chocolate caramel tart

Shortly after my husband and I began dating — the dark ages; no seriously, his phone at the time looked like this and I was like whoa, look how fancy you are, dude — we went on a road trip somewhere, stopped at a gas station, and I told him to grab something candy-ish, surprise me. This boy came back to the car with a pack of Rolos, and honestly, it’s amazing we didn’t break up right then and there because Rolos are terrible candy and it’s about time someone said it. [Oh I can hear the reverberations of a thousand unfollows but I will absolutely die on this hill, and remain undeterred.] They’re gooey so they give off the appearance, the suggestion, of being good candy but the goo tastes like nothing. I feel this way about all caramel that appears inside candy bars, which tastes me more like thickened corn syrup than anything toasty and nuanced. Plus, they’re inside a milk chocolate shell, so it’s sweet against sweet, no contrast whatsoever, and so help you if you don’t eat them in a single bite, I hope you enjoy having sticky hands for the rest of the drive. I know, I know what you’re thinking: it’s an absolute mystery how I ended up with such a picky child.

In my unsolicited opinion, three things could improve Rolos: a real toasty, buttery caramel, the contrast of dark chocolate, and a bit of salt. As good caramel is gooey, we’re not going to fight it, but that’s what plates and forks are for.

dry ingredients for shellblend up the crustchocolate tart crustpressed in and trimmedfoil tightly, no weightsmelt the sugar and cook until amberadd butter, then creamblurry poured caramelcooled caramel layerchopped chocolate or chipschocolate and creamspread the ganache

Claudia Fleming knows this. Owner and pastry chef at the North Fork Table & Inn on Long Island, she’s even more famous famous for her years as pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, where she led the way in redefining high-end desserts with American flavors. Her 2001 book, The Last Course, has been out of print so long, don’t even exhaust yourself trying to track it down, but in the new Genius Desserts* book from Food52, which includes some treats from Kristen Miglore long-running Genius Recipes column plus new worthy inclusions, it gets a revisit. In the notes, Miglore explains that when Fleming introduced the tart, which is finished with flaky sea salt, notable amounts of salt in desserts was still considered something new and unusual; she had to talk people into it. How times have delightfully changed (for phones too).

chocolate caramel tart

I do not imagine that Fleming was inspired by glove compartment Rolos, but this tart gets the idea of them so right, including a bittersweet chocolate ganache on tart, which reins in the sweetness of what is basically a fork-and-knife vehicle for very good caramel. The tart base is wonderful; it tastes like a good chocolate cookie. And the mess? At her restaurants, Fleming serves this as small single-serving tarts that hold everything in neatly. But I find that even made in a larger pan, you have about a minute after you slice the tart before the caramel escapes, more than enough time to get it to your plate where it is yours and yours alone to enjoy, as it should be.

chocolate caramel tart

* Not to toot my own horn too much, but there’s a Smitten Kitchen recipe in there too (Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats) and another one in the bonus packet of recipes they couldn’t fit in the book but wanted to (Gooey Cinnamon Squares, from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, a mashup of snickerdoodles and gooey butter cake).


One year ago: Dutch Apple Pie
Two years ago: Chocolate Caramel Crunch Almonds + New Kitchen Favorites
Three years ago: Date Breakfast Squares, Parsley Pecorino Biscuits and Potato Kugel
Four years ago: Cranberry Pie with Thick Pecan Crumble and Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale
Five years ago: Cigarettes Russes Cookies
Six years ago: Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate and Cashew Butter Balls
Seven years ago: Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies
Eight years ago: Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms
Nine years ago: Cappucino Fudge Cheesecake and Balsamic-Braised Brussels with Pancetta
Ten years ago: Cauliflower Gratin, Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust and Veselka’s Cabbage Soup and Brown Butter Brown Sugar Shorties
Eleven years ago: Nutmeg Maple Cream Pie, Chile-Garlic Egg Noodles
Twelve years ago: Jacked-Up Banana Bread, Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Watermelon and Cucumber Salad
1.5 Years Ago: Broccoli Rubble Farro Salad and The Red and The Black
2.5 Years Ago: Almond-Rhubarb Picnic Bars, Cucumber Yogurt Raita Salad and Chicken Gyro Salad
3.5 Years Ago: Swirled Berry Yogurt Popsicles, Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, and Pink Lemonade
4.5 Years Ago: Nancy’s Chopped Salad

Chocolate Caramel Tart

    Three things:
  1. I know caramel can be scary to make but I beg you to try it anyway because it’s just cooked sugar. That’s it. Repeat this to yourself as needed. You don’t need a thermometer. Fleming doesn’t give a temperature goal; she’s trying to keep it simple. Look for an amber/light copper color and that’s it, you’re there. Don’t look for what I did above; I overcooked it. I used it anyway; it’s faintly bitter but nobody minds.
  2. Someone gave me a gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma for Hanukah a few years ago, which led to me buying a bunch of things that nobody really needs but bring me great joy, such as a rectangular tart pan, so I used it here. It holds 75% of the volume of the recipe below, written for a standard (9.5/10-inch round) tart pan. If you have one and want to use it, just use 75% of every ingredient below and you’ll be set. Oh, and go ahead and use the whole egg yolk in the crust. It won’t cause problems.
  3. Finally, this is not the recipe as Fleming wrote it; you can find her version in the book and throughout the web. I have a lazier way to make tart crusts that I prefer, and I’d be crazy not to tell you about it.

