Caramel-Chocolate Apple Tart

October 16, 2012

caramel-chocolate apple tart | une gamine dans la cuisine

Smitten taste buds are intoxicating.

I can't dig deep enough into my eclectic bag of vocabulary to find the words that will properly convey the jaw-dropping elation that your taste buds will encounter upon biting into this tart.

If you're familiar with the delirious, beautiful anxiety that's felt just before seeing someone you're madly in love with, it's kind of like that...only the epic story is unfolding inside your mouth.

And before you know it, the excitement, that giddy feeling of walking on clouds, has spread to your stomach and your hands and finally your toes. Chairs are no longer chairs, but dance partners. Dance partners who won't mind that you're waltzing around with a forkfull of sticky caramel tart. And you won't mind the sticky caramel that's falling on the newly-washed floor, because you'll be too busy listening to your humming taste buds.

You might even be convinced that it's May, and that the sunshine outside is hazy, not icy. And that the coloured leaves are just tree confetti, because the trees are so that You're happy.

Isn't being in love wonderful? Even if it's brief, and especially if it's a caramel-chocolate apple tart.

caramel-chocolate apple tart | une gamine dans la cuisine

Caramel apples are an autumn staple. I just can't stand the apple skins.

This tart contains everything I adore about caramel apples, with the added bonus of being nestled inside a sweet cookie-like crust and then drenched with bittersweet chocolate sauce (and no teeth-clinging skins!).

I had no idea what to expect when I set out to make this gem. It's kind of a Franken-recipe because it's a put together from bits and pieces of previous recipes. But I'm quite proud of the results. And I think you, and your taste buds, will be quite smitten. xo

P.S. The chocolate sauce is optional, but encouraged. The photo just above was taken without the sauce, and would have been perfectly acceptable. But, if you're going down an already indulgent path, why stop at the half-way point? The drizzling of the chocolate should be done with reckless abandon. A delicious mess is strongly encouraged.

caramel-chocolate apple tart | une gamine dans la cuisine

Caramel-Chocolate Apple Tart
makes one 9-inch tart

for the crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (4 1/2 ounces) very cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (I cut mine up the night before using and froze the bits overnight)
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

for the apple filling
6-7 medium size apples (I used McIntosh), peeled, cored, and chopped
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

for the caramel
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup {Note: The original recipe calls for light corn syrup, so you may use that instead.}
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon fleur de sel

for the bittersweet chocolate sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted

Prepare the crust: Butter a 9-inch tart pan.

Combine the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the cold pieces of butter over the dry ingredients, and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely (you're aiming for pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces). Slowly add the egg yolk, pulsing after each addition. Once the entire yolk is in, process in long pulses (about 10 seconds each), until the dough forms clumps and curds. As soon as the dough just begins to come together, turn off the food processor. (It's better to under-work the dough.) Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and gently knead...just enough to incorporate any dry ingredients that may have escaped the blade.
Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of prepared pan. Place the pan in the freezer and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of foil and press it, buttered side down, onto the frozen tart crust. Place the pan onto a cookie sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove the foil. Gently press down on any puffy areas. Place back into the oven and bake for about 8 more minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before filling.

Prepare the Caramel: Have the heavy cream and sour cream measured out (separately) and ready to use. Have heat-proof bowl on hand for helping the sauce to cool faster once it's cooked.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and maple syrup with 1/4 cup water. Let the water soak into the sugar for a few minutes, then gently pat down any remaining dry sugar until most of it is moistened. (Try not to splash too much sugar onto the sides of the pan as you're doing this.) Without stirring, cook the mixture over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved. {Note: Swirl the pan around occasionally once the sugar starts to melt.} Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to high and without stirring, cook until the mixture is dark amber in color, or just shy of 350 F. on a candy thermometer (this will take about 6-8 minutes). As soon as the caramel is dark amber, remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the heavy cream (it will hiss, and sputter, and make a noisy fuss, so be careful not to burn your hands or face). Once the heavy cream has been added, whisk in the sour cream and fleur de sel. {Note: If the caramel clumps up in a few spots, return the pan to the stove and, whisking constantly, cook over med-low heat until smooth.} Carefully pour the hot caramel sauce into the heat-proof bowl; Set aside to cool completely. As it's cooling off, give it a good stir every now and then. While the caramel cools, prepare the apple filling.

Apple filling: In a large mixing bowl, combine the apples, sugar, nutmeg, salt, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. In a large skillet, melt the butter over low heat, making sure to spread it into an even layer around the pan. Add the apple mixture and, stirring occasionally, cook over med-low heat just until the apples have softened (about 2-4 minutes). Remove from the heat and place the apple mixture back into the large bowl. Cool to room temperature. {Note: If you're in a hurry, you can just stick them into the fridge.) As the apple are cooling off, prepare the chocolate sauce.

