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Milk Chocolate And Caramel Tart: How To Be A Daring Godmother!

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart Tart on Clear Caramel Marbled Plates

How to combine a house guest, a Daring Baker challenge and a sunburn…just ask your crazy little Tartelette!
The challenge this month took on a complete different meaning for me. If you have been following my posts lately, you have noticed that they have been fewer and quite short in story telling, kind of drive by but not exactly. Well, you see, I had the very important job this month to be Godmother extraordinaire to a beautiful 18 year old soul named Sophie. My god child is a little storm of a woman and I bet you she will melt a thousand hearts before she meets the right guy. In the meantime, I wanted to melt hers and become the coolest godmother ever….and when Veronica and Patricia announced the Daring Bakers’ August challenge as a Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart from Eric Kayser’s Sweet and Savory Tarts, I knew I had just the ticket….except we only got to it this past weekend!!
I was too busy taking her around town whenever I had a day or afternoon off , or even an hour to go shoe shopping (guys take a hint here for your daughters…works like a charm to fix “boys issues”). Her last days were just around the corner and still no tart….Oh believe me, we got quite busy in the kitchen, especially making sourdough bread every other day (those French and their bread!), making lasagna, pizza, Financiers, brownies, macarons…well, you get the picture.

Saturday night, we took her out to dinner at Middleton Place (watch The Patriot) and took the time to stroll the plantation’s gardens and ate a fabulous meal of seafood and pecan pies…and it was on a very satisfied stomach (read I ate my pie and finished hers) that I started on the tart. No way I was going to loose my crown of Coolest Godmother by not completing the challenge.

The tart is based on 3 components that you can spread out over several days if necessary plus a decoration element, which I took some liberty with by the look of my tarts (blue sugar plates). The recipe is very straightforward and the tart presents no major hurdle if you know some about sugar. The chocolate shortbread crust came together without a glitch but I had to omit the cinnamon (with Veronica’s approval) called for because Sophie does not like it (and remember I am Zee Coolest Godmother). I wish I had made some with though because it needed that extra kick in my opinion.

The caramel layer seemed to have given some trouble to other Daring Bakers. Lisa, I still don’t know why yours was so liquidy….and yes, people think I am officially crazy when I take your phone calls in the middle of grocery shopping! Anyways, I would love to say I know why mine set out just fine and not others, truth is that Sophie and B. were so involved in a game of Othello that I had to make sure she was saving the family’s honor and I completely forgot about the tart in the oven….I think I baked them for 25 instead of 15 minutes, and the explanation might be in the translation of the book and temperature conversions, not given appropriately in English. I made the caramel layer Sunday after a full day at the beach and a double dose of sunburn. I made the caramel using the dry method, as it is the one I am most familiar with. I understand it scared some Daring Bakers and some did actually ruin a few pots trying it, I have to admit that I had the luxury of burning a few restaurant saucepans and never my own learning it so I see why they would feel tempted to use the alternative given by Veronica to make a water/sugar/corn syrup caramel which takes longer but is somewhat foolproof. My word of advice for novices who are tempted by the dry method: low/medium heat is best and sugar clumps “declump” if you lower your heat and let the sugar melt at its own pace.

Monday during my lunch break, I came home to make the final part of the tart. I found Sophie and B. watching Donkey Skin. : “A fairy godmother helps a princess disguise herself so she won’t have to marry a man she doesn’t love”…(See where I am going with this?) Time to finish this baby and get my stripes!!
The mousse sent me back to my restaurant days big time. When I learned how to make mousse it was the old traditional way: melt chocolate, separate eggs, add yolks to chocolate, whip the whites to firm peaks and fold in the chocolate mass. In a large restaurant turning tables 2-3 times a night, this method can be quite costly and it’s not before long that you have to resort to the quicky approach of melted chocolate folded in whipped cream. Now you understand why my eyes popped and had to smirk when I read that even Eric Kayser used this method…the fraud…no just kidding….I don’t really like mousses like that, and I can’t say whether it is because I used to make it day in and day out or because I find too heavy. Egg whites mousse are really delicate and intense in flavors whereas the whipped cream ones are too dairy tasting. Just my thoughts people, don’t start coming at me with your spoon to bang me on the head….I just expressed an opinion, nothing else.