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (70 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Caramel filling
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) water
  • 1/4 cup (80 grams) light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) creme fraiche or sour cream
  • Pinch or two flaky sea salt
  • Ganache topping
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (Fleming requests your “best quality”)
  • Pinch or two flaky sea salt

Make chocolate crust in a food processor: Pulse sugar, flour, and cocoa powder until mixed. Add butter and run the machine until it’s finely chopped and basically disappears into the dry mixture. Add yolk and vanilla and run the machine — not just pulse it — until the mixture begins to clump. It make take 30 seconds, but it will begin to form clumps.

Make chocolate crust in a stand mixer: In bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, flour, confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. It’s going to be bumpy at first but keep letting the machine bang it up until it is softened, and keep beating until smooth. Scrape down sides. Add egg yolk and vanilla, and mix until blended. With this method, if the mixture feels too soft to press into a crust, wrap it in waxed or parchment paper and refrigerate it until mostly firm.

Press crust into bottom and up sides of a 9.5- to 10-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom (for easier release). Keep a quarter-sized ball of crust aside to patch cracks later, if needed. Transfer pan to freezer and freeze until solid, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Bake crust: Prick frozen crust with a fork, coat a piece of foil with nonstick spray, and press it oiled-side-down tightly against the frozen crust, so it is fully molded to the shape. Bake tart with foil (no pie weights needed) for 15 minutes, then carefully, gently, a little at a time, peel back foil and discard. If cracks have form, this is when you patch them with reserved dough. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes more, until pastry looks dry and set. Let cool on a rack while you make the caramel.

Make caramel: In a large saucepan with a light-colored interior (this will make it easier to see the caramel’s color), combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup, then turn heat to medium-high. Cook undisturbed (no stirring needed, just tilt and swirl the pan if it looks uneven but really this shouldn’t be very necessary) until the sugar takes on an amber or pale copper color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the butter — it’s going to boil up and steam, be careful — until melted, then the cream and creme fraiche or sour cream and a couple pinches of salt, until smooth. Pour into prepared crust. Let caramel set in the fridge until cool and firm, about an hour.

Make ganache: Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and bring cream to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and let sit undisturbed for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Pour it over cooled caramel layer, spreading evenly with a spatula or butter knife. Let set in the fridge, another hour, or until firm to the touch.

To serve: Sprinkle the top of the tart with flaky sea salt. A knife dipped in hot water cuts fairly cleanly, but slices will become messy within a minute of being cut, so try to get them to their plates quickly.

To store leftovers: Fleming recommends doing so at room temperature, but I think it makes things too messy. Spray two small strips of foil with nonstick spray and press them against the cut/open sides of the tart and wrap them tight; this will keep it from spilling out in the fridge. Tart should keep in the fridge for a week, not that I believe it will.

Leave a Reply to Amy J. Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

195 comments on chocolate caramel tart

  1. SallyT

    YESSSS! I made this for Thanksgiving, and LOVED IT. I’m also a huge fan of that rectangular tart pan, and think that everything looks better in it (also, I’m still sad that my FIL gave away all the extra tart!).

    (PS – flour is missing from the stand mixer instructions!)

    1. SallyT

      pps – I used Vahlrhona chocolate for the ganache, and 2 cups of sugar in the caramel = 400g. I found this very straightforward to make, despite looking complicated! Everyone should make it, like, now.

    1. LeAnne

      This recipe did not work at all for me. I weighed everything out and followed the directions to a T but obviously I didn’t cook the caramel long enough (I would have preferred the temperature method) and it was a runny sloppy mess of expensive ingredients down the drain. I had such high hopes. So disappointing.

      1. Pitz

        Hi Deb,
        This looks amazing and I’m with you on the Rolos. Any other pan substitution idea (trying to avoid buying a tart pan because kitchen storage space is at a very high premium at the moment)? Existing options are a springform, a Le Creuset dish pie and ramekins…
        Thank you!

        1. Harper

          I have a chocolate tart recipe that I’ve always done in a springform pan because I didn’t have a tart pan. Probably requires some exciting estimation in this case regarding how high up the sides to put the crust, but it seems like it ought to work?

          1. Amy

            I always use my springform pans in place of tart pans and they work beautifully! Just go up 1/2 or 3/4 of the way on the sides and make sure you cool long enough for it to come away from the side just a smidge and run a thin sharp knife around…. voila!

  2. aks8218

    I’m cooking for one, so individual tarts probably make more sense for me, as I (probably) wouldn’t eat the whole thing at once, and then I’d have a mess. I’ve got some little brioche pans that might work—would you adjust oven temp or cooking time for a smaller tart crust? It seems like crust size shouldn’t make a difference, but there maybe something I’m not thinking of!

      1. g

        If you make a larger number of smaller tarts, the edge-to-volume ratio will be higher, so you might need to make more crust relative to the amount of filling.

  3. Ginger

    Oh, gee. Thanks a lot! I have that rectangular tart pan and was delighted that FINALLY here was a recipe that would fit it. Then I read to *just* use 75% of the ingredients if using that tart pan. I would have to dig up Mrs. Mulroy from high school math class (she has been dead for 40 years) to figure that out. But instead I am going to use the overage in an individual tart pan and screw the math! I’m making your tangy brisket for Christmas and this will be dessert. Thanks, I think.

