caramel espresso tart

Caramel Espresso Tart

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I wanted to create a tart that tasted like the caramel macchiato coffee I used to love drinking in my early twenties. Here is what I came up with!

One of the flavours that I love is coffee! I haven’t made any coffee desserts in a long time, so I decided to come up with a tart that used coffee as the main flavour profile. Since I also love salted caramel, my mind jumped to the caramel macchiato coffee that I used to get frequently in my early twenties. It’s way too sweet for me as a drink now, but I thought those flavours would work well in a tart!

I wanted to mimic the look of the drink so I figured I would do a layer of salted caramel, a coffee filling and top it with whipped cream and salted caramel. The only issue was what to make the filling with. I really like both the taste and texture of the Raspberry Chocolate Ganache Tart that I make so I started with that as a jumping-off point. Instead of dark chocolate, I decided to use white chocolate so that the overall flavour would be coffee and not chocolate. White chocolate and dark chocolate work differently for ganaches so I needed to modify the amount of liquid in mine to account for the switch in chocolate. Unfortunately, even with the reduction in liquid, my ganache didn’t set up the same when baked at low heat. I increased the oven temperature and was able to get the filling to set, but it ended up with a curdled texture. Not at all what I wanted. After a couple of tries, I gave up on the ganache filling and went back to the drawing board.

After some thought, I decided to try making espresso-flavoured pastry cream. The advantage of this was that I wouldn’t need to bake the filling at all and I could taste the flavour of the pastry cream along the way to make sure that it had enough coffee in it. The disadvantage is that I would end up with egg whites to use up, but this was a much better option!

For the caramel, I cooked it to a fairly dark amber colour (the colour of a dark copper penny) so that it wouldn’t come off overly sweet. With the addition of the salt, it was a lovely not too sweet compliment to the coffee pastry cream.

I learned a trick fairly recently for making a stable whipped cream that would hold its shape for days … add some milk powder to it! You can also do this with powdered sugar, but you need 3 tablespoons per cup of cream and I wanted to make the whipped cream less sweet so that it would balance with the filling. The ratio I came up with was 1 tbsp powdered sugar and 2 tbsp whole milk powder. The cream held its shape for a few days!

I’m so happy with how this tart turned out! It had a great coffee flavour and was complimented nicely with the dark caramel and the whipped cream. Very tasty!

caramel espresso tart
Yields: 8 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 4 Hr Cook Time: 25 Mins Total Time: 4 Hr 25 Mins
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This decadent tart features cookie-like pat-in-the-pan crust, a layer of salted caramel and espresso pastry cream. It is topped with billowy whipped cream and a drizzle of salted caramel. The flavours are reminiscent of a caramel macchiato coffee! Adding whole milk powder to the whipped cream helps it to stay stable and not melt after a few hours. If you don’t have any, you can leave it out. I would then suggest topping each slice with whipped cream and caramel as you serve them.


0/20 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    For the Tart Crust
  • For the Espresso Pastry Cream
  • For the Salted Caramel
  • For the Whipped Cream


0/13 Instructions
    For the Crust
  • Preheat the oven to 350F/180 C. Place a 9-inch/23cm round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom on a baking sheet.
  • Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and mix to combine. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of your tart pan.
  • Bake the crust for 30 - 35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the crust is golden and firm to the touch. Let cool completely.
  • For the Espresso Pastry Cream
  • In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks and cornstarch. Set aside.
  • If using a vanilla bean, cut the bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds from one half with the back of a knife. Wrap up the other half to use another time.
  • Heat sugar, cream, espresso powder and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a light simmer.
  • Slowly whisk one cup of the cream mixture into the egg yolks, to temper them. Then slowly whisk the egg mixture back into the remaining cream. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 30 seconds. Continue to cook for 2 more minutes after the mixture thickens, whisking constantly.
  • Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract, if using. Remove the vanilla bean, if using, and pour the mixture into a bowl. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the top of the mixture and chill in the fridge for 3 hours to set.
  • For the Salted Caramel
  • In a medium saucepan, heat sugar, water, and salt over medium heat. Do not stir! Instead, gently shake the pan every so often until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture turns an amber caramel, about 5 - 10 minutes. The final colour of the cooked caramel should be that of a dark copper penny,
  • Off heat, carefully whisk in cream, then butter and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. When the mixture has thickened and cooled slightly, pour the 3/4 cup of the caramel over the bottom of the crust. It helps to pour it over the entire surface of the crust, rather than the centre, and then spread as needed to fill any gaps as the caramel hardens quickly. Chill in the fridge until ready to assemble the rest of the tart. Reserve the rest of the caramel at room temperature for topping the tart.
  • For the Whipped Cream and Assembly
  • Once your pastry cream has fully chilled and set, pipe it over top of the caramel in the tart. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.
  • Place the cream, icing sugar, milk powder and vanilla in a chilled bowl. Whip to stiff peaks. Mound over top of the tart.
  • Pipe or drizzle remaining salted caramel decoratively over the whipped cream. If the caramel has hardened too much, you can soften it in the microwave for 20 seconds.


  1. Margot – why do you tempt me so???!!!
    Jack and I are trying to lose a few pounds before our wedding. You always pick sweet bakes that are right up my street!!!

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