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart:
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration time: 1 hour

½ lb (250 g) chocolate shortbread pastry (see recipe below)
1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 g) heavy cream (30-40 percent butterfat) or crème fraiche
¼ cup (50 g) butter
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) flour
1 ¼ cups (300 g) whipping cream
½ lb (250 g) milk chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).
2. Line the baking pan with the chocolate shortbread pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes.
3. In a saucepan, caramelize 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar using the dry method until it turns a golden caramel color. Incorporate the heavy cream or crème fraiche and then add butter. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.
4. In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.
5. Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.
6. Spread it out in the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
7. Prepare the milk chocolate mousse: beat the whipping cream until stiff. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie, and fold it gently into the whipped cream.
8. Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.

To decorate: melt ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar in a saucepan until it reaches an amber color. Pour it onto waxed paper laid out on a flat surface. Leave to cool. Break it into small fragments and stick them lightly into the top of the tart.

Chocolate Shortbread Pastry
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Refrigeration :overnight

1 cup (250g ) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 g) confectioners’ sugar
½ cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts
2 level teaspoons (5 g) ground cinnamon
2 eggs4 ½ cups (400 g) cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons (10 g) cocoa powder

A day ahead
1. In a mixing bowl of a food processor, cream the butter.
2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, the ground hazelnuts, and the cinnamon, and mix together
3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing constantly
4. Sift in the flour, the baking powder, and the cocoa powder, and mix well.
5. Form a ball with the dough, cover in plastic wrap, and chill overnight.

Alright, so we are now Monday night and it is time to finally taste the tarts. I made several sizes just to see what we could play with and I spooned it in a pastry bag fitted with a large start tip and swirled it around on top of the caramel.
I remembered I had some Milk Chocolate Toffee (think homemade Heath Bar) that I had made a couple of weeks prior and crushed the remainder on top of the tarts.
At first I thought I was not that inspired to dress them up a little for their beauty shots but you know what happens in those cases…my mind goes stir crazy and I decided to give them pretty little glass- marbled like plates made out of clear caramel and food coloring so completely edible if you ever should need more sugar! That part, Sophie did not see come together as I made them after I dropped her off at the airport today. The house was eerily quiet, suddenly too big and although I finally had all my kitchen space back to myself, I did not want it anymore….I wanted to share it with her again…I guess that’s why they put “mother” in godmother…Well, girl, I hope you like them and “non, ca ne pique pas”…!!

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart

Well, both Sophie and Bill loved it, or they lie very well….I was not so keen on it. I wish I had made half with cinnamon and half without because it really needed something to offset all that sugar. But I love milk chocolate, hazelnuts and caramel so I have to really thank Veronica and Patricia for choosing this recipe and the rest of the Daring Bakers for going along with it!

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Anita August 29, 2007 um 2:32 pm

Helene, can I be your goddaughter too?:) Actually, I’ll just settle for living close enough to you that I can come over and hang out and bake with you! The tarts are the most adorable shapes and the blue sugar plates are incredible!! Bravo! P.S. I noted I’ve never had a problem with cooking sugar dry too – maybe it’s because I didn’t know it was supposed to be difficult! I’m sure the pastry gods will get me for this somehow:)

Anonymous August 29, 2007 um 2:42 pm

Oh now, I just love the way your crust set up. I just love your mini tartlets, you always have that professional touch! Lucky sophie for having you as a godmother! I’m still not giving up on the dry method of caramel. I shall try it again!

Rosa's Yummy Yums August 29, 2007 um 2:48 pm

Wonderful! Those tartlets are incredibly beautiful! Everybody would like a godmother like you ;-P…

Anne August 29, 2007 um 3:21 pm

Lucky for Sophie to have you as her godmother 🙂 As always your creations are stunning and those shapes are really so cute. They are beautiful!

monica August 29, 2007 um 3:38 pm

love your tarts, helen! very cute shapes. and i agree that the mousse is a cop-out! chocolate mousse recipes i usually use have yolks or whites, and i, too, typically prefer those with the whites…anyhow, great job!