    1. deb

      Here are the measurements for the 13.5×4.25-inch rectangular tart:
      Crust: 6T butter, 6T + 2t powdered sugar, 1 large egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 15T flour
      Caramel: 1 1/2 cups sugar, 6T water, 3T corn syrup, 6T butter, 6T heavy cream, 1.5 creme fraiche
      Ganache: 6T heavy cream, 2.5oz chocolate

  4. JP

    Yes, it can “suck” to have a picky child, but I think you were planning to use the word such when you said “…how I ended up with suck a picky child”. Anna makes an awfully cute chef, however. Thanks for the new recipe!

  5. Jean

    So I’m not with you on the Rolos, but totally in your corner if the subject is Reeses peanut butter cups or Nutella…yech. Yes, I will die on that hill with you. The tart looks divine – once my oven is fixed I will give it a go. Apparently, oven doors are not rated for a 225 pound man to put his weight on.,,never mind.

  6. Mandy S.

    Since discovering golden syrup, I can’t remember the last time I used corn syrup. I assume golden syrup is an acceptable substitution for the corn syrup? (Did you try golden syrup, Deb?)

  7. Diana

    I have a health dietary restriction to avoid butter and coconut oil, as well as animal fats and even cocoa butter. Sigh. I LOVE caramel though. Can I make the caramel a) without the butters and b) use fat free half and half or other nonfat dairy in place of cream? Can one make faux ganache with cocoa? I am super sad thinking I’ll not have caramel or chocolate anymore.

    1. deb

      Caramel can be made without butter but I don’t think nonfat cream would be a good swap for cream because there’s other stuff in there that might not work in candy. I’d suggest coconut milk, since it’s fatty, but that’s out. Maybe an oatly or the like? Really not sure, though. But it can’t hurt to risk a single cup of sugar to experiment, right?

  8. Kate R.

    Ugh rolos are THE WORST. Thanks for fighting the good fight, Deb! My husband and I have had more than one heated argument about the topic :)

  9. Yes, I hate Rolos and the like! I once wrote a whole blog post for such junk called “sugar is not a flavor.”
    Your tart, now. WOW. I think I could only eat this with a glass of milk or a cup of black coffee.

  10. Melissa Holmes

    This looks so good! But I would need to make it gluten free. Would any flour substitute work, or is there a specific one you recommend?

      1. Casey

        For others looking for gluten-free subs: I made this with oat flour (the same volume called for in the recipe) and the resulting crust was similar in flavor and texture to the regular version, which I’ve also made recently. Not a perfect match, but an easy one to make with something you likely have around. Most importantly, the result was a very delicious dessert that everyone raved about.

    1. I am gluten free as well and find that America’s Test Kitchen has the absolute best gluten free flour blend (you can find it in their gluten free cookbooks or via their website). I started using it this year and have never looked back. Though you have to mix the different flours yourself, nothing has competed against them when it comes to flavor. I have tried making a few smitten kitchen recipes with this blend and they always come out great!

  11. Bridgit

    I “save” mediocre Halloween candy with the addition of pretzels and/or deeply toasted almonds. A roll, an almond and a pretzel together are quite good. Without those additions, I totally agree with you. Reisens, however, are a completely different story. (A few almonds and a mini box of mounds are one of my favorite afternoon pick me ups.) Looking forward to making this tart!

  12. nomaddcb

    I love making caramel, it makes me feel so accomplished!
    What temperature would you cook this caramel to? I find there is a lot of leeway as to being more like a sauce vs. something that sets up and can be cut, once the caramel browns nicely,

    1. deb

      I didn’t check the temperature and Fleming doesn’t suggest one, just to look for the right color. I don’t think this caramel will ever fully set up like a candy and that was the goal; she wanted it to be able to pour, just a little, out and not be a firm candy, which wouldn’t be enjoyable to eat with a fork and knife. I think it has more to do with the cream proportion.

    2. essbee

      248F (at the end, after dairy is added) makes a firm caramel suitable for slicing and wrapping, but won’t pull out your fillings. Based on the flow of the filling in the photos, and my experience with failure in making wrapped caramels, I’d suggest shooting for around 243-245F…240F is probably not hot enough and wouldn’t give you the “move to plate” time described in the article.

      1. JLH

        Thank you for suggesting a temperature. It isn’t reassuring to be told to go for “light or medium amber.” It doesn’t make it easier to not have a temperature, it makes it much harder and more stressful because you have no idea what you’re going for. Your idea of “light or medium amber” might not be what the recipe intends.

        I wish Deb would incorporate this into the recipe. I didn’t make this the first time I saw it because not having even an approximate temperature to shoot for and being reassured that this was “easier” was not helpful.

  13. Amy

    I live in a country where corn syrup is not readily available, what’s a good commonly available sub?

    By the way, I have loved every single one of your recipes I have tried, especially the salted chocolate chip cookies which disappear in about 5 mins in our house…

      1. Eve

        Have you ever tried subbing honey for corn syrup in recipes? I haven’t, but it’s an intriguing idea – available everywhere and almost everyone will eat it.

