These chocolate caramel tarts are perfect to end a romantic meal for two, a crisp pastry shell holds indulgent soft caramel and dark chocolate layers. They don’t need to long to bake and much of the tart can be made up in advance. The caramel layer has chopped hazelnuts added, this is recommended but it is optional, if you plan on removing the nuts then make more caramel to fill the bases. Although we class these as a Valentines Day treat, they are great at anytime of the year, especially if you’re worth it all by yourself.
Chocolate Caramel Tarts
For the pastry
- 275g plain flour
- 140g Butter, diced and softened
- 80g caster sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
For the caramel layer
- 60g Butter
- 85ml single (light) Cream
- 110g soft light brown sugar
- (optional) 150g roasted Hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
For the chocolate layer
- 225ml double cream
- 225g dark chocolate
- Cocoa powder or icing (powdered) sugar to sprinkle over
- White and Dark chocolate twirls for garnish
- optional: softly whipped cream
Making the pastry by hand: Sieve in the flour into a mixing bowl then with your finger-tips rub in the diced, softened, butter until the flour reaches the breadcrumb stage, then mix in the sugar and then the beaten egg. Bring the pastry together, adding in a little extra flour if the pastry is a little wet.
Making the pastry in a Food Processor: Place the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor. Blend for a few seconds, then add half the beaten egg, and continue whizzing. You might need to add a little more egg, but don’t add too much — it should just come together.
With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough till it is about 3cm thick, cover it, and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes (or make it up in advance and covered it will keep fresh for a couple of days in the fridge).
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Take the pastry out of the fridge and using a rolling pin, on a floured work surface, roll it out thinly until it is no thicker than 3mm. Cut out two rounds of pastry, round and large enough to line the base and sides of the two small tart tins (use 12 cm tins). Press the pastry into the edges of the tin and up the sides (very carefully as the pastry is so thin). Then using your thumb, ‘cut’ the pastry on the edge of the tin to make the top neat – you can scallop the edges to give the top a little pattern. Pop the pastry lined tins in the freezer for five minutes or a cold fridge for ten.
Blind baking the pastry: Line the pastry in the tins with greaseproof/parchment paper when cold. Fill with baking beans, or dried pulses, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the pastry feels dry to the touch.
Remove the paper and beans, brush all over with a little beaten egg yolk and return to the oven for 2 minutes. Take out of the oven, and set the pastry tins aside while you prepare the filling. (This can easily be made a day in advance, and covered until you need it.)
To make the hazelnut caramel layer: place the butter, cream and brown sugar in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the hazelnuts and allow to cool. Spread the cooled mixture over the cooked tart shell.
To make the chocolate layer: place the cream and chocolate in a pan on a very low heat, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and allow to cool, to almost room temperature. Spread the mixture carefully over the hazelnut caramel in the pastry case so that it sits on top as a layer.
Chill in the fridge for 1 hour, until the chocolate layer is set. To serve: dust the tart with sifted cocoa powder (or icing sugar) add the chocolate twirls and serve. Optional: serve with some softly whipped cream.