Brilynn August 29, 2007 um 3:39 pm

Your sugar plates are amazing! You always come up with the best decorations.

Pille August 29, 2007 um 4:03 pm

The mini versions are the best!!!

Anonymous August 29, 2007 um 4:46 pm

What stunning blue sugar plates! I thought your decorative topping was great enough and then I noticed you made the plates too! Wow, so impressed, and as everyone has beat me to saying…Sophie is so lucky!

kellypea August 29, 2007 um 4:51 pm

You know, Helene, I have these very cute little tart pans I’ve never used. How do you get the crust out of them when they’re metal? Seriously. I want to use some of my left over dough to give this all a different spin. Coat them with light oil? Or is this shortbread consistency good enough that I will be able to turn them right out? Can you let me know?

Oh, and clearly, I just LOVE those little tarts! Thanks for the inspiration…

Laura August 29, 2007 um 4:56 pm

Any tips on teenage girls you can give me to store away for the future are greatly appreciated Helene! The tart is a beauty, Sophie is a very lucky god-daughter to have a fairy godmother like you!

Jen the Bread Freak August 29, 2007 um 5:35 pm

Helene, your sugar plates rock! I am in awe of them :D. I agree about the mousse. I’ve always loved a nice egg yolk rich, egg white lightened mousse. Lovely tarts. Everything (well almost everything) is cuter in miniature! 😀

Belinda August 29, 2007 um 5:38 pm

These little tarts look absolutely wonderful…just so pretty on their very own delightful blue sugar plates. Such magical treats come out of your kitchen…it sounds like Sophie had a perfect holiday with you and B, and she might even be a future pastry chef in the making after being inspired by her Tartelette godmother this month! 🙂

Hilary August 29, 2007 um 6:17 pm

I want to be your goddaughter as well please. This looks and sounds so good!

Deborah August 29, 2007 um 6:22 pm

Sophie is such a lucky girl!! Your tarts turned out beautiful, as always. There are a handful of daring bakers that I KNOW will have gorgeous products, no matter what the challenge, and you are one of them!

Aoife August 29, 2007 um 6:23 pm

You are clearly an excellent grandmother. I’d love to see how you made those sugar plates!

Patricia Scarpin August 29, 2007 um 6:23 pm


You ARE the coolest godmother EVER!! And you go on and spoil Sophie as much as you can – I didn’t have my godmother around for long but we’ll always remember her for she was so sweet to me!

The tarts look stunning, of course. I’m also glad to find someone who is not so afraid of caramel. 🙂

Anonymous August 29, 2007 um 6:36 pm

Perfect as usual. I do agree with you about it needed a bit of cinnamon or something to achieve a greater complexity. And Sophie does have the best godmother ever, I´m sure she knows that very well after spending a whole month with you.

Meeta K. Wolff August 29, 2007 um 6:48 pm

Not only are you the coolest godmother but your are one of the coolest DBs! The tarts look fantastic. So perfect. Nothing less expected.

Karen Baking Soda August 29, 2007 um 6:48 pm

Ever witnessed a fairy godmother kick ass? I just did by reading your post! Clear caramel blue plates…. you have me crying here!
So outrageous gorgeous!

Peabody August 29, 2007 um 7:05 pm

LOL- do we share the same DB brain or what? It seems like you and I are always on the same wave length…well that and we love all things mini!
A glorious display of DB talent!

Elle August 29, 2007 um 7:16 pm

Zee best Godmother ever…making the tart without the cinnamon should get you some extra points 🙂
your tarts are so darling and I love the post. Hope the sunburn wasn’t too bad. I agree that it was a very dairy tart.

Kelly-Jane August 29, 2007 um 7:26 pm

Both your tarts and plates look stunning 🙂

Erin August 29, 2007 um 7:44 pm

So you’re saying I wasn’t supposed to crank the heat to HIGH when I melted my sugar? lol – That may have been my problem!

Fabienne August 29, 2007 um 7:46 pm

Ca valait le coup d’attendre … Elle est sublime cette tarte chocolat et caramel …

Anonymous August 29, 2007 um 7:52 pm

Oh, Helene, you are so off the charts. Amazing godmother, to be sure. Baker extraordinaire, oui, oui. But blue, caramelized sugar plates? Wow! BTW, the tarts look terrific, too.