  14. Monique

    This is a question that I should figure out the answer to myself, sorry, but at what point does one take this tart shell out of the pan? Roughly at the same time the foil is peeled off? (literally on the Fante’s web site right now looking for a tart pan of this configuration and size, this looks so utterly amazing, thank you)

  15. KJ

    This looks delicious! I made your strawberry tart from the book yesterday to take to a party, and everyone loved it, so I’ll have to try this one next time

  16. Hey Deb,

    Can you update the metric measurements, pretty please? Many of them are missing, and the cream one should be in ml, not grams, right? Those of us on the other side of the pond thank you in advance! :)

      1. Heleen

        Hi, this recipe sounds amazing but… I’m confused: it now says 1/2 cup of heavy cream = 120 grams, I don’t think that’s correct. 1/2cup is 120ml, in case of heavy cream it will weigh more than 120 grams.
        (thanks for always adding metric measurements though!)

  17. BritishRobyns

    I encourage you to look at the Tributes recipe from the Hawksmoor restaurants in London. It’s in their cookbook. Dark chocolate plus salted caramel candies and a charming riddle on the takeaway box.

  18. Laurie Goodman

    Made this last night to serve after dinner tonight. It’s in the fridge and the ganache is super hard (and a little cracked but oh well). Wondering should I take it out and sit at room temp maybe before dinner? Don’t want it to shatter when I try to slice! Advice?

    1. essbee

      Yes, probably you should give it at least an hour (unless your kitchen is really hot from cooking dinner). If you have a sideboard in your dining area, you can set it out there to impress your guests and remind them to save room! ;-)

  19. Sandy Bloomer

    Hi Debbie: my tart pan is oblong 14 x 4.5” and I have a round one 10”, I want to try the oblong but which one would be best? Thanks Debbie 😉 This looks so yummy and I can make it 2 days before Christmas 👌

    1. Sandy Bloomer

      Dear Debbie, This time I read more thoroughly your recipe comments and read you used the tart pan. Reading comprehension has never been one of my strongest suits 😉

  20. Ish

    Deb, I have followed you, your blog, and your family for years. But I cannot in good faith stand by someone who doesn’t like Rolos! The horror!

  21. Carol Surine

    About the book The Last Course: there are 13 copies available from, but they are expensive! Price ranges from $149.00 – $408.12. Just thought you’d like to know!

    1. deb

      Yes, that’s what I meant. You can get it but it’s wildly expensive. For some time, they had a couple boxes for sale at the North Fork Table and Inn at cover price; I had some readers call and they paid the shipping and were sent them. But I’m fairly sure they’re long since gone. (It’s been many years.)

  22. JP

    I am guessing that you feel that way about Caramello by Cadbury, too? To me, they are in a different class than Rollo, but if you don’t like milk chocolate (which I do) with sweet fillings, I suppose you wouldn’t care for Caramello either.

  23. I wonder how you feel about milk duds?
    I generally like caramel, but dislike butterscotch- and sometimes products that bill themselves as caramel actually taste like butterscotch/maple and it’s profoundly disappointing.

  24. catherine

    Deb. I have always loved your blog and recipies, even though i have to veganize most of them. But they always turn out delicious and your writing is so encouraging. Lately i have been feeling very uninspired but everytime i Come here i find something that excites me. I just Put the ganache on top of the tart. IT Looks lovely if indeed a Bit messy (my fridge is kibd of sticky now) and i look forward to trying IT later this morning. Thank you.

    1. Rebecca

      As I have a caramel-loving husband and a daughter with a newly diagnosed dairy allergy, i’d love to hear how the vegan caramel came out and how you made it!

      1. catherine

        Hey there. So i veganized it and it turned out Really well. I obviously changed the Butter for alsan (a german vegan Butter that is Really Not comparable to Any other Margarine). If you dont have it on Hand you could usw coconut oil, but slightly less of it because of its higher fat Content. I added oat cream to the caramel instead of cream but since it is more watery than regular cream i used a Bit more alsan and a Bit less syrup and water than stated above (i obviously suck at taking measurements. It was about a teaspoon more Butter and one tablespoon less water and syrup each) . I did Made the ganache using the leftovers from the oat cream plus a teaspoon of alsan.
        I guess using a fat that only melts in higher Temperatures (Not like coconut oil) helps Keeping it a bit less messy once it is served. I hope i could help, let me know if you tried. Cat

  25. Claire

    1) this looks amazing
    2) a few picky eater/cook questions:
    a) I never keep sour cream or creme fraiche on hand and would hate to buy a tub just for 2 Tbsp. Any good substitutes? I’d usually think yogurt but that seems odd to put in a caramel.
    b) someone else asked about egg substitutes for the crust. I normally use flax eggs in baking, think that would work here?

    1. deb

      2a. I think the caramel will be fine without it, it just adds a tiny bit of depth. You could use an additional 1 to 2T of cream.
      2b. I don’t think it’s mandatory that tart crusts have an egg, it just makes it more cookie-ish and dessert-like. A flax egg might work, but I’m not positive. Or you could add a spoonful of water to help pull it together.

  26. sarah c jurcyk

    I love your recipes and now have your cook book. My question: is there an easier way to print off your recipes we find on your blog? Maybe I am missing a print button that some other blogs use, but it seems a hassle to try and cut an paste on multiple pages if it’s s long recipe. Keep up the great cooking/baking!

    1. caryn tomoser

      There is a little printer icon on the line titled “Do More” under the recipe. There are a few small photos of other recipes before you get to it, so very hard to spot. It would be nice if it were somewhere more intuitive, but it’s there!

      1. deb

        Thanks for helping! Indeed, there is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template. I know it’s not the easiest to find; we’ll make sure it’s easier to see after the next redesign.

