salted cinnamon dulce de leche tart with whiskey whipped cream

November 3, 2014

salted cinnamon dulce de leche tart with whiskey whipped cream | une gamine dans la cuisine

" Another year gone, leaving everywhere 
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering 
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds
and the wandering of water. This

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever 
in these momentary pastures."

~ Fall Song, by Mary Oliver 
There's a peculiar, raw umber coloured piece of gnarled wood on one of my ceiling beams. Depending on what shade of mood I'm in, it either resembles a whimsical Mark Twain with a daisy tucked behind one ear, or the foreboding profile of a clown (aren't most clowns a bit ominous, anyway?).  I stare at this nonconformist bit of gnarled wood as I'm polishing off the last few minutes of yoga (or pseudo napping on the sofa). This morning, whilst enjoying my morning coffee, I happened to gaze upon it from a different angle. Instead of a brilliant, wild-haired writer or psychotic clown, I saw a Celtic ash tree with three stoic ravens + spiraling branches that appeared to be leaning away from a glacial northerly wind. I suddenly felt morose. The newly discovered tree is bewitching, but its bare boned silhouette and stark sentinels remind me of November's abruptness. How is it possible that the leaves have already fallen so completely from every tree? I still have lofty plans for 2014. The me from last March is pacing, anxiously, hoping that this time things will be different. The thought of another unending heartless winter, claustrophobic eight hour days; not being capable of quieting the ghosts who ask me to try the impossible, again & again's almost too much to bear.

This time of year always saturates my thoughts with fevered woes, worries, aspirations & whimseys that were never fully wrung out. Contrary to my contrary self, I'm still ridiculously hopeful. More than likely, it's the remnants of a willful head cold.

salted cinnamon dulce de leche tart | une gamine dans la cuisine

Amid the delicious chaos of falling leaves, plummeting temperatures, popping ears and fevered Celtic visions, I managed to pull off this epic tart. It's a new favourite, one I plan on making far too often. To spice things up a bit, I added salt & Vietnamese cinnamon to the sweet milk before converting it to dulce de leche. It was almost impossible to restrain myself, and everyone else, from devouring the caramelized elixir with a spoon. Actually, the ratio of dulce de leche to whipped cream should have been slightly higher...*whistle* *whistle*

The crust is a riff on Dorie Greenspan's classic (perfect!) tart recipe. Hearty deep notes from ground pecans & espresso powder are a perfect balance to the salty-sweet dulce de leche filling. Oh, and let's not forget the crowning glory that is Whiskey Whipped Cream!! *squee* I'm contemplating making this tipsy cream for morning coffee and evening hot cocoa, too.

Recipe note; I used the double-boiler method for transforming sweet milk into dulce de leche. It takes quite a long time (three-four hours), but I like to work for my desserts. If you are lucky enough to find a jar of dulce de leche, or if you have a faster method, please feel free to use it. I'm not brave enough to boil unopened cans and, being a creature of habit, I'm perfectly okay with the familiar snail pace of a double-boiler. :-)

salted cinnamon dulce de leche tart with whiskey whipped cream | une gamine dans la cuisine

salted cinnamon dulce de leche tart
makes one 9-inch tart

espresso pecan crust (adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely ground pecans
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon (9 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, very cold & cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Butter a nine-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; set aside.

Place flour, pecans, confectioners' sugar, espresso powder & salt in a food processor. Pulse about three times, just to combine. Use a fork to toss in cold butter cubes. Pulse until butter pieces are the size of oatmeal flakes and peas (they do not need to be uniform, you're aiming coarsely cut bits). Slowly add the egg yolk, pulsing briefly after each addition. When egg is completely in, process dough in long pulses (about 10 seconds each) until the dough forms clumps and curds (the processor will make a noticeable change in sound when this happens). Try not to overprocess. Turn dough out onto a work surface and, very gently, knead until any remaining dry bits are incorporated.

Press dough evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of prepare tart pan. Place crust in freezer for at least 30 minutes. (freezing the crust will allow you to bake it without the use of pie weights.)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Butter/spray the shiny side of a piece of foil and fit foil, butter side down, tightly over frozen tart crust. Place crust on a baking sheet and bake 25 minutes. Carefully remove foil and, using the back of a spoon, gently press down on any puffy areas. Return uncovered crust to oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until crust is a deep golden brown. Remove crust from oven and place onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before filling with dulce de leche. (recipe below)

dulce de leche filling
2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (feel free to adjust the amount according to personal preference)

Prepare a double boiler; fill a medium saucepan with about 1-inch of water and bring the water to a slow simmer. Find a large heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the saucepan (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch simmering water). Pour both cans of sweet milk, salt & cinnamon into heatproof bowl and place the bowl over simmering water. Stirring occasionally, cook until the sweet milk thickens and turns golden brown. This can take up to three-four hours; replenish the simmering water as needed. The sweet milk will thin out a bit before morphing into gorgeous dulce de leche - it's a long process but well worth the wait. {Note; if you have a faster method, feel free to use it.}

Remove the bowl of dulce de leche from the heat and set aside until cool to room temperature. It will thicken up even more whilst cooling.