Bittersweet chocolate sauce: Have a medium-size heat proof bowl on hand for cooling the sauce once it's ready. Place all of the chocolate sauce ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Over med-low heat, bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally to blend. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for about 10-13 minutes, or until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour the thickened sauce into heat-proof bowl and let it sit at room temperature as you assemble the tart.

Assemble: (Finally!) Carefully remove the tart crust from the pan and place the empty crust onto a serving plate. Scoop the cooled apple mixture into the crust, and spread it out into an even layer. Give the caramel sauce a good stir to loosen it up. Pour the sauce over the apple mixture, feel free to use as little or as much as you like! {Note: If you're not going to use all the sauce right away, pour it into a jar and refrigerate. It's quite good by the spoonful!} Give the chocolate sauce a good stir and use a fork or whisk to drizzle it over the caramel sauce and apples. Again, use as little or as much as you want (cover and refrigerate any unused sauce). Sprinkle the walnuts over the tart and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until the caramel and chocolate have set.


Crust and chocolate sauce recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Caramel sauce adapted from Baked Elements


  1. This looks absolutely delicious! I love the addition of chocolate to this!

  2. Oh my goodness, that is a tart! It looks glorious!! :)

  3. I'm happy just looking at this masterpiece Valerie!
    Thanks very much for bringing bright blue skies and
    singing birds into my life if even for a brief moment;-)
    I wish I could have a taste.....

  4. Valerie, you are hysterical! What a FUN read! So enjoyable!!! …and your tart is gorgeous!!!

  5. I love your description of this apple tart and it looks so inviting I just want to dive in! The chocolate and caramel just makes it so indulgent.

  6. I seriously love your writing almost as much as I love the idea of this tart.... it is definitely going on my must-make list. Wonder if I will have to share...

  7. Valerie this is caramel-chocolate food art! Love all the flavors going on here and choc & caramel are two of my faves...and PB too :) And apples!

    And per our other email, the NYT recipe is also known as the Jacques T. recipe and it got it's name b/c he wrote about it there. So it's one in the same! I am so making it!

  8. My jaw is still on the floor. I need to have this immediately! Good lord, woman, this is fabulous!

  9. Chocolate is never optional! This tart looks absolutely divine!

  10. This has got to be the prettiest thing I've seen all week. I love everything in this tart and am feeling sorely deprived that I can't just reach into my screen to grab a piece. Perfection!

  11. Love your description of this tart, brilliant! It certainly seems apt from the photos. I like apple pie, but who wouldn't choose a tart with chocolate and caramel over a measly pie (only weird people, that's who).

    Can't wait to make this, perfect weekend project!

  12. Girl, that is one decadent looking cake!

  13. This tart looks - and sounds - absolutely amazing. The caramel and apple combination is a given. I wouldn't have thought to add chocolate into the mix, but I would never doubt your advice, Valerie.

  14. Valerie - what a simply stunning tart! You had me at caramel and apples then throwing in the chocolate, now it is over the top delish! Pinning now!!! Lovely photos.

  15. So...if I were to die from eating something, I think I'd like to die in this pie! This is divine, Valerie! And I may sound like a broken record, but your styling is so warm and inviting...wish I could jump right in!

  16. Love this recipe...looks so rich and delightful! Haha. Thanks for the share.

  17. Caramel and chocolate with anything is just fine by me. I loved your description of ecstacy when eating the pie.

  18. I need to get a tart pan, they give SUCH gorgeous results. I love the flavours in this, I'm in love from a distance...the worst kind of in love :)

  19. This looks deadly tempting and delectable.

  20. Hi there! This looks delightful. I had a question about the caramel. I really want to make caramel apples using a recipe without corn syrup. I was wondering if you thought a double batch of this caramel recipe might do the trick, or if it'll be to runny to dip whole apples in. Thanks so much!

  21. Hi, Grace!
    It wouldn't hurt to try! I still get nervous when I make caramel, so I was hesitant to use maple. But honestly, I could not tell a difference in the was just as thick and luxurious as the other caramel sauces I've made.

    Good luck! :)

  22. Stunning photos! Love the idea of chocolate over the apple tart! Chocolate is great!

  23. wow this is an amazing tart first class

  24. Valerie, this tart is amazing.
    The funny thing is that I was thinking to make something like that and suddenly I've found you've already made it ahaha!!

  25. You are a genius! When I make my devine apple crostata's I think of how much better they might taste with caramel & chocolate but never do it because I don't have great recipes for the sauces, that is until I discovered your great blog today. Thank you for helping make one of my culinary dreams come true.

  26. Lisa: Dorie's chocolate sauce is deliciously close to fudge! (I was tempted to eat it up with a spoon.) :D

    And the the Baked caramel recipe is spectacular because it's relatively easy (and scrumptious!).

    I hope you enjoy both! xo


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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