      1. INA

        So I know it took me a long time to get around to doing this, but I made it yesterday with dulce de leche for my boyfriend’s birthday. I used his favourite store bought Los Nietos (from Uruguay) as I figured it would have stabilizers to help with a more solid texture vs making my own. It turned out great and he loved it. I wish I could attach a photo!
        The tart chilled for 5 hours until dinner and then I took it out an hour in advance. Thanks for the great recipe!

  27. Martha

    I made this but noticed that there were no instructions on what to do with the heavy cream for the caramel and for the chocolate ganache. My caramel separated, dont know what I did wrong. Flavor was delicious.

    1. deb

      There are instructions for both. You add the cream after the butter in the melted sugar and you are to bring the cream to a simmer for the ganache. When you say separated, do you mean it seized up when you added the butter and cream?

    1. deb

      Just to note that if you use less caramel, you’ll have a tart that isn’t full. I’d make sure to use a good, bitter chocolate for the top or maybe add some (or some more) salt to the caramel for balance.

  28. Annie

    You had me at “salted.” Question: I am looking for a “wow!” Christmas Eve dessert to sub in for the Yule log cake I am tired of making. Was considering baked Alaska because my daughter is intrigued by it and has been asking but I am the person who scrapes merengue off lemon merengue pie and asks for whipped cream, so…
    Wait, there was a question here, right? The question is: would you suggest this as a wow-Christmas-Eve dessert or no bc of the oozing/breaking apart factor?

  29. Rosemary Leicht

    Would you like my copy of Claudia Fleming’s Last Course? I get so very much enjoyment out of your blog and cookbooks, it would be my pleasure to give you the book which has been on my shelve since 2001. If you have it already, I’ll give Bonnie Slotnick a call.

    1. deb

      Wow, thank you so much. I have it, but if you wanted to sell it to a reader, I bet we’d have a line up the block for it. Or call Bonnie, she is the best.

  30. Deidre

    I’m not sure what happened exactly, but this recipe was a flop for me. The caramel didn’t set properly, even after spending the night in the fridge, which made spreading the chocolate difficult. It completely fell apart when I cut it for serving, leaking caramel everywhere. I’m mystified about where things went wrong, but I don’t think I’ll be making it again.

    1. deb

      I’m not sure at all why the caramel wouldn’t thicken. You definitely used cream, right? And cooked it to a nice dark amber color? Those two things determine thickness.

    2. Rachel

      I am guessing you didn’t brown your sugar/caramel enough before adding the cream and creme fraiche (I had the same experience the first go round and luckily realized before I filled the tart shell). I used the 10 minute mark instead of the color, which was a mistake. Also, I used golden syrup my first go round, which made the whole thing darker in color from the beginning, and so I thought it was done before it really was.

      I remade the caramel, this time really paying attention to color and not just time (also I just used corn syrup so I could see the color difference). It took my sugar more like 25 minutes to get to a similar amber color, but I’m so glad I was waited it out. It came out beautifully.

      1. Barbara

        I wish I read this! I was so afraid of overcooking I thought it was maybe done after nearly 20 minutes, and it was slightly amberish…. But I think it needed to be more amber. I’ll leave it longer next time! Mine was pale and there were still sugar crystals. It tasted good but not as good as non crunchy caramel.

  31. Becky Roehl

    I’m a little amused that people have to be convinced to use salt in dessert recipes. The only things I baked from scratch growing up were chocolate chip cookies, and I used salted butter because that’s what we had in the house. I also added the salt as directed in the Toll House recipe. When I started baking pretty much everything from scratch, and saw most recipes call for unsalted butter, I was perplexed. To me, it was a little bland. Over time, I would do a stick of each, but now use mainly unsalted, but MUST add salt even if a recipe doesn’t call for it (like in Rice Krispie treats). Baked goods without a little salt just don’t seem right to me.

  32. kerith

    Deb, I adore you and am consistently amazed by your work! My world is better with you in it!

    Question: I used golden (not corn) syrup for the caramel. Despite your assurance that the temp doesn’t matter, I need a lot of guidance when cooking so I aimed for 248 degrees as someone mentioned above. It came out sickly sweet, really pale in color, and runny — nothing like yours. Any idea what went wrong?

    1. deb

      It might have needed a higher temperature. I think that using honey or golden syrup, something already brown, might give us the impression that the caramel is further along than it is.

  33. Maggie

    Hi Deb,

    This looks deliscious and I was thinking of making it for Christmas dinner. How and when do you get the tart out of the pan? In one of your pictures it’s out and sliced and looks awesome, but I’m not sure which step is best to try to get it that way, haha! Or do you just leave it in the tart pan and slice and serve from there?


    1. deb

      Once it’s fully cool and set, I removed it. I use a removable-bottom tart pan. This is generally the difference between a tart and pie pan; tarts usually have loose or “false” bottoms.

  34. Mita

    Hi Deb, I had to write and tell you about my experience with this fab recipe. It was delicious and the only chnage I made was to make more ganache. But the recipe will always mean something to me. Nearly 3 months ago I smashed both my wrists. Needless to say, kinda a life changer. Among many things it meant I couldn’t cook, a source of pleasure and solace. This recipe was the first I had made all by myself since the accident!!! So thank you….

  35. Ann J Conroy

    I would love to have your exact measurements for the rectangular tart pan recipe as taking 75% of the original is tough for some of the ingredients.

