Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Tart

One day, carpooling on the way home from work with Trevor and Joe, we decided to indulge a little with a stop at New York Cupcakes, our favourite cupcake joint in town. (Fellow Seattlites, if you like Cupcake Royale better, I can accept that. If you like Trophy better? I’m afraid we need to have a talk.) “Indulge” may be the wrong word because it makes it sound as if it’s unusual for us to stop and get cupcakes on the way home when we carpool.

It’s usual for us to stop and get cupcakes on the way home when we carpool.

Luckily for my waistline, Joe has some crazy work hours most of the time and we don’t usually carpool.

Anyway, this one particular day the cupcake shop was closed early due to an impending snow “storm” (2-in snow = “storm” in Seattle). I can still picture it clearly, Joe reading the handwritten sign, raising his fists in the air and howling in agony outside their doors at his discovery. A lone worker cleaning up shop heard his pained exclamation and quickly moved to the door, a box in hand. It was box full of half a dozen cupcakes.

Half a dozen free cupcakes, in apology for the early closure.

They all were the same flavour, but we didn’t care, they were free. Also, as we soon discovered, it was the sort of flavour you didn’t mind having six of. A moist chocolate cake, frosted with chocolate buttercream, topped with a layer of crushed pretzels and drizzled with caramel. Through a mouthful of cupcake, I asked Trevor what his opinion was of a full-sized chocolate/caramel/pretzel layer cake. He turned me down in favour of a different idea.

“A chocolate pretzel pie” he declared.

I told him he was crazy, mostly because that’s my response to most things he says.

I was wrong.

Was I ever so very wrong.

I’m pretty sure this is the best tart I have ever made.

A crunchy, salty pretzel crust, topped with smooth, rich ganache, topped with gooey, sweet caramel and finished with crushed pretzels and a drizzling of  more ganache.

I’m not entirely sure that I didn’t marry this man for this singular moment, somewhere deep inside knowing he would one day bring me to make this.

If that isn’t a good foundation for marriage, I don’t know what is.

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Tart

Recipe was Frankensteined together from recipes by Food & Wine and Epicurious.com

Pretzel Crust

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely crushed thin pretzels (3 1/2 ounces) plus an additional 1/4 cup for topping
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Ganache

  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used 60% Ghiradelli)

Caramel

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Crust: In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with 3/4 cup of the pretzels and the confectioners’ sugar at low speed until creamy. Beat in the flour and egg. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of pretzels, being sure to leave some pretzel pieces intact. Flatten the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap (dough will be very sticky) and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out the dough between the sheets of plastic wrap to a 12-inch round. Peel off the top sheet and invert the dough over a 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the corners and patch any tears by trimming the overhanging dough and pressing it into holes. Refrigerate the shell for 30 minutes or until firm.
  3. Line the shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for about 30 minutes, until nearly set. Remove the parchment and weights and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the tart shell is firm; cover the edge with foil if it darkens too much. Let the shell cool completely. Brush the melted chocolate over the bottom and up the side and refrigerate for 10 minutes, until set.
  4. Ganache: Meanwhile, place chocolate in a heat safe bowl. Bring cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. Pour over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute and then whisk until smooth. Spread 1 cup chocolate filling in prepared crust. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. Reserve remaining filling in saucepan.
  5. Caramel: Stir sugar and 1/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil until syrup is amber color, brushing down sides with wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cream, butter, vanilla and salt (mixture will bubble up). Return pan to very low heat; stir until caramel is smooth and color deepens, about 5 minutes. Refrigerate uncovered until cold but not firm, about 10-20 minutes.
  6. Spoon caramel over ganache, leveling with a spatula. Sprinkle 1/4 cup crushed pretzels over caramel. Pipe of drizzle reserved chocolate filling decoratively over caramel and pretzels (if chocolate is too firm to pour, warm slightly over low heat). Refrigerate tart until caramel is firm, at least 1 hour. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover keep chilled.)
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20 thoughts on “Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Tart

  1. Your killing me here Kiddo….I can just hear this recipe screaming, make me, make me! BUT…..I know I would then sit in a corner all by myself and growl at anyone who comes near the tart. You came up with a winner for sure and can’t wait to make it.
    Hugs, Marcia

  2. Trevor – Yes, yes… genius.

    TheNoviceNosher – Me too, I’m a huge sucker for sweet/salty!

    Marcia – Oh man, I brought it to work to share with my co-workers but it took everything in me to not just hide it from them all after my first taste. Let me know how yours goes!

  3. I feel the urge to bake coming on! I love pretzels, chocolate and caramel so what wouldn’t be good about this! (By the way, they say that brains come from the Maternal Genes!)

  4. Oh my goodness! This looks like everything good at once. I just love salty sweet combinations. I bet the caramel is just lovely with the salt from the pretzels. Lovely pictures, too!

  5. Krisla – I’ve just always found the texture of Trophy’s cupcakes to be dry. I’ve had ones that are good but it’s always been hit or miss. Both Royale and New York have been consistently awesome. In the end I just prefer New York’s frostings!

    Mary – It certainly tasted that way! :)

    Momzilla – Ryan tells me he’s very excited by the idea that you might make this!

    Alicia – Thanks so much! And I agree, I’m a huge fan of sweetness with pretzels.

    Bourbonnatrix – Your username looks dangerous! ;) And by dangerous, I mean awesome!

  6. this tart looks absolutely to die for. (maybe literally with all that goodness! ) tarts imo should be rich and jam packed full of flavour, this one is totally up my alley!

  7. I love your site! I’m getting ready to bake the Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip cookies and the Maple Bacon Cupcakes for our schools bakesale.

    I’m a culinary arts instructor and these recipes are perfect for my highschool baking class!

    One observation… is there anyway that JUST the recipe could be printed out? I can’t seem to highlight and select the recipe and I end up with all the comments and everything else when it’s printed.

    Thanks!

  8. amy – This tart certainly falls into the rich category! :)

    Deborah – Thanks so much! I’ll look into adding a print recipe button or something to the blog… Can’t guarantee anything but I will try :)

    Bourbonnatrix – So glad you liked it! Your version looks amazing!

  9. I swore when I saw this! In a good way… I normally never get off my butt to actually make a tart, but this time it’s green all the way. I have been dreaming of someone maybe possibly getting me a package of giant pretzels smothered in chocolate and caramel, but this I can’t leave to chance. Merry Christmas to me! Found you via fb from David Lebovitz, btw

  10. DL,
    Making this tomorrow for my weekend of indulgence. Heck, it might not make it the weekend.
    I did, however make Carmelized white chocolate last night(Callebaut ivorie block) (sampled some…delish) and proceeded to make your ice cream baring the same name. Nirvana. Your tart recipe gives my extra heavy cream a home. LR

  11. Megan – Yeah, I’m a big fan of salt and chocolate. It makes the chocolate taste more chocolaty!

    Kristina – This reply is belated, but the first time I saw your comment I FREAKED out. David Lebovitz not only checked out my blog, he linked to it? OMG. Thank you SO much for letting me know!

    Lauren – As much as I wish I were David Lebovitz sometimes (or as awesome as he is in the kitchen) alas, I am not. He just kindly linked to my blog. :)

  12. Well I thought you’d want to know! I would! I am reminded I never did make this, omg, how could I have forgotten? I’m sure after I taste it I will put you in David Lebovitz’ league.

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