Vanilla Caramel Tart

caramel shortbread tart

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Sometimes you just want a decadent dessert. This vanilla caramel tart fills that bill and then some. The shortbread crust is not too sweet and you can top it with candy coated chocolates as I did below or you can keep it plain and dress it up with vanilla ice cream. Either way you have a dessert that is worthy of the effort.

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vanilla caramel tart

Table of Contents

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Vanilla Caramel Tart with a Shortbread Crust

Serves 8 – 12

For the Shortbread:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup softened butter plus more if needed
1/2 tsp salt

For the Caramel:
1 cup granulated sugar
6 TBS cold butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS pure vanilla extract

Candy coated chocolates if desired. Or Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 350

Make the Vanilla Caramel:
Add the sugar to a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Make sure it has high sided as there it is going to boil, bubble and spit.
Melt the sugar over medium high heat. Stir constantly so the sugar doesn’t burn
When the sugar is completely melted add the butter. The mixture will bubble furiously. Keep stirring until the butter is melted.

Add the heavy cream. It will again bubble furiously. Take care to not burn yourself. Keep stirring.
When the mixture calms add the salt and vanilla. It will bubble again. Just keep stirring.
Keep on the heat for another 2 minutes – always stirring.
Remove from the heat and set aside to cool until ready to pour on the crust.

Make the Shortbread:
Prepare an 8? square pan by lining it with foil or parchment and then spraying the foil with cooking spray.
Add the flour, sugar and salt to a large bowl. Mix well.

Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two butter knives. It will be very crumbly. Do not overmix.
When the mixture holds together when you squeeze it you are ready to add it to the pan. If it does not hold together add more butter a half teaspoon at a time.
Gently press the dough together into a ball and then press the ball into the prepared pan. Even it out as best you can. I used a small tart rolling pin. If you need to spread a little flour on top to allow for ease of use that is fine.
Make sure you press some dough up the sides of the pan.

Prick the dough all over with a fork.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes until it is just set and slightly browned at the edges. Be careful to not burn the edges.
Remove the tart base from the oven and let cool.
Carefully remove from the pan and the foil/parchment and let cool completely.
Complete the dessert:

Carefully pour the vanilla caramel over the top of the shortbread base.
Allow to set in the refrigerator for at least half an hour. If desired decorate the top with chocolate coated candies.

How Was the Vanilla Caramel Tart?

Do you have to ask? We have crispy shortbread, rich caramel … and it’s delightful if you stop right there. You can dress it up with chocolates on top or some vanilla ice cream if you want but it’s really heavenly without.

I love caramel anything truth be told so I was predisposed to enjoy this dessert. But it truly is delicious. This vanilla caramel tart is a perfect dessert for parties or just because.

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