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The Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart with Hazelnut Praline is a sinfully indulgent dessert that promises to take your taste buds on a delightful journey. This tart features a buttery, crisp crust, a luscious layer of smooth dark chocolate ganache, a silky salted caramel, and is crowned with a crunchy hazelnut praline.
Each bite offers a perfect balance of sweetness, saltiness, and nutty flavors, with an array of textures that meld beautifully together.
The dark chocolate ganache brings a deep, rich chocolate flavor that pairs exquisitely with the sweet and salty caramel layer. The caramel has a velvety texture and the sea salt within it elevates the taste, cutting through the sweetness. The hazelnut praline adds a crunchy texture and nutty flavor that complements the chocolate and caramel.
The base of the tart, usually made from shortcrust pastry, provides a firm and slightly crumbly texture which contrasts nicely with the soft fillings.
This luxurious tart is perfect for a range of occasions. It’s an ideal showstopper for dinner parties and celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries.
Additionally, it’s a wonderful option for festive seasons like Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Its elegance and rich flavor profile also make it a great choice for afternoon tea when you want to impress your guests or simply indulge in a special treat for yourself.
- A tart pan with a removable bottom (9-inch or 10-inch)
- Mixing bowls
- Rubber spatula
- Baking beans or pie weights
- Parchment paper
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cutting board
- Food processor (optional, for the tart base)
- Rolling pin
- Cooling rack
- Heat-proof bowl (for melting chocolate)
- Candy thermometer (for caramel)
- Baking sheet (for praline)
Having the right equipment at hand will make the preparation process smoother and more efficient.
List of ingredients for the tart base
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1-2 tablespoons cold water
List of ingredients for the dark chocolate ganache
- 8 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
List of ingredients for the salted caramel layer
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes (or to taste)
List of ingredients for the hazelnut praline topping
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- A pinch of sea salt flakes
Making the tart base
- In a mixing bowl or food processor, combine flour, butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, then transfer it to the tart pan. Press it into the edges and trim excess dough.
- Prick the base with a fork, line it with parchment paper, and fill with baking beans or pie weights.
- Pre-bake the tart base in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 15 minutes. Remove the weights and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Preparing the dark chocolate ganache
- Heat heavy cream in a saucepan until it just begins to simmer.
- Place chopped dark chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute, then whisk until smooth.
Making the salted caramel layer
- In a saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and turns a deep amber color. Do not stir, but you can swirl the pan.
- Remove from heat and carefully whisk in heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up.
- Return to heat and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Remove from heat, add butter and salt, and whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly.
Preparing the hazelnut praline
- Toast hazelnuts in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-12 minutes, then let them cool.
- In a saucepan, combine sugar and water, and heat until the sugar turns a golden caramel color.
- Stir in the toasted hazelnuts and a pinch of salt.
- Pour the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread it out. Let it cool and harden.
Assembling the Tart
Layering the tart base with dark chocolate ganache
- Remove the tart base from the oven and allow it to cool slightly.
- Pour the dark chocolate ganache over the tart base and use a spatula to smooth it out.
- Place the tart in the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow the ganache to set.
Adding the salted caramel layer
- Once the ganache has set, gently pour the salted caramel over the ganache layer.
- Use a spatula to evenly spread the caramel.
- Return the tart to the fridge and allow the caramel to set for another 30 minutes.
Topping with hazelnut praline
- Break the hazelnut praline into small pieces.
- Take the tart out of the fridge and arrange the hazelnut praline pieces on top of the salted caramel layer.
- Optionally, you can add a sprinkle of sea salt flakes on top for an extra hint of saltiness.
- Allow the tart to set in the fridge for a final 30 minutes before serving.
How to serve the Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart with Hazelnut Praline
- Before serving, remove the tart from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. This will make it easier to slice and will enhance the flavors.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the tart into slices. You can warm the knife by running it under hot water and drying it off; this will make slicing through the layers easier.
- Serve the slices on individual plates, optionally with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Pair the tart with a glass of red wine, such as a Zinfandel or a Cabernet Sauvignon, which complements the rich flavors of chocolate and caramel.
- Alternatively, serve with a cup of strong coffee or espresso to balance the sweetness of the tart.
Storage and Leftovers
Store any leftover tart in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help to keep it fresh and maintain the texture of the layers.
The tart will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If you need to store it for a longer period, you can also freeze it in an airtight container for up to a month. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Substitutes for ingredients
- Can I use milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate? Yes, you can use milk chocolate if you prefer a sweeter taste. However, it might make the tart less rich compared to using dark chocolate.
- What can I use instead of hazelnuts for the praline? Almonds, pecans, or walnuts are good substitutes for hazelnuts in the praline.
Alterations for dietary restrictions
- How can I make this tart gluten-free?
You can use a gluten-free flour blend to make the tart base. Make sure that all other ingredients you are using, such as caramel and chocolate, are also gluten-free.
- Can I make this tart dairy-free?
Yes, you can use a dairy-free butter substitute in the caramel and use coconut cream or almond milk instead of heavy cream in the ganache.
This Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart with Hazelnut Praline is an indulgent dessert that combines rich flavors and varied textures. The smoothness of the chocolate ganache, the sticky sweetness of the caramel, and the crunchy nuttiness of the praline make it a show-stopping dessert perfect for special occasions.
Experimenting with different ingredients or making alterations to suit dietary needs can also yield delightful results. Happy baking!