When dulce de leche has come to room temperature, scrape it into cool tart crust. Use an offset spatula to spread it out into an even layer. {Note; use a light hand when spreading so you don't disturb the fragile crust.} Place tart in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up.

whiskey whipped cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
pinch of salt
2-3 Tablespoons whiskey
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar(because the filling is so sweet, I didn't use much sugar in the whipped cream. If you prefer extra sugar, feel free to add more.)

Place cream and salt into stand mixer bowl fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on med-high until soft peaks are just beginning to form. With mixer set to medium speed, start adding whiskey and sugar. Turn speed up to med-high and beat until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat).

Remove tart from fridge and scrape whipped cream on top of filling. Dust with sifted ground cinnamon, if desired. xoxo

salted cinnamon dulce de leche tart with whiskey whipped cream | une gamine dans la cuisine


  1. Just gorgeous, I'm dying over the thought of cinnamon dulce de leche and whiskey whipped cream - a stunner! xo

  2. Since you worked so hard for your dessert, you earned yourself two slices--heck, the entire pie. This pie is absolutely stunning. Our trees are struggling to hold on to the last few leaves they have left.

  3. I don't believe there are words to describe how delicious this tart sounds and how incredible it looks. So gorgeous and so droolworthy!!

  4. I don't doubt at all the temptation to eat dulce de leche with a spoon. sweet milk is magic, childhood for me is dipping one of my grandma's blintzes into a bowl of it and trying to beat it getting on my chin. this tart is indeed glorious, i hope to try it soon xx

  5. Whiskey tipped cream? Oh yes please ... This dream tart is goin on high rotation this holiday season! You are the most original, whimsical, intriguing baker I follow. And that's a large group! The instant I see a new post from you I drop everything to see what delight you have created :)

  6. I don't think I'm that brave either to pressure boil the can to make dulce de leche, your method sounds wonderful and I do like to work for my food too. This is one gorgeous tart that I know I'd love.

  7. I love autumn and winter, but I must admit that this year November has arrived far too early...

    A fabulous pie! Ever so droolworthy. Dorie Greenspan's recipes are simply awesome.



  8. This looks divine, Valerie. And I'm a big fan of homemade dulce de leche (although my method takes about an hour and a half). Winter is coming on far too quickly; I remind myself we've still got two months of 2014 left.

  9. Could this tart get any sexier???

  10. Your post is as deliciously poetic as this tart. You had me at dulce de leche.

  11. This tart is just incredible.. I can only imagine how good it would have tasted. Pinned!

  12. This tart looks absolutely heavenly, what a gorgeous dish!

  13. Oh, we have snow now, and I'm so maudlin. I'd much rather have a slice of this tart.

  14. I struggle with my own melancholy on these cold dark short days that are only just beginning... But I appreciate and condone the shushing away the woeful moments with a homemade dulce de leche in a espresso! pecan! crust.

  15. What a beautiful tart and so perfect for the holiday season! Loving the dulce de leche with cinnamon!!!!

  16. When I first started making recipes from your blog (early this year, maybe even last year), I have to admit I approached them with some trepidation. Your recipes are more adventurous and bold than what I was used to baking, and at first I wasn't quite sure how the ingredients would pair or whether I would like them together. I have to say I have learned to trust that if you have paired flavors together, not only will they work, they will delight and surprise, and even astound. I made 8 tartlets, as I needed the bake to be more portable than 1 large tart, and got rave reviews (including from my own tastebuds). Thank you so much for giving us recipes that are different from the norm and sophisticated but very shareable!

    1. Thank you, Gina! I love to hear how recipes turn out in other kitchens (I'm always slightly nervous that I left out something crucial!). :D This tart is definitely one of the most decadent things I've made...I'm ecstatic that everyone enjoyed the indulgence. xoxo

  17. I made this for Thanksgiving and it was the hit of the night. My mom, a professionally trained chef, called it outrageous. High praise. One comment, though. You never actually specify when to add the salt and cinnamon for the filling. I added it at the beginning of hour 4, but I'm curious when you recommend.

    1. Sorry about that, Andrew. The salt and cinnamon can be tossed in with the sweet milk as soon as it starts cooking (good call!). :D I'm elated to hear such a glowing review from a chef!! Thank you for letting me know. xoxo


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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