  36. Rachel

    Can I make the crust a day in advance then fill the following day? If yes, would it be better to bake the day before and store tightly wrapped overnight, or stop at the freezer step and bake the same day that it will be filled?

    1. deb

      Yes you can make it in advance. You can stop it at any of those points. If you parbake it before you pause, you can leave it at room temperature because it’s basically a cookie at that point.

  37. Mary

    Super delicious awesome. Made for Christmas Eve and it was a huge hit. Best of all, this was so easy to make. I appreciated the thermometer-free caramel. Would make this again. Big wow factor for very little work. Thanks for posting this.

    1. Sylvia

      This tart is definitely not for the faint hearted! It’s very indulgent and might just last you a week! I agree with what many others have said, that it takes much more than 10 minutes to caramelise the sugar. I would suggest making it a whole day in advance, because the caramel runs significantly less after at least 12 hours in the fridge. Next time, I’ll be making it with perhaps two thirds or half the amount of caramel. I also made it gluten free by using rice flour, and it holds together really well. Didn’t bother with using aluminium foil during the bake, and this was no issue.

  38. Kate

    I made this for a pre-NYE party this weekend, and WOAH. So decadent and amazing. Love, love the tip for patching the crust, which totally worked. I love your recipes, because I feel like you anticipate all the places I’m going to screw up and are right there with the solution :) I didn’t have sour cream or creme fraiche, so added an extra Tbsp of cream with no issues. Thank you!

  39. Jenn

    I made this last night for our NYE dinner party and it was a hit! But, to my surprise, the leftovers heated to gooey in the microwave and topped with vanilla ice cream were simply divine. Will absolutely make again. Thank you!

  40. Heleen

    I just made the crust for this, planning to finish it in the norning. But, I’m afraid I won’t have enough space in my pan for the caramel and ganache. I used a standard 9.5 inch tart pan, but I the crust seems very thick and I have only about 1/2 inch left at the top… Will that be enough, or will I end up with either a mess if I proceed?
    I’m in Europe, so I’m going to bed now and cross my fingers that someone will have a reassuring anwser by the morning!

      1. Heleen

        Because the crust was so thick, the depth of the tart itself, so the part I could fill with caramel and ganache, was only 1/2 inch deep. Does that make sense? In the end I just poured the caramel in very carefully, stopping when I though I’d still have enough room to add the ganache, which left me with more than a cup of unused caramel. The end result was delicious though – and the additional caramel won’t go to waste!

        1. Daryl

          Hi, I’ve got my caramel in the finished crust cooling in the fridge. It’s been in for an hour but the caramel doesn’t look like it’s setting. I cooked the caramel for about 15 minutes and the temp was around 162f when I took it off the heat. Can you think of anything I can do to save the dessert if the caramel doesn’t set? I can’t imagine trying to pour the ganache onto soupy caramel! Thanks much.

  41. molly

    I added tahini to the caramel. I wasn’t sure how it would impact the consistency so reduced the amount of cream (1/4c) and added somewhere around 1/3 c tahini (it was to taste). The resulting caramel was perhaps a bit too firm, but it’s also less messy!

  42. dancing gal

    (OK, I’m so excited I’m not even sure I can form phrases in correct English!!! So I’m really sorry if I mess up grammar-wise!)

    Ever since I discovered your site (8 years ago), I have been “haunted” by The Last Course and the fact that it was impossible to find it at a reasonable price (because when you recommend a book so often and so warmly, I don’t even think about it twice ; I buy it ;) ).
    So, for no reason, after reading this recipe, I searched once again for the book on amazon’s french site (I live in Paris). And… (drum roll please!)

    Apparently, there will be a new edition released on the 15th October 2019, e-book and hardcover (already pre-ordered the hardcover edition)!!!
    On I was only able to find the e-book edition and no information on a hardcover edition, but the Penguin Random House site seems to agree with, it seems as there will be a hardback edition as well:

    So, I ran to tell you all about it, because I think I’m not the only one regretting not having this book!!!

    As always, thanks for the recipes and the enthusiasm ; it’s contagious ;)


  43. I selected a chocolate caramel tart from the NY Times’ chocolate recipes for Valentine’s but review comments have shaken my faith in its ability to deliver. So I was looking around for a substitute and came across yours, which I will be interested to try. However, my real reason for this premature comment (since I haven’t made your recipe yet) is Rolos.

    I am going to guess you ate the American version because they were purchased at a “gas” station. I agree–in America, this is an awful chocolate. More important however is that the Rolos I grew up with in London and the Rolos your then future husband bought were entirely different. Unfortunately, Nestle now owns Rolo so there’s no guarantee, even if you were to go to London now, that you’d get to eat the scrumptious Rolo I devoured as a child.

    Now…to look more closely at your recipe and see if it’s something I have to make tonight–or die–or whether it can wait until next weekend. (I’m praying for the latter since I made a scrumptious peach and blackberry cobbler the other night. And even though I gave more than half to my building staff, as I will your delicious-looking tart, I try to restrict dessert making to once a week.)

  44. Annie

    I have wanted to make this recipe for so long for an occasion, but don’t have a food processor. Do you think there is any way the crust can be made without a food processor?

    1. deb

      Yes — I’d start with cold grated butter or melted butter (cooled) and mix by hand. You might need to knead it a few times to get a smooth consistency.