Warda August 29, 2007 um 7:58 pm

– If only I had a godmother like you! wonderfull presentation

Sandra Le Petrin August 29, 2007 um 8:52 pm

okay, jewish people are not supposed to have a g odmother, but still.. i’d love to be your your g odaughter! As much as i would love to join the daring bakers 😉

Alpineberry Mary August 29, 2007 um 9:01 pm

Sophie is very lucky to have you for a godmother. As always, your professional pastry experience is wonderfully evident in your finished tarts.

Anonymous August 29, 2007 um 9:58 pm

Well of course your tarts are completely gorgeous!!! I especially love how thick your caramel layer is. Mmmm … caramel ….

Anonymous August 29, 2007 um 10:15 pm

C’est peut-etre parce que c’etait du chocolat au lait que tu as moins aime, tu crois? En tout cas, elle est appetissante et me donne faim de chocolat.

Alanna Kellogg August 29, 2007 um 10:50 pm

Aiii – gorgeous. I’m so intrigued how different they all are, how one found the crust a 'dream', the others fussed and fumed.

But most of all, I’m so pleased to see your time requirements. From all the other posts, I had the idea that people were baking for HOURS and HOURS and it all seemed so out of my league. No more!! Thanks for those extra bits of information, you can’t know how important they are to help someone "get" a recipe, especially one that looks complicated. Or wait — you DO get that, that’s why you included it. Merci!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups August 29, 2007 um 10:52 pm

Blue sugar plates with those tarts – totally awesome!
18 y/o Sophie has been great fun – even though you’ve not been putting up the same numbers of posts, the enjoyment with Sophie shines through.
If I lower the heat and relax can you really do the dry sugar and not get crystals? I have at least gotten comfortable and know I can get rid of the lumps
I would love to try this tart with the lighter egg white mousse you describe! That sounds really excellent.

Anonymous August 29, 2007 um 11:03 pm

i bet sophie doesn’t ever want to leave!

Anh August 29, 2007 um 11:32 pm

Helene. I agrew with you on the whipped cream for mousse actually. I also prefer the egg white version better!

Aoife August 29, 2007 um 11:42 pm

Whoops! Godmother, not grandmother! So sorry about the mistake!

Mary August 30, 2007 um 1:15 am

My left arm is in a cast for the next month, I broke my elbow. Right now, I can only enjoy the luscious pictures on this site and be entertained by the informative text. I can do most things but I can’t light my oven. i’m absolutely yearning to create something. Helen, do you know of any cakes that can be ‘baked’ on top of the stove?

Cusinero Ge August 30, 2007 um 3:11 am

The miniature versions look so delightful! I wanna gobble them all up! Hehehehe… great job!

Chelsea August 30, 2007 um 3:27 am

You MADE the plates to put those fabulous looking tarts on? I am not worthy of licking your wooden spoon…

Wendy August 30, 2007 um 4:05 am

I love the little tart boats you made. I also like that you had homemade milk chocolate toffee in the house — wow! Your tarts look beautiful and your story telling was interesting. Impressive. Wendy

Barbara August 30, 2007 um 4:06 am

Wow those blue sugar plates are so cool.Lucky Sophie to have you as a godmother.

Katie August 30, 2007 um 6:18 am

Love those little ones, they are so cute! Expect they were easier to handle as well.

Amy August 30, 2007 um 6:28 am

You are definitely the coolest godmother! 🙂 The little tartlets are really cute.

Dagmar August 30, 2007 um 7:57 am

I love your mini tarts, they look gorgeous!

Amanda at Little Foodies August 30, 2007 um 8:10 am

Blue sugar plates – you are truly the best!

I’m sure Sophie will look back on her visit with you, smiling and with a warm heart!

KJ August 30, 2007 um 10:27 am

I love your tarts. they look snackable and delicious.

How do you make those plates? They are gorgeous.

Anonymous August 30, 2007 um 12:46 pm

Those look incredible. And I loved the plates!

Ilva August 30, 2007 um 12:51 pm

I’m with you on the mousse issue but I have to say that it was nice with a rather quick challenge for once! Lovely tars!

