Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart

Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart

There are total of four layers in this tart and I’m not counting the tart crust as a layer. At the very bottom there are honey roasted salted peanuts covered with fleur de sel caramel. Then goes a layer of barely sweetened tangy sour cream-cream cheese mousse followed by the milk chocolate pastry cream. The egg whites left over after making pâte sablée and pastry cream were turned into Swiss meringue topping and then blow-torched. It tasted fantastic. Every layer is equally thin (well, except the Swiss meringue) and harmoniously compliments each other. The filling is sweet and salty, and creamy; the crust is buttery, chocolaty, crispy and tender.

Some components can be made in advance, but the assembled tart should be enjoyed (and it’s pure enjoyment) the same day it is put together.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who hasn’t celebrated their Thanksgiving yet! And I’m off until Saturday. I’ve got a lot of catch up to do visiting your blogs, guys. I haven’t had a lot of time lately, so – my apologies.

Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart

Makes one 3 x 14-inch rectangle tart (or one 9-inch round tart), 10 to 12 servings

For the tart crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tbsp (9 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and frozen for 20 minutes.
  • 2 large egg yolks (reserve the whites)

For the fleur de sel caramel layer:

  • ½ cup salted honey roasted peanuts
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • Tiny pinch cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp (6 tbsp) whipping cream, heated until hot (it will reduce splatter)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp fleur de sel

For the cream cheese-sour cream mousse layer:

  • ¼ cup cold whipping cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp fine granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

For the milk chocolate pastry cream (the recipe of the pastry cream is adapted from Pierre Hermé):

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large egg yolks (reserve the whites)
  • 3 tbsp (38 g) sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch (12g), sifted
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 oz (125g) good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 ¼ tbsp (20g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Swiss meringue topping:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup fine granulated sugar
  • ¼ kosher salt

Make the tart crust:

Sift the flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder and salt, put them in a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the flour mixture and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. Stir the egg yolks and add them a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the yolks are in, process in long pulses until the dough forms clumps, don’t wait until a ball forms. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead very lightly just to incorporate any dry ingredients that have not been mixed in. Pat the dough into a ½-inch thick disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Butter a 3×14 rectangle or 9-inch round fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Roll the dough between the parchment paper into 1/8-inch thickness and then transfer it into the tart pan. Dock the bottom of the crust with a folk and freeze it for at least 30 minutes. If you are not planning to bake right away, wrap the crust in plastic tightly and keep in the freezer until needed. Do not defrost before baking!

When ready to continue, preheat the oven to 350 F. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the tart shell with parchment paper or several large overlapping coffee filters (they are soft and don’t damage the crust). Fill the crust with dry beans or pie weights up to the rim and bake for about 15 minutes, until set. Take the tart shell out of the oven, let it sit on a rack for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the pie weights and parchment paper. Return the tart crust back into the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes until fully baked. Transfer the crust in its pan to the cooling rack and cool completely before filling. Do not unmold the tart crust at this point.

Make the fleur de sel caramel layer:

Stir together the sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a high-sided medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, then raise the heat to moderately high and boil without stirring, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, until the syrup turns deep amber in color. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream. The mixture is extremely hot and will bubble up. Keep your face and hands far away from the pot. Stir with a long-handled wooden spoon until combined. Add the butter, then vanilla extract, and the fleur de sel. Cool until warm but still pourable.

The salted caramel can be made several sdays in advance and kept refrigerated. Rewarm before pouring over the peanuts in the tart shell.

Scatter the honey roasted peanuts over the bottom of the tart shell. Pour the salted caramel sauce over the peanuts. Refrigerate to firm up the caramel, for about an hour.

Make the cream cheese-sour cream mousse layer:

In a small bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer, whip the cream until it holds medium peaks. Set aside for a moment.

In another small bowl, using the same hand-held electric mixer with the same attachment (to minimize a cleanup), whip the cream cheese with the granulated sugar until lump-free, smooth and light. Mix in the sour cream, then vanilla extract. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture in two additions until incorporated. Spread the cream cheese mousse over the chilled caramel-peanut layer.

Make the milk chocolate pastry cream (the recipe of the pastry cream is adapted from Pierre Hermé):

It’s advisable to make the pastry cream in advance, so, you could smoothly proceed with the following tart assembly. The pastry cream can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface.

Prepare an ice bath.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to a boiling point. Meanwhile, combine the yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium bowl, whisk until combined.

Once the milk has reached the boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture. Pour the egg yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan and place the pan over the medium heat whisking vigorously and continuously until the mixture returns to the boil. Keep whisking energetically for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat). Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat. Quickly strain the pastry cream into a clean bowl set in the ice-water bath. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so it remains smooth.

Once the cream has reached the temperature of 140F, remove the bowl from the ice-water bath and stir in the butter in two additions. Return the cream to the ice-water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge. In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream surface.

Evenly spread the milk chocolate pastry cream over the cream cheese mousse layer.

Now carefully unmold the tart and transfer it onto a serving platter.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you are making the Swiss meringue topping.

Make the Swiss meringue topping:

Bring 1 inch of water to a very light simmer in a wide skillet. In a bowl of the stand mixer, lightly whisk the egg whites, sugar, and salt together, then set the bowl in the hot water. Whisk constantly until the egg-white mixture is hot to the touch and an instant read thermometer reads 140F. It will take 2 to 4 minutes. Place the bowl with the egg whites to the stand mixer base and whip with a wire attachment on medium-high speed until double in volume and cool; the meringue should not move around in the bowl when you are finished. It takes about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a large star (or plain) tip and pipe tall kisses over the chocolate pastry cream layer. Following a manufacturer’s instruction and applying all necessary safety measures, blow-torch the meringue. Serve.

