Baked Chocolate Tartlets with Caramel Sauce

Friday, February 27, 2015 5 No tags Permalink 0

It has been shown as proof positive that carefully prepared chocolate is as healthful a food as it is pleasant; that it is nourishing and easily digested… that it is above all helpful to people who must do a great deal of mental work. – Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

An absolutely stunning recipe, my Baked Chocolate Tartlets begin with a tender, delicate, perfect pie crust based on the French style of replacing granulated sugar with powdered and adding milk to the egg used to bind the dry ingredients into a dough. The filling is mousse-like, light and airy from whipping then brief baking, melting on the tongue in an ethereal cloud yet deep in chocolate flavor like a brownie or flourless cake. I serve these scrumptious, elegant tartlets with a classic Salted Butter Caramel Sauce, a local tradition of Nantes and Brittany, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream or simply with a dusting of powdered sugar. Perfect. Just perfect.


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Baked Chocolate Tartlets with Caramel Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A stunning, elegant little dessert pairing chocolate with salted butter caramel together in a delicate, ethereal crust. For the chocolate lover.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Serves: 6
The Pie Crust
  • 1 ¾ cups (250 g) flour
  • ⅓ cup (40 g) powdered/icing sugar
  • 8 Tbs (115 g) unsalted butter, slightly softened, cubed
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Scant ¼ cup (50 ml) milk, slightly more if needed
The Chocolate Filling
  • 3 ½ oz (100 g) good-quality dark bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (70%)
  • 8 Tbs (110 g) unsalted butter
  • 4 large egg yolks + 1 large whole egg
  • ¼ cup (50 g) + 2 Tbs (30 g) granulated white sugar, as needed
The Salted Butter Caramel Sauce (Caramel au Beurre Salé)
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated white sugar
  • 3 ½ Tbs (50 g) salted butter
  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
  1. Prepare the Pie Crust: Sift or whisk together the flour and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Drop in the cubes of butter and, using the tips of your fingers and thumb, rub the butter and flour together quickly until all of the butter is blended in and there are no more lumps. Add the egg yolk and the milk and, using a fork, blend vigorously until all of the flour/sugar/butter mixture is moistened and starts to pull together into a dough.
  2. Scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface and, using the heel of one hand, smear the dough inch by inch away from you in short, hard, quick movements; this will completely blend the butter in. Scrape up the smeared dough and, working very quickly, gently knead into a smooth, homogeneous ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Lightly grease with butter the sides and bottoms of 6 individual tartlet tins (4 to 4 ¼ inches/ 10 ½ to 11 cm wide) and place the prepared tins on a baking sheet.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Working on a floured surface and with the top of the dough kept lightly floured to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin, roll out the dough and line the tins by gently lifting in and pressing down the dough. Trim the edges. Cover the baking tray with the lined tins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This can also be done ahead of time.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  6. Remove the baking tray from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Cut or tear squares of parchment paper larger than each tin. Prick each tartlet shell with a fork (not too hard or deep as you don’t want holes going all the way through the dough) and place a square of parchment over each. Weigh down the parchment with pastry weights or dried beans, pushing the beans into the corners. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully lift out the parchment squares and beans, pressing the bottoms down with your fingertips if puffed up, and prepare the Chocolate Filling.
  7. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C).
  8. Prepare the Chocolate Filling and Tartlets: Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heatproof Pyrex bowl over a pan of just simmering water or in a bain-marie, stirring gently, until just melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and the whole egg with the sugar on high speed for 5 minutes until very light, airy and mousse-like.
  9. Decrease the beater speed to medium, gradually beat in the melted chocolate and butter in a stream until blended.
  10. Pour into the pre-baked tartlet shells, evenly dividing the chocolate filling between the 6 tins; using a soup ladle or measuring cup with a lip or spout makes this easier. Slide the baking sheet with the 6 filled tins into the oven and bake for 8 minutes or until the top is just set, having formed a slight crust.
  11. Remove from the oven, slide the tartlets off the baking tray and onto a cooling rack and allow to cool.
  12. Prepare the Salted Butter Caramel Sauce while the tartlets are baking, allowing the Caramel Sauce to cool as the Tartlets are cooling.
  13. Melt the sugar in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat and cook until completely melted and caramel in color. Still over low heat, quickly whisk in the butter in about 3 or 4 additions. While continuing to whisk, add the heavy cream in a slow stream; the caramel may foam up, but keep whisking, as it will calm down once all the cream has been added and will turn into a smooth caramel. Once it is smooth and creamy, remove from the heat and allow to cool (at least to warm) and thicken before drizzling over the tartlets.
The times given for prep and cook time are approximative and much of the prep time is waiting for the dough to chill or preparing one item while the other is chilling or baking. It is really a rather simple dessert to make, and can be done ahead of time. And worth every second.

  • Barbara @ Barbara Bakes
    February 27, 2015

    What a gorgeous little tart. I’ll have to come to France to try one 🙂

  • John@Kitchen Riffs
    February 27, 2015

    I don’t care what the question is, chocolate is the answer. This is the answer with an exclamation mark. 😉

  • Karen Sawyer
    February 27, 2015

    I recently found your website and although I have no idea how I found it, as I am a bit technologically challenged, I wanted to tell you that I love what you are doing! The recipe you posted today looks absolutely heavenly! Can’t wait to try it. Best of luck with your new hotel adventure. To be quite honest, I’m quite sure that there has been some kind of awful cosmic mistake and that you are actually living the life I was supposed to live!! So… enjoy, I am living vicariously through you! So much more fun than living vicariously through my children (one of whom is a college drop out who has moved back home, the other a college student majoring in none other than hotel management and hospitality)! And…. my passions are traveling, eating, and writing in that order. Sorry, way too much info! Have a wonderful day. 🙂

  • Elizabeth
    February 27, 2015

    This looks brilliant! I particularly like the idea of salted butter caramel. And the chocolate….

  • Jill Colonna
    February 28, 2015

    Perfection, indeed, Jamie. Chocolate and caramel is the best combination ever! They look delicious.