Sara August 30, 2007 um 2:40 pm

The shapes of your tarts are so pretty! You sound like you are a great godmother!

Mallow August 30, 2007 um 4:28 pm

Anything with hazelnuts and chocolate has got to be good. It looks beautiful!

Thistlemoon August 30, 2007 um 5:34 pm

Beautiful tart Helene! I am sure you are the bestest godmother ever!

The Short (dis)Order Cook August 30, 2007 um 7:26 pm

Can I be your goddaughter too?

Thanks for the recipe. I’m already thinking of doing this for my next dinner party.

Lis August 30, 2007 um 8:49 pm

YAY! I freakin LOVE LOVE LOVE the plates! Will you teach me? 😀

Your lil tarts are just adorable and I am so glad you got to make them even though you were so busy.. and I love Sophie too (even though I do not know her) but I am SO GLAD SHE IS GONE! I know, i’m going to hell.. but now Marce and I get you back at night! WEEEE!!

Love you!

Connie August 30, 2007 um 9:32 pm

ohhh! pretty little tart pans.

Cynthia August 31, 2007 um 2:54 am

You totally rock, you are an inspiration and you are one heck of a daring baker.

Anonymous August 31, 2007 um 5:42 am

Ahhhh–they look wonderful!!!! I wish I had one. (I gave mine away..on a diet).

Anonymous August 31, 2007 um 11:09 am

You are definitely a cool godmother! The tarts are so pretty…especially the boat shaped one at the end 🙂

marias23 August 31, 2007 um 12:41 pm

Love the piped chocolate mousse and can you be my godmother? *winks*

Jenny August 31, 2007 um 1:36 pm

Omg, you made plates too!?! They are stunning – almost too stunning for your beautiful tarts! But only almost!

Inne August 31, 2007 um 8:14 pm

Your tartelettes look absolutely stunning, Helene. Beautiful how you piped the chocolate mousse into the shells. I didn’t know that chocolate and cream equalled cheating in a pastry baker’s book – I have to admit I prefer it over the chocolate and egg white one…

Sounds like Sophie had an amazing month with the perfect godmother!

Rajitha September 1, 2007 um 12:13 am

i think making them as tarts is such a fun idea.. this way you can keep count….1,2,3…i think i can easily shove 10 into my belly..looks really good.

~marion~ September 1, 2007 um 9:24 pm

Great job Tartelette ! This recipe was really made for you, it looks sooo yummy… congratulations for being a god mother 😉

Heather September 1, 2007 um 10:40 pm

looks good and I love the blue caramel plates

Chris September 2, 2007 um 4:05 am

Sugar plates -seriously? Helen, you never cease to amaze me. Stunning! 🙂

Chris September 2, 2007 um 4:05 am

Oh – and the Tarts rock, too!

Valentina September 2, 2007 um 8:07 pm

If I did not have a good mother already I would send you an invite.; o ) As for your beautiful tarts..they look stunning. Great presentation. and the serving beautifully blue. you are one classy lady.

Anonymous September 3, 2007 um 1:01 pm

As my goddaughter calls me, I would say you are her fairy Godmother 🙂 What a great creation! Beautiful work.

Andrea September 4, 2007 um 6:43 pm

Your mini tarts look so pretty and elegant!

Dolores September 5, 2007 um 1:46 am

You made the plates… Out of sugar… Wow. Just… wow.

I’m in the market for a fairy godmother… 🙂

breadchick September 7, 2007 um 5:01 pm

How much fun! You are the best godmother ever!! And if I ever need one, I hope you show up to turn my pumpkin into a big huge pumpkin tart! Great job as usual, Helene.

TJV September 16, 2007 um 5:44 am

Thank you for the recipes I’m going to check those out and see how they work

Kelly June 12, 2008 um 9:18 pm

oh my gosh. i never would have guessed that those plates were edible. they’re absolutely beautiful!


Diana November 29, 2008 um 6:09 pm

You tarts look divine! It’s so wonderful that you’re such a great godmother. I volunteer with teenagers and so many of them would give anything to have someone like you to love them.

Susan February 8, 2011 um 3:21 pm

Oh my, I am dying to know how you made those blue sugar plates. Just gorgeous.

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