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Close-up of a cut open mini caramel tart with chocolate ganache topping and sprinkles.
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5 from 1 vote

Individual Chocolate Caramel Tarts

Dreamy creamy caramel is hidden under a rich chocolate glaze in these delectable chocolate caramel tarts. Each individually sized tart shell is made from sweet and crunchy pastry and these tarts can be topped with a little sea salt or some fun sprinkles. Either way, they are little bites of bliss.
Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Baking, Dessert
Cuisine: Worldwide
Servings: 18 tarts
Calories: 337kcal

Equipment

  • 12-18 tart tins, depending on size (I used standard sized mince pie tins and made 18 tarts)

Ingredients

For the Pastry (see notes)

  • 200 g/ 7oz '00' Flour this is pasta flour
  • 85 g/ 3oz Icing (confectionary) sugar
  • 150 g/ 5 ¼oz Unsalted butter - cubed
  • Large pinch salt
  • 1 Egg yolk

For the caramel

  • 280 g/ 10oz White caster sugar
  • 125 ml/ ½ cup Double (heavy) cream
  • 100 g/ 4oz Unsalted butter - cubed
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon Sea salt flakes or 1 teaspoon if making salted caramel tarts

For the Chocolate Glaze

  • 170 g/ 6 oz Milk chocolate finely chopped
  • 85 g/ 3oz Dark chocolate finely chopped
  • 15 g/ ½ oz Unsalted butter
  • 60 ml/ ¼ cup Double (heavy) cream

Instructions

For the Pastry

  • Put the flour, salt and butter into a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles sand/ breadcrumbs and no lumps of butter remain
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and drop in the egg yolk. Use a blunt knife to stir in the yolk then, using your hands, bring the dough together
  • Knead briefly on a lightly floured surface until just smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 45-60 minutes
  • Roll out the pastry to around 2mm thick. Using a round pastry cutter, cut out 20 circles, re-rolling once. My cutter was approx 8cm, but you may need to vary this depending on the size of the holes in your tart tins
  • Gently press the pastry rounds into the cavities in your baking tins and prick the bases with a fork. Cover with clingfilm and put back in the fridge to chill for an hour
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170°C/ 325°F/ GM3
  • When ready to bake the pastry cases, line each one with a circle of baking parchment to cover the base and sides (try drawing around the pastry cutter used earlier) and fill with uncooked rice (baking beans are too large and heavy for these tart shells
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the rice and parchment and bake for a further 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tins

Make the Caramel

  • Spread the sugar out in a large, heavy-based saucepan in an even layer (do not use a small pan as the sugar at the bottom will burn before the sugar on top has melted
  • Set the pan over a low heat and allow the sugar to gradually melt. As it melts you can gently swirl the pan a couple of times to ensure the caramel cooks evenly, but do not stir it
  • Once the sugar has melted, the caramel will begin to darken. Continue to let it cook until it reaches a lovely amber colour (but keep a close eye on the caramel as it can burn easily)
  • Add the butter and pour in the cream, taking care as it can bubble up and is extremely hot. Mix with a small handheld whisk until everything is fully incorporated
  • Put the pan back on the heat and cook, stirring constantly, for a further 2 minutes (if you have a sugar thermometer aim for 108°C-110°C. Any clumpy bits of caramel should melt back in nicely whilst you are stirring
  • Take off the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla extract
  • Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully pour the caramel into the pastry cases
  • Leave for several hours for the caramel to cool and firm up

Make the Chocolate Glaze

  • Melt the chocolate with the butter in a Bain-Marie or in the microwave (medium heat, in 30-second bursts to avoid burning it). Once melted, stir until smooth
  • Stir in the double cream and mix or whisk for 1-2 minutes until shiny and glossy. Don't worry if your glaze looks grainy initially, just keep on whisking and it will turn glossy
  • Top each tart with a generous teaspoon of the chocolate glaze and spread out to completely cover the caramel
  • Add a pinch of sea salt to the top of each one or some sprinkles if desired and leave to set for around 45 minutes
  • These tarts are best eaten on the day they are made but can be stored for 3-4 days in an airtight container

