Salted caramel tarts

A swoon-worthy sweet treat!

I’ve been fond of chocolate ganache tarts for many years but have developed a rather intense affection for salted caramel over the past decade or so. I thought creamy, fudge-like caramel filling might be perfect for not-too-sweet shortbread-style tarts, and I was right! While tart shells can be baked up to 4 days ahead and store in an airtight container, the finished tarts are best served the day of making. You can prepare the salted caramel in advance and refrigerate it, then warm to just above room temperature before filling the shells.



  • 1/3 cup (75 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour

Creamy caramel filling:

  • 1 cup (225 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) water
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (103 mL) heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (40 g) butter
  • Few pinches flaked sea salt, to garnish


  • Make the pastry by creaming together the butter and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Stir in egg yolk and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add flour and stir until mixture comes together in a ball (you may find it easiest to work the dough with your clean hands to draw it together). Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap; shape into a disc and chill for about 30 minutes (to make it easier to shape).
  • Cut the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces. Take one piece of dough and press it evenly into the compartment of a muffin tin or a 2.5 inch (6.5 cm) tart mould. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • When all the dough has been formed into shells, prick the base of each tart shell a few times with the tines of a fork. If using tart moulds, place on a baking tray; refrigerate moulds or muffin tin for 20 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes.
  • While shells are resting, preheat oven to 350F. Bake chilled tart shells for 16 – 18 minutes, until light golden brown, then remove from oven and let cool completely. Once cooled, carefully remove pastry shells from pan or moulds. Transfer to a serving plate and set aside, or place in an airtight container for longer storage.
  • Make the salted caramel to fill the tarts by stirring together sugar and water in a medium saucepan placed over medium heat. Cook the sugar syrup, swirling pan occasionally, until it reaches a light golden color. At that time, warm the cream (don’t let it boil) in a separate pot (or in a glass measure in the microwave) then stir the vanilla into the cream and set the mixture aside.
  • When the sugar syrup reaches a dark amber colour and a temperature of 330F with an instant read or candy thermometer, carefully pour in the warmed cream (mixture will bubble and steam) and add the butter, whisking to blend. Cook over medium heat until it reaches 245F then remove from heat and let cool, stirring often, until the caramel is warm but not scalding to the touch (about 5 minutes).
  • Pour warm caramel into prebaked tart shells then let cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours before serving.
  • Remove from refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving and sprinkle with salt flakes.

Makes 8 tarts; recipe can easily be multiplied.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

11 thoughts

  1. Do you have a maximum temperature that the caramel needs to reach? I would hate to cook it too long and burn it.

      1. Thanks for the replying so fast. Love your recipes. Can I follow you on you tube? We don’t have Roger’s.

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