  45. Emily R

    This was intense to eat! But yummy! I would recommend cutting small slices (even if you are normally a big slice eater). I wasn’t quite sure if I cooked the caramel to the right colour, but I didn’t have too much oozing. I’m gluten-free so I subbed a chocolate tart crust from the Alternative Baker cookbook (Bojon Gourmet blog), which worked out fine. I also just subbed 1 Tbsp of cream for the sour cream as I didn’t want to buy a whole container for just 2 Tbsp. Seemed to be okay. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  46. Lisa

    I made this once six months ago and WHOA was it delicious. It has been requested regularly in my house ever since. I’m finally making it a second time and am contemplating adding whisky or bourbon to the caramel. Thoughts on how I should compensate for the extra liquid and when I should add it? Or whether it would work at all?

  47. Sara

    I just want to thank you for always including instructions for food processor and stand mixer. I’m 100% pro stand mixer, because even though it’s heavy and stored in a closet that isn’t in my kitchen, I’d rather lug it out than wash all the tiny crevasses in my always-too-small-for-the-recipe food processor.

  48. Kelli O’Donnell

    I don’t actually know how the tart will turn out (currently in the fridge), I think I didn’t cook the caramel long enough. But I just mixed my extra caramel with the extra crust and am currently eating it warm straight out of the bowl…..YUMMY!

  49. Cambria

    This caramel is so easy and produces silky smooth, delicious caramel. I used it to top your blondies recipe, just in a deeper pan (though they are awesome on their own as well!) My coworkers went bananas over it.

  50. Recipes like this are why I love Smitten Kitchen. Careful notes, like saving the bit of crust dough (I didn’t need it, but I have for other recipes and now I know how to prepare!) and stepping back while adding the pats of butter (this advice saved my blouse from certain ruin) and rinsing my knife after every cut (show-stopping presentation!) make trying a new recipe less of a risk and more of an adventure.

    The only changes I made were very subtle: I’m not a fan of super sweet desserts, so I added a full teaspoon of Diamond Crystal to the crust and an extra one to the caramel. Also used 85% bittersweet chocolate in the ganache (Aldi) and those changes, plus the sour cream in the caramel (genius) made it a perfect balance. Thank you again and again!

  51. brigitte

    so, i mean your recipe is surely fab but what i want to know is about the rolos. when i was *cough* a few years younger, they were nice chewy sticky centered. somewhere in there the whole recipe changed and they became a caramilk. runny and bland. was this your experience? :)

  52. Jen

    Trying to use what we have in the house. Can I use greek yogurt instead of sour cream and half and half instead of heavy cream??

  53. Christy Paddock

    I had mine on the stove for nearly an hour and it didn’t change color very much. And I’m frustrated that this isn’t turning out. I added butter and cream & sour cream and am attempting to heat it again to hopefully save the caramel.

    Any other suggestions?

  54. Lauren Porter

    I just made this using mini muffin tins and it came out great. Little bites of awesomeness. I baked the crust for 10 min, pulled off the foil, and then baked for another 5 minutes and they were perfect. Most popped right out of the tin with a little finessing.

  55. Jenny Merjanian

    So, I was laughing when reading your comment: “I do not imagine that Fleming was inspired by glove compartment Rolos…” I am listening to the most recent Milk Street Radio Podcast (June 5th) entitled “Baking Q&A with Claudia Fleming,” and as it turns out, she WAS inspired by the Rolo to create this tart! She said the candy is one of her “faves.” I guess she disagrees with your assessment of the Rolo…haha! But, at least you can agree on this tart. :) Also, for your readers who want her book, a new edition has been published and is now available. I can’t wait to read the book and try this tart.

    1. deb

      1. Sometimes it’s just luck, like here. But if you want it to be consistent, it helps to add a little corn syrup, just a tablespoon.
      2. No such thing.

  56. MaryCate Farwell

    I’ve made this once, was delicious. But wondering, is there a way to make the caramel thicker/not seep? We ate it over the course of a couple days and it slowlyyyyyy flowed out.

  57. Hayley

    Looking for advice in making this in an 11″ tart pan. I bought it last year to make the Marbled Pumpkin Gingersnap Tart in the SK Cookbook (it was a huge hit at my office Thanksgiving) and did lots of complicated math to scale that up (still not sure I did it correctly, but it looked and tasted nice). Was all that necessary, and need I do it again for this? Can I just make the recipe as-is and it will just be shallower? Should I just bite the bullet and buy a 9.5″ tart pan?? Thanks!

    1. Hayley

      Update: I made the recipe as-is and it worked beautifully! It may have been a little shallow but it still looked and tasted great, and there was enough crust to cover the larger pan. Also, I only have a tiny food processor (I’m not sure how many cups, can’t be more than two) so I did the crust partly in that food processor and partly by hand with a pastry blender / spatula, which worked out fine.

  58. Annie

    Hello! I made the crust mixture following the recipe but it isn’t forming a dough. It looks like powder. Would another egg yolk help? Thanks so much.

  59. Emily

    I tried to make the caramel for this three times this morning and it was a total failure. Could not get the right color, either too light and sickly sweet or burned. Would love a caramel for beginners tutorial because I’m so discouraged.

