French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust

This tart is super simple, decadent, authentically French and probably the best chocolate dessert you”ll ever meet!

Although our feet have been solidly back on U.S. soil for a week now, we’re finding our hearts and spirits frequently wandering back to the streets of Paris. It might be because Scott has been sorting through a myriad of pictures, choosing the best of the best for his upcoming post: “April in Paris – A Photo Journey”. Or perhaps it’s because the whole trip, now that we’re back in everyday-reality-mode, seems like a lovely dream that’s quite fun to re-immerse ourselves in.

French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust - the real deal! It's super simple and super decadent, an authentic French chocolate dessert that's alway a huge hit!

Although it would be impossible to choose a favorite memory of our week in France, one of the days we frequently reminisce about, is the one we had with Paule Caillat at Promenades Gourmandes, her delightful French cooking school. I actually shared a whole post on our market-to-kitchen culinary class, but I thought it might be fun to re-visit the experience with one of the fabulous recipes we learned that day in Paule’s beautiful Parisian kitchen.

Cooking School with Paule Caillat

I’m not sure if it was the aura of excitement, the fine French ingredients, the expert instruction or the delightful company, but everything we prepared that day was fabulously, delicious. The menu consisted of a wonderful cheese course (and tutorial on French cheeses), a classic French salad, amazing make-ahead mini soufflés, steamed asparagus, Braised Chicken in Mustard Sauce and; the crème de la crème, a decadent French Chocolate Tart topped with fresh raspberries.

French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust - the real deal! It's super simple, super decadent, authentically French and probably the best chocolate dessert you"ll ever meet!

I decided to share the crème de la crème today, since I brought back a block of French chocolate, and it was burning a hole in my pocket pantry. Just teasing. It’s actually a recipe I thought you’d love as much as we did, and I knew it would be perfect for the all the upcoming occasions you might have on the docket: parties, picnics, potlucks, family get-togethers. Have you ever noticed that if there’s a chocolate choice on the menu, it usually gets the most takers?

French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust - the real deal! It's super simple, super decadent, authentically French and probably the best chocolate dessert you"ll ever meet!

This one’s great because the whole thing can be made in advance, ensuring less last moment frenzy. The crust is the same crust I used on my Goat Cheese and Tomato Soufflé Tarts. It’s one of Paule’s cherished family recipes, and she’s become quite famous for it. In fact, all you have to do is Google Paule Caillat’s Crust and you’ll find articles from Saveur, Food 52, The Kitchn, David Lebovitz and more!  I love that it can be used for both sweet and savory tarts and love even more that it can be thrown together in minutes (hands on time) with no rolling or cutting butter into flour.

How does that work? It’s a very unconventional technique: butter, sugar and a splash of oil and water are heated in the oven (yup, you heard right!) until the mixture is bubbly and golden brown. Remove the bowl from the oven, add a cup of flour and stir. That’s it; for a buttery, super flaky, amazingly delicious tart crust. If you don’t tell anyone how easy it is, I promise I won’t either!

French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust - the real deal! It's super simple, super decadent, authentically French and probably the best chocolate dessert you"ll ever meet!
When you sign up for one of Paule’s classes, she has a questionnaire soliciting your preferences, so she can plan the menu for the day. I requested that she PLEASE include her famous tart crust. It was so fun to see the master herself make the renowned recipe!

 

The filling is a fairly traditional ganache, with heavy cream. It’s heated just to the boiling point (I do this in the microwave). Add some good quality chocolate and a bit of butter, then stir till smooth and creamy. Pour this luscious mixture into your tart shell and refrigerate for at least one hour. The result? Hands down, one of the most delicious chocolate desserts you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting!

French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust - the real deal! It's super simple, super decadent, authentically French and probably the best chocolate dessert you"ll ever meet!

In our class, Paule topped her tart with raspberries and a shower of confectioner’s sugar. Since I’d like to be just like her when I grow up, I did the same. Strawberries or blueberries would also be wonderful, or how about a drizzle of caramel or a simple dollop of whipped cream? You’re the boss when it comes to that.

French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust - the real deal! It's super simple, super decadent, authentically French and probably the best chocolate dessert you"ll ever meet!

Tuck this one in your “have to make” arsenal! You’ll be thanking yourself and Paule over and over. When you serve it, be sure to proclaim “Bon Appétit”!

 

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French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust

French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust - the real deal! It's super simple, super decadent, authentically French and probably the best chocolate dessert you"ll ever meet!

