Chocolate Dulce de Leche Tart – Cook the Book Fridays

My most memorable cooking/baking experience is one that helps inspire and expand my skill set and knowledge in the kitchen. It does not hurt if the food happens to taste or look good. This recipe comes from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. (You can see a similar tartlet recipe here.) I found this chocolate dulce de leche tart to be very rich and sweet, from the first to the last bite. There is no relief in bites in between. Not a recipe that I’d pick up and start baking. I eat a piece with some raspberries. That works for me.

What worked even better was how I prepared the dulce de leche, a glossy caramel paste, in my own kitchen, instead of using a store-bought variety. All you need is a can of sweetened condensed milk that you may have around in the pantry.

I’ve considered several methods in making the dulce de leche. Cooking an unopened can in simmering water. Microwaving. Pressure cooking. Slow cooking. Double boiling. Or doing it sous vide style. I finally decided on the technique of cooking an unopened can of condensed milk in simmering water for over two hours until the milk turns brown and caramelized. An easy-to-follow and uncomplicated approach that I’d surely repeat. Do keep in mind that it won’t make the best tasting dulce de leche. This method produces a better version of the condensed milk in the can and cannot go that much further than that.

A can of condensed milk turns into dulce de leche in simmering water


The chocolate crust dough is pressed into a tart ring with a removable bottom. Quite easy to do, but rather hard to make an even and pretty crust. The crust can be made ahead and kept frozen until ready to bake. The crust is then blind baked. Dulce de leche and bittersweet chocolate ganache are layered on top. Bake until the chocolate custard is set.

I made four mini tarts instead of one big 9-inch tart that serves up to 10. I might have overbaked the mini tarts, since cracks were surfacing on the top and around the chocolate filling. The dulce de leche was more runny than it should be. The chocolate ganache looked dull. What I need is a lesson and instructions in tempering the chocolate properly to attain that desirable glossy finish, which evaded me in this bake. I can use some tips!

Please visit Cook-the-book-fridays to see the comments and discussions on this recipe from the online group, a community of engaging home cooks, who are working through each and every recipe in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. To me, it’s a valuable medium in sharing our baking process and experience with fellow bakers. Through that, I learn something new and different every time.

Postscript: Here is a video from American Test Kitchen on how to temper chocolate. The long and short of it is to keep the chocolate mixture around 88°F to preserve as many as possible the beta crystals, which give chocolate the desirable luster and texture.

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  • Reply
    Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    November 18, 2016 at 10:24 am

    I had a little bit of trouble with this one -I made two 4" tarts and even after the designated cooking time they were very runny (and starting to crack). They hardened up after they cooled but I'm not sure how one gets that lovely glossy surface either…

  • Reply
    kitchen flavours
    November 18, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I made my own dulce de leche too, baked in water-bath, a recipe from David Lebovitz. This is a rich dessert, best served in small slices. I would love to know the tip on how to attain the glossy surface of the chocolate too!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    I usually melt my chocolate in thr microwave… 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, stir, and so on until just melted. I have always had shiny chocolate using this method of tempering. (I learned this from Ina Garten on one of her shows when i was just starting out in the kitchen)

  • Reply
    November 18, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    I've done that many times and it always works. I should have stuck to that. Thanks for reminding me this true and tried method.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I saw many recipes for cooking the condensed milk in the can but was so afraid it would explode. Ridiculous I know, so I chose the
    baking dish method. I was quite pleased. Your tartlets look so cute, I wish I had made a smaller portion, the 9" was too much for the
    two of us. But, it was very tasty for sure.

  • Reply
    Mary Hirsch
    November 19, 2016 at 1:49 am

    Glad to know I should go with Nana's method of dulce de leche. Not that I temper chocolate that often but I have always gone Ina's way with tempering chocolate. I think I learned Ina's technique via Liz Berg, the Skinny Chick. While I am catching up on recipes for CtBF, I do like to get your hints and tips before I make the recipes. Your tarts look beautiful and I am not offended by the "lack of gloss!" Thank you for your kind comment on my blog. Life seems to be three steps forward but also always that pesky step or two back.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2016 at 2:46 am

    You do have to watch the pot constantly, to make sure the can is covered with water over the course of simmering in the water bath. The chance of the can exploding is low; the can looks calm and well behaved all the time.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2016 at 2:48 am

    It's easy to see what needed to be done differently after the fact. The hints and tips are more like my cooking diary and reminders. Glad you like them.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2016 at 1:33 am

    I like the mini tartlets. I made my dulce de leche in the slow cooker. I transferred it to a mason jar so I could watch the color change. I highly recommend that method if you try it again. I tempered my chocolate in the microwave like some of the others. That always works better for me than stovetop.
    I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Those little tartlets are so pretty!I'm leaning toward Betsy's method for making the dulce de leche – hers looked perfect.

  • Reply
    November 22, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    KB from Prof Who Cooks
    December 1, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    I totally agree with you about the unrelenting sweetness of this dessert. It was a bit much for this girl and I think that's why the salt is so necessary…just to cut it a bit. Thanks for the info about how the condensed milk version of dulce de leche isn't really like the true stuff; I was wondering about that. All in all good stuff in this post–thank you!!–and, btw, I do what Nicole does with the chocolate as well. 🙂

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