This Chocolate Crunch Caramel Tart with a Pâte Sablée Crust is just beyond fabulous! A buttery, tender shortbread-like crust is the vessel for crunchy honey roasted peanuts in a homemade caramel which is topped with chocolate ganache. You just won’t even believe how good it is…and it’s not hard at all to make.
Dorie Greenspan is the best-selling author of Baking with Julia, as well as Baking – From My Home to Yours. The New York Times heralded her as a “culinary guru,” and her book Baking – From My Home to Yours has been described as “a masterpiece,” “a new classic,” “a bible,” and “a baker’s dream.” This recipe certainly illustrates why all of those testimonies are so true.
It’s not often that I will make a recipe and not alter it in one way or another. In this case, it was just not possible to improve on the perfection that is this tart. If you like chocolate and gooey caramel and crunchy nuts and a sweet, buttery, crust…I’m telling you right now, you have got to make this tart!
While there are several steps, it really is a simple recipe. In the recipe, Dorie Greenspan was multi-tasking and making all the layers at the same time. I found it much easier to make the crust and have it completely cooled before I started on the caramel and then finally the ganache. This enabled me to pour the caramel directly into the cooled crust, and to add the ganache directly onto the caramel layer.
Not only is this recipe delicious, it’s gorgeous, and a chocolate lover’s dream. It’s really rich, though…so small slices are recommended. *wink*
Make this! You will impress everyone who eats it and you will thank Dorie Greenspan from the bottom of your heart.
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 1½ cups All-Purpose Flour
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- FOR THE CARAMEL:
- Scant ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
- (Pinch of salt if you are not using salted butter)
- 1 cup honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- FOR THE GANACHE:
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ stick unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
- FOR THE CRUST:
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt.
- Pulse a couple of times to combine.
- Add the butter pieces to the dry ingredients.
- Pulse until the butter is cut in and no larger than the size of a pea.
- Add the egg yolk and pulse to combine.
- Once the egg is in, do 10 second pulses until the dough forms clumps and curds (you will notice the motor change sounds,,,this indicates it is ready)
- Turn out onto a work surface and press to combine any crumbs.
- Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides. You want the dough to come together, but not to press it so hard it loses it's crumbly texture.
- Freeze the crust for 30 minutes (longer is fine).
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and place the butter side of the foil down on the surface of the frozen crust (because it is frozen, you won't need weights).
- Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and into the preheated oven.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 8 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow the tart pan to cool on a wire rack.
- FOR THE CARAMEL:
- Bring the heavy cream to a boil then remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, put a large sauce pan over medium-heat.
- Sprinkle in about 3 tablespoons of the sugar.
- When it melts, stir it with a wooden spatula or a fork and sprinkle over another 3 tablespoons.
- When that sugar is melted, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar — the sugar in the pan may already have started to color, and that’s fine.
- Stir in the corn syrup and boil the syrup until it reaches a deep caramel color — it will probably begin to smoke, and that’s normal.
- Standing back from the pan, stir in the butter (and the salt if you're using unsalted butter).
- The caramel will bubble furiously and may spatter, so make sure you are standing back.
- When the butter is in, add the warm cream — the caramel will bubble furiously again. Lower the temperature to medium-low heat and let the caramel boil for just 2 minutes. (If you want to check on a thermometer, the caramel should be at 226° F).
- Add the peanuts to the hot caramel and pour into the cooled crust.
- FOR THE GANACHE:
- Put the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and have a whisk or a rubber spatula ready.
- Bring the cream to a boil, then pour half of it over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds.
- Using the whisk or spatula, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at the center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles.
- Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motion.
- When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don’t stir the ganache any more than you must to blend the ingredients — the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be.
- Tap the sides of the bowl to break any surface bubbles, pour the ganache over the caramel and jiggle the tart pan to even it.
- Refrigerate the tart for 30 minutes — no longer — then keep it at room temperature until serving time. BUT...it's actually very good served cold too.