Caramel Tart for Mother’s Day

Regarding my mother, there is no example of her patience and grace more profound than to mention how she tolerated with relative indifference my Ewws and rolling eyes and snubbed nose at her cooking for nearly two decades—and now this:

caramel tart done

Some seeds have very, very thick coats. Trust the loyalty of sprouts—in time they break through the toughest shells and head toward the sun that has always warmed them. I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for imbuing in me the Joy of Cooking. And coffee. Enjoy Poppa’s Haven, Mama.

mama and poppa

Caramel Tart

Adapted from Baking Chez Moi


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 large egg yolk


2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

6 TB plus 1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup water

1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

1 1/4 cups heavy cream, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large egg yolks

MAKE THE PASTRY In a food processor, pulse the flour with the confectioners’ sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it’s the size of peas. Add the egg yolk and pulse in 10-second increments until incorporated, about 4 long pulses.

caramel tart dough crumbles

Transfer the pastry to a sheet of parchment paper,

caramel tart dough in parchment

shape into a disk and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the pastry to a 12-inch round.

caramel tart dough fitting caramel tart dough flat

Slide the pastry on the parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate the pastry until firm, about 1 hour.

Let the pastry stand at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften. Discard the top sheet of parchment paper and invert the pastry into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom; fit the pastry into the pan and trim the overhang. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

caramel tart crust

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. I use pecans or almonds as weights. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the pastry is set and lightly browned at the edge.

caramel tart pie weights

Remove the parchment paper and weights and bake the pastry for 5 minutes more, until lightly browned on the bottom. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°.

caramel tart baked crust

MAKE THE FILLING In a microwave-safe small bowl, microwave the chocolate at high power in 30-second bursts, just until melted. Let cool slightly.

Pour the melted chocolate into the baked tart shell, spreading it evenly over the bottom. In a small skillet, stir 6 TB of the granulated sugar with the lemon juice and ¼ cup of water over moderately high heat until the sugar dissolves. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture starts to color, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until a lightly golden caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Stir in the cream and salt, then let the caramel cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar until smooth. Stir the caramel into the egg yolk mixture (slowly, tempering as you go), then pour the custard evenly over the chocolate in the tart shell. Transfer the tart to a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 24 minutes, until the crust is browned and the filling is still slightly wobbly in the middle. Transfer the tart to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until set and thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours. Unmold the caramel tart and serve.

caramel tart crust1

Haiku #126 (May 6)

The carpet is now

Trafficked with stacks and alleys

Of moving boxes.

Haiku #127 (May 7)

Peace be with you, dark

quiet halls off which patients

rest. I am awake.

Haiku #128 (May 8)

The hands of the clock

Stand straighter than I each morn

I pass underneath.

Haiku #129 (May 9)

Today was not an

eating sort of day, I said,

falling fast asleep.

4 thoughts on “Caramel Tart for Mother’s Day

  1. What a very beautiful expression of the love between you and your mother! It is such a wonder how patient parents are with us, and also how often children end up following in their parents’ footsteps, many, many years into their own lives.

    1. I also am starting to feel an incorrigible affinity for dishes… I want stacks and stacks of impractical china. This, too, my mother’s curse.

      1. That, along with books, is one of the categories of treasures about which I have the most difficult internal debates (on whether to keep them) whenever I move. China is so gorgeous, makes everyday eating that much better, and can provide us with a great connection to people from the past, but it is so dang tedious to pack and heavy to move! Ayayay 🙂

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