Chocolate and Caramel Tart with Port Ganache

by Monica Glass

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An adaptation of Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart from her book Baking: From My Home to Yours, the luscious combination of chocolate, caramel and port offers a burst of flavors that delicately melt on your tongue. A silky port ganache conceals a layer of creamy, yet crunchy walnut caramel for a delightful contrast. Rather than use Dorie’s dough, we opted for a chocolate crust to magnify the chocolate intensity. The recipe can be prepared as one large tart, but we prefer the adorable charm of individual tarts. We also recommend serving at room temperature for the most luxurious texture, and within a day or two of being made.

Makes one 9 inch tart or one dozen 3 inch tartlets

Ingredients

For the tart dough:
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1½ cups flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt

For the walnut caramel:
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup heavy cream, warmed
Pinch salt
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

For the port ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60-72%)
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Pinch salt
¼ cup ruby port

Equipment

Stand Mixer
Rolling Pin
Silpat Mat
Tart Molds – either (1) 9-inch pan or (12) 3-inch molds

Preparation

Prepare the tart dough:
Cream the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until combined. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt, and mix on low speed until just combined, being careful not to overmix the dough. Gather the dough into a ball and form a flat disk onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days.

[Chef’s Note: Allowing the freshly made dough to relax and chill before rolling out will ensure easier rolling, as the dough will not be as elastic and stretchy.]

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Roll the dough into a 12×18 inch rectangle or 12 inch circle (depending upon your tart pan shape), about 1/8 inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. If making one large tart, carefully roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to the pan. Press the dough into the pan, making sure to press all the way to the edges and up the sides, and then trim away any excess dough. If making individual tarts, cut out 12 rounds using a 4 inch round cutter and press them into the molds. Chill the tart shells for an hour, or up to 3 days.

[Chef’s Note: Chilling the shells at this point prevents the dough from tightening and shrinking while baking. If you’ve ever baked a tart or pie shell and had it shrink to lose half of the height, chances are your dough was not well chilled before baking.]

Line the large tart shell with foil or parchment paper and fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights to prevent the center from puffing up. You do not need to do this if you are making the smaller shells. Bake the larger shell for 15 minutes (smaller for 10 minutes), remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5-7 minutes to brown and set the center. Cool completely.

Prepare the walnut caramel:
Place the sugar, water and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Brush down the sides of the pan with water to remove any sugar granules and prevent crystallization. Cook over medium high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it turns an amber caramel, about 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and carefully whisk in the butter, then the heavy cream and salt until smooth. Stand back and use extreme caution because the mixture will bubble up and steam. Stir in the walnuts. Remove from heat and allow the caramel to cool slightly. While still warm, pour the caramel into the tart shell (or shells) and let cool until set, about 1 hour.

Prepare the port ganache:
Combine the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Place the chocolate in a separate bowl, and pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for a few minutes to melt. Whisk the chocolate until smooth, then add the butter and salt and continue to whisk until entirely melted and incorporated. Add the port and whisk until emulsified and completely smooth.

Pour the ganache over the caramel while still warm and fluid, and let set at room temperature for 2-4 hours before serving.

Service

Each component can be made up to 3 days in advance, but the tarts should be assembled only 1 day in advance or the day of service to maintain freshness and crispness in the shell. Serve at room temperature for best consistency and taste.
Recipe and photo by Monica Glass

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tony January 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

I will try Chocolate and Caramel Tart in my home. Thanks.

carole March 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I tried Dorie’s original recipe last night and although I followed caramel recipe exactly, I ended up with rock hard caramel the moment I poured into bowl. Can’t figure out what went wrong but was searching web to see if error in recipe and found your revised recipe. Noticed your caramel recipe is significantly different and wondered if you tried the original and had a similar problem.

Ashley Hoober February 25, 2016 at 9:07 pm

Seems delicious!! I usually end up drizzling dark (or white) chocolate on the top of the tart. You can make cool designs and really impress people. In no time you’re a professional desert maker!!! ha!

Great post!

Ashley

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