5 from 5 reviews

French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust – the real deal! It’s super simple, super decadent, authentically French and probably the best chocolate dessert you”ll ever meet!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 10 servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: French

Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 3 ounces butter (90g)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, any mild flavored oil is fine. I use canola.
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 slightly round cup all-purpose flour (150g or 5 ounces)
  • For the ganache filling
  • 1 cup heavy cream (250ml)
  • 8 ½ ounces good quality chocolate** (250g)
  • 1 ounce butter (30g)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C).
  2. Cut butter into small pieces and place in a medium-sized ovenproof bowl (I use Pyrex). Add the oil, water, sugar, and salt.
  3. Place the bowl in the oven until mixture is bubbling and just starting to brown, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove bowl from the oven and reduce temperature to 375˚F.. The bowl will be very hot so handle with a hot pad till it cools down. Immediately add the flour (stand back a bit as the mixture may sputter as flour is added). With a heat-proof spatula stir until the mixture forms a ball.
  5. Transfer the dough to a 8 or 9-inch* (23 cm) tart mold with a removable bottom. When it’s cooled down a bit, press dough to an even layer with your fingers. I like to start with the sides and then press the remaining dough on the bottom. (David Lebovitz suggests reserving a small ball of dough to patch up any cracks once the crust is baked. I do this if the filling is a runny egg mixture but with this thick chocolate ganache, I don’t worry about it.)
  6. Pierce the bottom with a fork all over. Also press the sides of the crust with a fork to reinforce.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling.
  9. For the ganache filling, break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a medium size bowl.
  10. Heat the cream. When it reaches the boiling point, remove. You can heat the cream on the stovetop or in the microwave. Remove it from the heat just as it starts to boil.
  11. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir with a heat-proof spatula till creamy and all chocolate has melted. Add the butter and stir well to incorporate.
  12. Pour chocolate mixture into cooled crust and refrigerate for at least one hour. Can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Top with raspberries, strawberries, caramel, whipped cream or whatever strikes your fancy!

Notes

* I used a 9-inch pan. If you like the crust a little thicker, use an 8-inch pan.
** Use the best chocolate you can afford. Paula used Valrhona but there are lots of other good choices.

 

This tart is super simple, decadent, authentically French and probably the best chocolate dessert you


36 thoughts on “French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust”

  • Hi! We just left Paris yesterday and my husband is obsessed with these things but in their mini version— would you suggest to use the same recipie but just to separate into tartlet pans? Also would you change the cooking temperatures at all? Thanks!!

    • Hi Emily, it’s always sad to say au re·voir to Paris! These tarts will be a wonderful way to remember! Yes, you could definitely make them in mini versions. Since I haven’t done it, I can’t tell you exactly how long but the baking time will definitely be less. I would keep the same temp.

    • Hi Sarah, unless your tart pan is deeper than average, I think 7-inches would be too small. That being said, you could make it in that pan and if there’s extra filling, just make an extra one in a small ramekin.

  • It was fabulous and I am wanting to make it again for a dessert fundraiser for an upcoming missionary training for my daughter and family. It is this coming Friday and I plan to make as many desserts for her as I can. You mentioned it could be made ahead. Can it
    be made as early as tomorrow, Wednesday, or can it be made and frozen, then thawed? Also, any suggestions as to other desserts
    that can be made starting Wednesday for a Friday evening event?

    Thanks.

  • Chris, what kind of chocolate did you use for the tart? Sounds and looks wonderful and would love to try it this weekend.

  • I just read about your cooking class and the tart over at Madonna’s, Chris. I must make this soon, as I’ve never made a crust with browned butter and it’s oh, sooo easy. One of these days, I’d love to take a cooking class in France…ooh la la…what a dream that would be.

  • I will admit that your cooking class in Paris had me green with envy, Chris! What an amazing experience! I am so very excited that you shared this recipe for Paule’s famous crust! You had me running to the kitchen with your goat cheese tarts and now I am drooling over this chocolate tart! I will be baking up a bit of Paris soon! Thank you!

  • Your stunning chocolate tart reminds me of a banana version we made for French Fridays with Dorie. I have to admit, your raspberry version trumps it by far 🙂

  • Brown butter is such good stuff, isn’t it? Haven’t used it in a pastry crust, though — definitely need to do this! This really looks like a winner — truly inspired recipe. Thanks!

  • French pastries can spoil us very quickly, can’t they, Chris? We talk about it every time we go to Paris but I have yet to take a cooking class there. It sounds like you found a good one. Your tart is beautiful, can’t wait to try it.

  • Chris, must have been so much fun taking that class in Paris – wonderful recipe and beautiful tart!

  • Seriously decadent! Maybe I should make this for my late Mother’s Day celebration?!

  • Can’t wait to try this recipe. Is 3 oz. of butter about 3/4 cube of butter?

    I loved you Paris pictures and hearing about your trip.
    Thanks so much!

  • Question – Do you dump the flour in while the oil/butter mixture is still bubbling hot or do you wait for it to cool? (Thanks for the metric measure.)

    Both of you just get better and better. I have so enjoyed your trip to France. I would love that cooking class.

  • Every step sounds easy to do, and the result looks delicious. This is a “try this summer” recipe! Thanks!

  • I am looking forward to trying this tart. I think it would be great with strawberries too, as you mentioned. With strawberry season just around the corner, I think this tart will be making an appearance on my table before I know it.

    I am also intrigued by the mini soufflés. Will you be sharing the recipe for those too? (I hope!)

  • If I weren’t older than you both, I’d want to be either of you when I grew up. 🙂 I love this pastry and can’t wait to give this a try. My thinking cap is on for wintery things I can serve this with. 🙂

  • Chris – this is so wonderful – chocolate tarts are a personal favorite of mine – and french chocolate wow! I know you loved your cooking class experience. I tried to work a class last time I was in Ireland – but it just didn’t happen. Can’t wait for Scott’s photos – it did a great job sharing your fun!

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