Chocolate-Caramel Tart: Presentation Adds to the Experience

June 3, 2012

There’s a reason why the old saying ‘to tempt the palate first you must please the eye’ remains relevant.

After you’ve taken the time to cook, whether it's a weeknight meal or a delicious dessert for your guests, presenting with a tiny bit of thought can elevate your efforts from food to meal.

One way to take that next step is to use a great serving piece.

This chocolate-caramel tart is simple to make and scrumptious to eat. Let the anticipation build as you bring it to the table and say ‘it’s a chocolate-caramel tart’. As you set it down and the tart comes into full view, the rectangle rather than the traditional round shape is already piquing everyone’s interest. The shape allows using this antique silver ice cream slice as the serving piece, rather than a regular pie server.

Ice cream used to come in rectangular blocks that were cut into slices - like a loaf of bread. The modern innovation of a tub of ice cream and using a scoop are now much more commonly found than ice cream blocks. Sadly this means lots of beautiful antique and vintage ice cream serving pieces don’t have a job.

Thinking a little bit outside-the-box on how to serve this dessert has added a lot of visual oomph to your efforts. Make them think about seconds before they’ve even had a first bite.

Chocolate-Caramel Tart 

9 oz. graham crackers
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 - 14 oz. cans of sweetened condensed milk
9 oz. chocolate

For crust: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. While the butter is melting, grind the graham crackers in a food processor until it is all crumbs. Pour the butter into the food processor bowl and pulse a few times to mix thoroughly. Pour the crumb mixture into a removable bottom tart tin (round or rectangular). Use the back of a spoon to press the crumbs firmly into place along the bottom and side of the tin. Refrigerate to set.

For filling: Fill a pasta pot 2/3 full of water. Take the cans of condensed milk and remove the labels. Place in the water, make sure the cans are covered by at least 2-3 inches of water. Turn on the heat to high, and cover. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to maintain a simmer, keep covered. Leave for 3 hours.

Once cooked, carefully move a can into a metal bowl. Place an opener on the edge of the can using one hand and hold a tea towel over the top of the can with the other hand. The condensed milk is under pressure after having been cooked for several hours. When you first open the can it can spill out. Making a single puncture while covering the top releases the pressure while safely containing extremely hot and sticky caramel. After the pressure has been released remove the towel and open normally. Repeat with the other can. Pour the caramel into a bowl and cool. (Can be made a day ahead.)

To assemble: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Pour a thin layer into the bottom of the crust and let set for a few minutes in the fridge. Once set, pour in the caramel and smooth the top. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top of the tart anyway you like. Let set.

Serve and enjoy!

nancyAbout our Guest Contributor

Nancy Stuckwisch of Silver Magpies has had a life-long fascination with vintage silver. She loves to cook and entertain and believes we should get the silverware out of the cupboard, onto the table, and then into the dishwasher. She writes for her own blog, The Daily Basics and is a regular columnist for Silver Magazine.



Allen Voivod's picture

I love how it's not just about the recipe, it's about the experience. I think people can forget about this potential, and get caught up in the act of eating simply as a task or a chore. When we have the opportunity to make it more than that, we can create beautiful memories together. Great post Nancy!

Silver Magpies's picture

Thanks Allen - That's it exactly! Food is more than just fueling up, it's a chance to reconnect with others, or even just yourself if you are eating alone. Sit, relax and savor.


Claire Tompkins's picture

In addition to knowing the history of silver, you also learn about the history of food! I never knew that ice cream was cut off of blocks before. Cool.

Silver Magpies's picture

Hi Claire - yup, that's how it used to be served. I don't really know why it changed, probably an economic decision regarding ease of packaging.


Steph Gabriel's picture

First of all -- I cannot wait to make the tart -- actually just talking with friends last night about all of the amazing caramel recipes out there and now I'm excited to try another!
Secondly -- I've been spending time slowing down in the kitchen to enjoy the experience but I never incorporated any of my serving pieces....LOVE IT!

Silver Magpies's picture

Hi Stephan -

I'm glad the recipe is so timely! Good for you for slowing down and enjoying the kitchen, I hope you do start adding your serving pieces to the experience as well.


Silver Magpies's picture

Sorry Steph - darn Auto correct changed your name!

Laurie's picture

I love chocolate tart, especially so simply made...would be great to see more of these simple recipes on the site!

Silver Magpies's picture

Hi Laurie -

Thanks so much for your comment. I'm a big fan of simple recipes, just because it's simple doesn't mean it won't be delicious. :)


Carolyn Wilson's picture

Great recipe, Nancy. Just what I was looking for to nicely round off a dinner on Thursday night....scoops of ice cream included.....yum!!