  60. Danikka Dillon

    Made this AMAZING recipe and it is very tasty. Against my instincts, I heated the sugar mix for 10 mins (temp of 225 degrees F). I would have done better to bring to 240-245 degrees – the caramel filling – while incredibly tasty – is a runny mess, even after 24+ hours in the fridge. Leftovers are now in the freezer.
    Recommend that anyone with a thermometer use it – and wish this recipe also included the temp for a gooey (not runny) caramel.
    Caramel is tricky and always worth a try, and definitely more precise with a thermometer if you have one (sight/time did not work for me here).

  61. Alison Welsh

    I made this for our delayed Christmas celebration. It was absolutely delicious and the presentation was beautiful. Easy to make and so elegant. I loved this recipe. Thanks so much.

  62. Kathleen Montoya

    Rather than making the caramel, could I use block caramel thinned with heavy
    cream? Love my block of caramel from King Arthur!!

  63. Susie

    If you’re running through comments looking for hints, pay attention to Emily, above, and add more salt. Too sweet for me, but the rest of the crowd loved it. And for me, too, the 10 minutes was not long enough for the browning to start. I kept cooking, and my caramel was perfect — firm enough to spread the ganache but gooey once the tart was cut.

  64. ClippyZ

    This was very good, but a few notes and adjustments I’d made for the future.

    First, (tl;dr, use a food processor, not mixer) I could *not* get this to come together using the mixer method. In fact, the first time I made it I thought for sure I got the measurements wrong because it was so, so dry and made a second batch. It did the same, and I thought, “huh, maybe I should stop being lazy and spend the extra 45 seconds to get out the food processor.” That did the trick.

    Second, I only had mini-tart pans — 6 total of 4 3/4 inches — and after doing an area calculation, I figured I should double the recipe. That wasn’t necessary, and one recipe would have been fine. I really liked the mini tart pans though because you didn’t have to deal with the oozing since they were self contained.

    Third, and my only quibble with the recipe, was that I found the crust to be kind of lack-luster. It just felt like it needed something else to elevate it a bit. Next time I might try a toasted nut-based crust, something like this one:

    Thanks to all the other commenters on the caramel guidance. It was really helpful and my caramel came out delicious!

    1. ClippyZ

      One more addendum – a big yes to the commenters who recommended additional salt. I added quite a bit of extra salt to the caramel as it was so sweet, and I wished I had added more to the crust.

  65. strawberryrhubarb

    Made this and it is truly, ridiculously rich and delicious. If you *are* the candy thermometer type, the temperature you are looking for is 340 F.

    (Using non-white corn syrup is indeed going to make this much more difficult to determine if it’s finished if you don’t use a thermometer and are going by colour, says the women who tried just that and had to scoop unset filling out of her tart base.)

  66. Tiffany

    I followed the instructions exactly, used a pie dish, but my crust got wet in the oven and stayed wet. Did not bake. Seemed like I used too much butter but I did exactly what the recipe said. Disappointed! Waste of ingredients.

  67. Alene

    My husband really dislikes caramel. Can you imagine? So I’m going to cut it way back and make a couple in tiny tart pans for me. Gluten free too! Life is always a struggle. 😏

  68. JRS

    This is relatively easy to make. However I served it at room temperature and the caramel spills out doesn’t look pretty and most people did not eat it. So I froze the leftovers and when I cut off a piece frozen it was absolutely delicious because it defrost almost immediately but you get a delicious chewy flavor instead of a liquid gooey mess. So my suggestion would be not to serve it at room temperature. Either out of the fridge or out of the freezer. Also it is extremely sweet. It certainly has a great visual appeal… Love love love the rectangular tart pan.

  69. Linda Reinstein

    Would this recipe work if I used a mini-muffin tin to make gooey bite-sized/two-bite tarts? If so, what modifications would you make (if any)?

  70. carol

    So do you have a temperature to cook to for those who want one? I recently made salted caramels a la the ATK method, and their initial temperature was wrong. I did not go over it either. (Yes, I calibrated my Thermapen.) They said to cook the syrup to 350, then add the warm cream mixture and heat the whole thing again stopping precisely at 248. Going to 350 scorched the syrup. I made another batch and went to 341-342 and started smelling that burned smell and yanked it off heat quickly. Once the cream mixture was added, I went to 250 on batch #2 because I wanted a chewier caramel than the first batch. I would think if your caramel runs out of the tart once cut, you must be going shy of 245 degrees F? But it sounds like you don’t cook again after adding the cream mixture? Seems like you COULD control the texture of the caramel inside if you wanted to. Thoughts?

  71. Jan

    I was very excited to make this recipe, but unfortunately had a lot of issues with the caramel step. The first time I attempted it, the caramel did not brown enough and I took it off the stove too early, resulting in an under-caramelized caramel. (This was largely my fault, though it was pretty hard to see when the caramel was brown, despite using a light colored pot as indicated in the instructions.) The second time, I got the caramel to a brown enough color, and adding the butter worked fine, but when I added the cream and sour cream the caramel seemed to cool down too far and became chunky and hard and wouldn’t stir to become smooth. I had to heat the whole pot on low again for about 40 minutes to melt the hardened sugar into the caramel again, and even then ultimately had to strain out some remaining chunks of sugar to get a smooth caramel. The rest of the recipe worked well and tasted good, but I think the caramel aspect needs reworking!

  72. Natalie Hockin

    I made this tart and it was like eating caramel chocolates. Delicious but way too sweet-11 out of the 12 people I serve it to could t even finish their piece (I made 1.5 times the recipe). One or two bites are good, but is sickeningly sweet beyond that. Will not make this again.