Chocolate Mousse and Caramel Tart

Are you drooling yet?  Because you should be.  I know anything with the words “chocolate mousse” induce the ol’ Pavlovian response in me, and add caramel to the mix – someone help!  It’s just a no-brainer that this will be good.  The crust is a chocolate tart dough, filled with a layer of homemade caramel and then topped with light and fluffy chocolate mousse.  This is an impressive dessert that truly wasn’t all that difficult to make, and it went over very well with the guests who got to eat it!

The tart dough includes cinnamon which contributes an interesting flavor, but I thought it was a bit overpowering so I have reduced the amount in my version below.   I have also increased the quantity of crust as a whole, because the amount I had to work with just barely fit my standard size tart pan.  The caramel layer has just the right consistency – smooth and thick, but not so hard that you can barely cut into it.  I’ll definitely use this caramel next time I make the chocolate crunched caramel tart.  The recipe is for a milk chocolate mousse so that is what I made, and while I have nothing against milk chocolate, I just think it would be far better with dark chocolate.  I’ve reflected that change below as well, but feel free to use whatever chocolate you would like.  Making the caramel pieces for decoration was fun and easy (though my brother kept calling them “caramel glass pieces” and seemed afraid to eat them!)  Next time I might try making it into fun shapes to make the decorations even more eye-catching.   I recommend making this a day before you plan to serve it, because I thought it tasted better the second day after the flavors had melded.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Mousse and Caramel Tart
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For the crust:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large egg
2¼ cups cake flour
1¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1-2 tbsp. heavy cream

For the caramel:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
2½ tbsp. flour

For the chocolate mousse:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1¼ cups heavy cream

For the caramel decoration:
½ cup granulated sugar

To make the tart dough, add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Cream on medium speed until smooth.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon.  Blend in the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Sift in the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt.  Mix just until the dough comes together.  If the dough seems crumbly, mix in 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream until it comes together more easily.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Roll the chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to line a 9-inch round tart pan.  Line the pan, pressing the dough into the fluted edges and trimming off the excess.  Cover with foil and fill with baking beads.  Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven without turning the oven off.

While the crust is baking, make the caramel.  Add the sugar to a medium nonstick saucepan or skillet and heat over medium heat, not stirring, until the sugar begins to melt.  Continue to cook, stirring only occasionally, until the sugar melts completely turns a golden caramel color (test a drop on a white plate to be sure of the color.)  Stir in the cream and butter and mix until smooth.  (If the sugar seizes up when you add the liquid, just keep cooking and stirring until the hardened sugar melts again.  It can take a while.)  Set the mixture aside to cool down a bit.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk and flour.  Add a small amount of the caramel mixture, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs.  Whisk in the remainder of the caramel mixture.  Pour the mixture into the partially baked crust and bake for 15 minutes longer.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Once it has cooled to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.

To make the chocolate mousse, melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth.  Set aside to cool.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat!)  Gently fold the melted chocolate into the whipped cream until smooth and well incorporated.  Pipe the chocolate mousse over the caramel layer, covering it completely.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

To make the caramel decoration, add the sugar to a small nonstick skillet or saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, not stirring, until the sugar begins to melt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, just until all the sugar is melted and has reached an amber color.  Pour the caramel onto a piece of wax paper laid out on a flat surface in a thin layer.  Once the caramel has hardened completely, break into pieces and use them to garnish the tart.

Source: adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, originally from Sweet and Savory Tarts

17 Responses

  1. I could look at that picture all day! I am going to try the caramel recipe first. Thanks!

  2. This recipe has been on my list to make for a while now, but I forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder that I need to make it, and soon 🙂 Looks delicious!

  3. There goes my diet….thanks a lot! 😉 I might whip one up this afternoon while the babies are napping seeing as though I have allll of the ingredients in house…….I bet mini versions of these would be fun too ….I’ve been know to scale recipes down and just make 1 or 2 minis just for me 🙂 might be havin’ myself a mini chocolate and caramel mouse tart while the kids have their ice cream tonight……..:) 🙂

  4. WOW! That looks sooo delicious! I love caramel and I love chocolate (well, who doesn’t…?) so I bet I’d love this tart too! 🙂

  5. Yes, I am drooling. Thanks for asking!

  6. This looks heavenly! I think the dark chocolate would be a better fit as well especially with so much sweet caramel! I’m having a dessert party this weekend and think I will add this tart to my dessert table!

  7. oh my goodness, yum. Do you deliver?!?!?

  8. Oh that just looks so yummy!!!!!!! on it’s a must try!!!!! yummy!

  9. i remember eating that one. Amazing! thanks again!

  10. That picture is positively pornographic. Love it.

  11. Oh my this does look awesome! I agree with you on the dark chocolate. Can’t wait to try it!

  12. Oh my-as if the name of this tart alone isn’t mouthwatering enough, that photo surely sealed the deal! I’m adding this to my list of recipes to try 🙂

  13. Hi Annie! Looks yummy.. Will the mousse be good as a cake filling?

  14. […] another tart recently with a better caramel layer that turned out perfectly and suggested I use that recipe. So, I combined the crunch tart with her mousse tart caramel layer and it was perfection! I did […]

  15. Caramel and mousse with crust? Loving it! I just spread this out to all the ladies at work! Delish. I’m drooling over this.

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