My Recipe Box

Chocolate Caramel-Almond Tart

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Serves eight.

  • To learn more, read:
    Caramel
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 95

Lightly sweetened whipped cream is the perfect counterpoint to chocolate and caramel.

For the crust
  • 4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling the dough
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
For the caramel-almond layer
  • 3/4 cup blanched whole almonds
  • 1 recipe Basic Caramel
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
For the chocolate layer
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 oz. (1 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

Make the crust: Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal with some pea-size butter pieces, 5 to 7 one-second pulses. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. ice-cold water over the flour mixture and process until the dough just begins to come together in small, marble-size clumps. Don't overprocess; the dough should not form a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape it into a thick 4-inch-diameter disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill until firm enough to roll, about 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 11-inch circle, lifting and rotating it often, while lightly dusting the work surface and the dough with flour as necessary. Transfer the dough to a 9-1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Roll the pin over the top of the pan to trim the excess dough. Lightly prick the bottom of the dough with a fork at 1/2-inch intervals. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm it up.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Line the dough with aluminum foil and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully lift the foil (and the weights) out of the tart pan and bake the crust until golden brown along the top edge and in some spots on the bottom, 13 to 17 minutes. Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Raise the oven temperature to 375°F.

Make the caramel-almond layer

Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the oven until golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool briefly and then chop coarsely.

Make the Basic Caramel according to the directions. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up furiously. Once the bubbling has subsided, add the butter and stir until completely melted. Whisk in the vanilla, salt, and almonds until the nuts are completely coated. Pour the hot caramel mixture into the cooled tart shell, using a heatproof spatula to scrape the pot clean and distribute the nuts evenly in the shell. Let cool for 30 minutes and then refrigerate until the caramel is completely chilled, about 1 hour.

Make the chocolate layer

Put the chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over low heat and stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Pour over the caramel layer and tilt the pan as needed to smooth the chocolate into an even layer that covers the caramel. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Serve the tart with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if you like.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 470; Fat (g): fat g 30; Fat Calories (kcal): 270; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 15; Protein (g): protein g 6; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 47; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 125; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 65; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Made the recipe as is for a dinner party and they were very impressed with the look and the taste. The crust had some small holes in it after I baked it, but once you put the filling it, it was fine. My husband wants me to try a dumbed down version with peanuts instead of almonds, and milk chocolate instead of bittersweet.

This is a fantastic tart. The recipe looks intimidating at first. That's partly because of the long, involved pastry recipe. However, the person who gave me the recipe also included a much easier pastry recipe, which she likes better: 1 c. flour, 2 T. powdered sugar, 1/2 c. butter cut into pieces. Process in food processor and press into greased 9-inch tart pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 8 minutes. The rest of the steps are easy, although you do have to wait for the caramel to chill before "applying" the chocolate. I couldn't find whole blanched almonds, so I used slivered almonds. Makes no difference at all. Whatever, it's well worth the effort.

Yum! This was a great tasting dessert and I will definitely make it again (also, my guest has asked for the recipe). The only reason it didn't get five stars is that it takes awhile to make; it's the kind of recipe where you do something, then wait 20 minutes, do something else, wait for awhile, and so on. Nothing about it was actually difficult, though (at any rate, I'm not a knowledgeable baker and I still managed it just fine). Regardless, I liked the dessert so much that I consider the recipe a keeper, even if it takes awhile. Oh, and for any of you who want to make an extra batch of the basic caramel in order to make shapes with it . . . I learned you should make the shapes on parchment paper (I sprayed mine with cooking spray) and you can use cookie cutters sprayed with cooking oil; just fill them to about a quarter inch depth so they are more likely not to crack when you pop the shape out after it has hardened. UPDATE: I've upped my rating to 5 stars even though this is a go-stop-go recipe because . . . everyone loves it, many people have requested the recipe, and it is just so darn delicious! Some notes about the crust . . . . Don't worry if it slumps a little as it bakes; mine always does, but the filling still manages to fit in fine and then no one can tell. Also, I found you REALLY should heed the part of the recipe that says to move and turn the crust frequently while you're rolling it; if you don't, you can't pick it up without tearing it. Finally, I found that making the crust in summer when the kitchen is really hot can be tricky . . . maybe the butter warms up too fast? Anyway, I adapted by rolling the crust and getting it into the pan as best I could, then fixing the crust with an improvised mini rolling pin right in the pan.

My clients absolutely loved this, I substituted roasted hazlenuts and rolled some chopped toasted nuts into a premade crust and it was devine.

My clients absolutely loved this, I substituted roasted hazlenuts and rolled some chopped toasted nuts into a premade crust and it was devine.

I would suggest baking the crust a little longer, it would have had more flavor.

Great but takes awhile to make for an amateur like me. The crust cracked during its baking so when I put the caramel in it started to seep out a little. In the end it was great.

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