Video

Notes

Because there are three distinct stages to making these caramel chocolate tarts, there are a lot of tips to give. For this reason, I've split them into 3 sections so they are easy to find:
Pastry Tips
  • If you are using store-bought pastry you will need a 450g block
  • This pastry is easy to make but, because it contains a high proportion of butter, it needs a little extra attention. If it is not kept cold it will be too sticky to roll out. Therefore it is essential to remember the following points:
    • chilled butter must be used to make it
    • and, once made, the pastry must be chilled well before rolling out
    • once the pastry is in the tart cases it must be chilled again before baking
    • any pastry that needs to be re-rolled may need to be chilled again before doing so
  • When it comes to blind baking the sweet pastry cases, cut circles of baking parchment big enough to cover the base and sides of each case. Press one into each case and fill to the top with uncooked rice
  • Baking beans are too heavy for this pastry and will leave indentations. Using rice (e.g. long grain or basmati) works well though
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the rice and parchment and bake for 5 more minutes. By this time the pastry shells should be golden
  • This is the only time the tarts will be in the oven, so ensure they are fully cooked before removing them
  • If pastry making is not something you enjoy feel free to use either store-bought sweet pastry shells or use readymade shortcrust pastry (sweet if available)
Caramel Making Tips
  • Use the best (heavy based) pan that you have and avoid using any pan that is non-stick as the high heat of the caramel can damage it
  • Use a pan that is large enough. I usually allow my caramel to come no further than ⅓ of the way up the side of the pan.
  • Do use white refined sugar. Golden or brown sugars make grainy caramel a more likely outcome. Trust me, I have tried several times to use golden caster sugar (thinking I was being smart) and ended up with a pan of substandard grainy gloop
  • Try to spread the sugar evenly across the pan since this allows the caramel to cook more evenly.
  • Do not stir. As the sugar melts you can gently swirl the pan a couple of times to redistribute the mixture and aid the even cooking. But stirring could render the caramel grainy
  • Don't rush it. Allow the sugar to melt over a low-medium heat. Allow around 15-20 minutes to make a batch of caramel
  • When you add the butter and cream be very carefully as the liquid may bubble up and splatter a little bit and it's totally normal for the caramel to clump together at this stage. Just keep cooking and stirring until it's smooth again
  • Remember that caramel is extremely hot – take care and do not be tempted to taste as you cook (oo-oo-ouch)
  • And on this note, I do not recommend letting children make caramel
  • And finally, a confession. Even using the same pan, the same ring on the stovetop and the same brand of sugar, sometimes caramel just goes wrong. I've lost count of the times I've employed exactly the same methods and had my sugar crystalise part way through the melting period. Sadly, theres no salvage option to this. Nor is there a good explanation for it to have gone wrong if the caramel making rules are adhered to. It's best to just clean the pan and start again
Chocolate Ganache Tips
  • Using a 50:50 blend of milk and dark chocolate gives the perfect level of intense chocolate flavour coupled with sweetness for this recipe
  • But you can use all dark chocolate for a more intense - some would say grown-up - flavour
  • Similarly, if you have a very sweet tooth, you could opt of all milk chocolate
  • Avoid using white chocolate though, as when combinaed with the sweet pastry and caramel the overall result is too sweet
  • If using a microwave to melt the chocolate, do so carefully. It's best to use a medium heat and cook in 30 second bursts, stirring between each one. This ensures the chocolate does not burn. If it does burn it will become grainy and unuseable
  • If, once the cream has been added your ganache looks grainy, beat it rapidly until smooth and shiny
  • Should the ganache cool down too quickly and become hard to spread, simply reheat in the microwave (on a very gentle heat) in 10 second bursts, stirring between each one, until it is spreadable again
Storage Instructions
These caramel tartlets are best eaten on the day they are made. If stored in an airtight container they are still perfectly edible for another 3-4 days, but the pastry will be softer
Once assembled and cooled these mini caramel tarts should be stored in airtight containers in a single layer. If they get stacked up then the ganache on the tartlets underneath will get damaged
I do not recommend freezing them.
Different Tin Sizes
In the images you'll notice that I've showcased two types of bun tins. One is a classic mince pie tin with a diameter of 6cm. The other is slightly less wide but it is a little deeper. Both options yield around 18-20 tartlets from the recipe given.
It's fine to use larger tins, but expect to make less tarts.
To make them dessert sized - use dedicated individual tart tins approximately 10cm in diameter. Or make one large tart using a tin approximately 20-24cm in diameter.
Whatever tin diameter you go with, aim to use tins that are not too deep to keep the ratio of caramel to chocolate well proportioned. Ideally, pick tins no deeper that 2½cm.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tart | Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 139mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 536IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg