jennifer H –

    I don’t have a mini-tart pan but have a 6 in. spring form. I have used it before with tart recipes when I wanted to reduce the size. The only issue I have is that my crust never has that photogenic fluted appearance.

    • Jeff, I didn’t have a food processor when I made the tartest lemon tart so I used a mini-food prep and just made to dough in 4 seperate batches. Just be sure to divide the ingredients evenly into 4 seperate bowls. Lucky for you, at least you have a Kitchen Aid! :)

  9. i followed the caramel to a T and it was perfect.
    I also couldn’t find honey roasted peanuts in the bulk section so I used a mixture of salted and unsalted. TUrned out great! I just found my chocolate to be a bit on the soft side. Maybe I used too much cream or didn’t let it set long enough.

    I wonder why Dorie says to keep it in the fridge for 30 mins MAX. anyone keep it in longer and was it OK?

  10. Can you save the leftover ganache for the split-level pudding? Just a thought :-)

    No tart for me. I’ll be fasting on Monday and dreaming about everyone else’s tarts.

  11. I made this a few weeks ago and I thought I followed the recipe exactly and even used a candy thermometer. But my caramel layer was ridiculously hard! As in, I had to put a note next to my tart at work warning people to be careful when they bite in.

    It was delicious but extremely, extremely rich as well. Most people said it was very good, but like eating brittle and then a really rich chocolate cream pie separately. I am sure that was just my luck, but I thought I would share.

    I do love that I can now make homemade caramel!

    • Mine had tiny bits of brittle in it. I can’t give you a reason why, but the caramel itself shouldn’t be crunchy. Probably something to do with the cooking process. Perhaps overcooking? I know you said you used a therometer, but is it calibrated?

      • I am still green when it comes to making caramel but this recipe helped me learn a bit about the process. You have to wait until the tablespoons of sugar liquefy. I was nervous at this stage and I continued on with the recipe, leaving the sugar in hard, tiny chunks. They do eventually melt but the caramel was a bit off.

        The second time I allowed the sugar to melt after each of the 3 tablespoons were added. This seemed to do the trick and the caramel came out nicely.

  12. I just made the ganache and it like liquid- will it really set in the fridge or did I do something wrong? I’ve made ganache dozens of times but for some reason I’m really doubting myself on the consistency today.

    • Emily Rose, I thought the ganach was too liquidy as well, but I placed the tart in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes and it was perfect! The caramel was a bit too hard and tacky though. Hard to chew the tart because of the caramel. However, the tart has a very good balance of flavors.

  13. Made this yesterday and it was yummy. I’m glad I made it in individual tartlette pans because it’s sweet and rich! I made the crust without a kitchen-aid and it was difficult but ok, I actually had to use an extra yolk in it but I’ve had a couple people say the crust was their favorite part… No issues with the caramel and not having a thermometer either and even though I detest honey roasted peanuts, I used them and think they are great in this recipe!

  14. Oooh I wanted to make this, but I was so busy last week and it was our oldest’s Birthday this weekend, I had already made her a delish strawberry birthday cheesecake. I probably won’t get the chance to make it this time.

    I was thinking of using hazelnuts though, but wasn’t ready to pay $5 for double what I needed from Trader Joe’s. Maybe another time. =) Can’t wait to see all yours!

  15. Just finished mine up. I used a different crust recipe that Ive been wanting to try and was sorry that I did. It cracked all over the place and I didnt save enough dough to seal them all up. And I really didnt want to make another one. So, the cracked crust went to the big show. Caramel came together easily. I opted for rice krispys instead of nuts bc the kids hate nuts and I didnt have any on hand anyway. Not sure if the krispys will sog up or not. Too much ganache, so I put the excess in the fridge for the pudding as someone suggested. Tart is in the fridge now. Cant wait!

  16. I just took my tart dough out of the oven. I wish I would have remembered this from the last time I made one, I ended up with a rather thick bottomed crust. The sides should be higher, hence it won’t hold as much. sigh

    I keep reading that everyone had extra ganache, I wonder if I let the ganache that will fit cool and harden, then add the rest of the ganache. Wonder if that would work … hmm

  17. I had just the right amount of ganache for my 9″ tart pan. I subbed in pecans for the peanuts and toasted them and sprinkled them with a little sea salt. I think it would be great to use buttered pecans, too. I’m just not a peanut fan.
    I served it with whipped cream, which made it extra good. Honestly the whipped cream made it seem a little less rich, if that tells you anything about the richness of the ganache.

    Oh, mine was refrigerated for well over 1/2 an hour before serving and it was fine. My huband also took the leftovers to work today and they didn’t appear soggy this morning.

  18. Well I made mine and my problem was that the crust. I made 4 mini tarts and 2 of them stuck to the foil so the bottoms and sides crumbled up. It wasn’t really fixable, so I just made put the caramel and ganache on top and figure DH and I will eat those since they will be messy. I had a lot of extra ganache and a little extra tart dough, so I may try it again tomorrow and use something else to replace the caramel.

  19. EXTRA GANACHE NOTE: For anyone that still hasn’t made this, I also had extra ganache, however, after I placed the tart in the fridge for the ganache chill step, after 20 minutes I added the remaining ganache to the top and spread it out. Worked perfectly, nothing extra. While it was still liquid that wouldn’t have worked.

  20. About to put crust in the oven.

    On another note, I promised my pilates trainer that I would do the baking for her post-Race for the Cure luncheon on Saturday. She will have a group of breast cancer survivors there and I want to do make something really special. I was thinking that I should do something in the signature pink of the event, and was thinking of something lemon. Any ideas? Should I just do cupcakes with pink frosting and a lemon tart or . . . any suggestions appreciated.

  21. Sorry I missed this one. Time just got away from me and I didn’t have the chance to make it on time. I’ll have to give this one a try later!

  22. I made this a couple of weeks ago. I used honey roasted cashews (from Whole Foods) because I don’t like peanuts. It came out awesome. I really liked that the crust did not have to be rolled out because that always scares me. Pushing it in was easy and it looked great, despite my lack of skill. I’m definitely going to make this for my book club next month.

  23. This was delicious – how could it not be with chocolate, caramel, honey roasted nuts and pastry?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I halved the recipe but wish that I had made the entire thing – it might have given me a chance for “seconds” but no such luck……

    The crust (slightly overbaked – thanks for suggestion Dorie) was a great learning experience – I still need to work on this skill.

    For the first time – the caramel was a success. Nancy’s suggestion re: lifting the pan was a huge help and kept things under control…… that is one thing I appreciate about this site – all the suggestions and ideas to help make things successful!

    Our neighbor sampled some scraps when she stopped by the other day and asked if I would make two tarts for the card party she is hosting next week…… supplies (for three tarts!!!) were on the porch last night. I hope #3 is for us…..on yeah!!!!!

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