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47 Responses to “Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart”

  1. This is one of the most beautiful desserts I have ever seen! I cannot wait to try it!!!

  2. OMG, that tart looks fantastic! A wonderful treat! Pretty, refined and scrumptious…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. oh you take me to heaven Vera. What a sight first thing in the morning. You are such a tease. Perfectly layered with all the decadent flavors one needs for a sugar fix!

  4. What a beautiful dessert! Very artistic, impressive and charming!
    The meringue is also cute! It seems they are chatting :)
    Also I’m sure I’ll love the taste too. You made me happy again. Thank you!

  5. I like how pretty all they layers make it look once you’ve cut into it. It looks really delicious!

  6. How beautiful!! I love the complexity of a multi-layered dessert, especially when each layer is as thin and even as yours!! I’m sure it tasted fantastic!!

  7. OMG! If perfection exists you’re probably very close!

  8. This tart is amazingly beautiful and I’m sure it also tastes sooo good! I’ll make it for the next special occasion!
    BTW – the new look of your blog is really beautiful! Congratulations!

  9. Sounds and looks like a mouth orgy waiting to happen :D

  10. How delicious and luscious looking. A lot of work but definitely worth it judging by the pictures and description!

    btw love the new look!

  11. Oh Vera! Can you send one of these my way? It’s gorgeous. Would like to add this to my holiday table, but I’m afraid I’m running out of time to make it.

  12. Very cute. I love the blow torching the meringue adds such a wonderful touch to the photo. I can see this in mini individual portion sizes. They would be so cute.

  13. Wow— this is beautiful and looks so good. I really want a mini-blowtorch now…

  14. WoW!!! The new look of your blog is amazing, and the tart is… I haven´t word to say you something about this…

    ana

  15. WOW! I’m intimidated and intrigued all at the same time. I really want to try this!

  16. Oh WOW – that is gorgeous and sounds insanely delicious. YUM! Hope you have a great holiday!

  17. oh my. it’s like one giant and extremely decadent candy bar, but better. much better. this tart is going into the abyss of bookmarked recipes, but placed right at the top of the list. :)

  18. why is it always so indecently mouthwatering here ???????
    very nice tart and very nice new-looking blog, I love it !!!!!

  19. I love the new page design. The tart looks amazing, so many layers of deliciousness.

  20. Woman, you make me want to go home with my tail between my legs. You are so good at taste, presentation, beauty, all of it.

  21. Oh, that is just beautiful, and what an awesome presentation! Would love to try this!

  22. Wow, I love the new look, Vera! Very elegant, just like your beautiful desserts!

  23. This is so beautiful. I’d be so proud to serve this to my guests.

  24. Oh wow! I like your new look, Vera.
    The dessert looks awesome. :)

  25. Omg impressive! Btw, I love your blog, all you pictures are amazing!

  26. Geez, this looks delicious!!!!!

  27. Thank you very much for the comments! Your visits mean a lot to me!

  28. WOW! Roasted peanuts, cream cheese mousse and chocolate cream…those layers look so decadent!

  29. This looks an sounds fantastic, and combines so many of my favourite things! I wanna slice!

  30. thank god i’m not a sweet tooth!
    nice looking blog…..

  31. Happy Thanksgiving to you too Vera! That tart is one amazing beauty! Love it!

  32. The tart looks delicious Vera. Thank you for your warm wishes and happy thanksgiving to you too!

  33. I bet those salty roasted peanuts complement those other gooey and chocolatey ingredients quite nicely :)! That layer with the sour cream sounds so interesting, I like how this dessert incorporates so many different flavors.

  34. Just gorgeous, I can only imagine how delicous your creations are! Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  35. Wow, looks awesome!

  36. That tart is absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to find the time to try it. Just so beautiful to look at!

  37. This is incredible, this tart looks sooooo decadent !

  38. Wow. That looks amazing!

  39. This looks fabulous! I have never had salte caramel before but the tart looks so elegant and I love chocolate!

  40. Oh holy cow! My mouth fell open when I saw this, and then started watering as I read the description. That is the image of perfection.

    P.S. love the new look of your blog… very clean and crisp!

  41. Thank you all very much! Glad you liked the tart as I did!

  42. This is simply stunning.

    I would love to make this for a dinner party I’m hosting on Sunday, but was wondering how long the swiss meringue topping would hold?

    Can I assemble the entire tart and blow torch it just before serving? Or can I do all of it in advance and store it in the fridge? What would you suggest?

    Many thanks in advance.

  43. Shannon, you can do everything several hours in advance including the blow torching. This meringue is quite stable. Keep the tart in the refrigerator.
    And a word of advice. You will slice the tart easier and neater if the meringue kisses are piped in rows, so you could position a knife between them.

  44. gosh.. you make me droolll…! AMAZING Vera! =)

  45. I love your creativity, absolutely adorable!

    I will need to follow your instruction to make the Swiss meringue for a Florida pie that I made last night. I failed at making the meringue miserably! The instruction I followed had asked to put the egg whites and sugar directly on the stove top until “hot to the touch”. Well, since it was my first time making the meringue, I wasn’t exactly sure what exactly is “hot to the touch” so I accidently allowed it to become “scrambled” egg whites at the bottom. Needless to say, I was very disappointed! BUT….I’ll go ahead and do another batch of Swiss meringue, following your instruction !

    Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  46. Followed this recipe. Simply amazing. Couldn’t get the swiss meringue to pipe as stiff and tall as yours pictured, but nevertheless ewveryone loved it.

  47. you are THE baking guru

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