Salted Butter Tart

salted butterscotch tart

This gorgeous Salted Butter Tart, Tarte au Beurre Salé, is to die for!!!  Really. Mastering it is my new life goal.

It’s truly amazing what three ingredients can create. Three.  The science of sugar, butter, and cream coming together to create caramel is so fantastic!  I’ve made this tart three times now and the key is getting it to the right consistency to stay firm enough to slice.  I’ve made it to where it tastes perfectly sweet but you want a little hint of bitterness, actually. A deeper brown, instead of golden brown, is what we want to go for here.

The recipe is from Jennifer McLagan’s cookbook “Fat”.  My son handed me this book and said, “You need to make this for me!”.  And I’m so glad he did!

First up is making the crust: flour, sea salt, unsalted butter, an egg and some superfine sugar.

salted butter tart_0002

Combine the flour and salt, then add the butter.  Pulse in a food processor until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs.

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Whisk the egg and sugar together.

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Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and combine with a fork.

salted butter tart

The dough is ready when the mixture holds together when you squeeze a bit.

salted butter tart

Knead and divide the dough in half. Flatten into two disks and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

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salted butter tart

Roll out a pastry disk and place in a lined tart pan.  Prick with a fork and refrigerate.

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salted butter tart

Line the tart and fill with dried beans… or in my case rice, since I didn’t have any beans!

salted butter tart

Cook until a dark golden color. Let cool. (If your edges start getting too dark, line it with foil, like in the photo below…

salted butter tart

Next up, the caramel… sugar, butter, cream.

salted butter tart

Combine the sugar and butter in a deep saucepan. Make sure it’s deep, you’ll need the height once you add the cream. (While this is cooking, warm up the cream in a separate saucepan until it boils, then set aside.)

salted butter tart

salted butter tart

When the caramel is the right color – a rich, dark caramel – remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the cream. When the caramel stops bubbling, return to a low heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the caramel in the cream.

salted butter tart

Let the caramel cool for 10 minutes then slowly pour into the baked pastry shell.  Chill for at least two hours.

salted butter tart

salted butter tart

The tart cuts the easiest when chilled, using a wet knife.

salted butter tart

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salted butter tart

After I ate about half of this thing, I thought I’d try to sprinkle some of my all time favorite flake salt on top from local company Hepp Salt Co, and whoa!!!! A-mazing!!!! Tastebud jackpot!

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salted butter tart

For fun, click here for a little time-lapse video I made of the caramel.

Salted Butter Tart

6-8 pieces

Salted Butter Tart


    Sweet Butter Pastry
  • 2 cups flour
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • Salted Butter Tart
  • 1/2 recipe Sweet Butter Pastry
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, diced
  • 1 cup whipping cream (35% fat)
  • Lightly whipped cream, for serving (optional)
  • Finishing Flake salt, for serving (optional)


    Sweet Butter Pastry
  1. Combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Transfer to a bowl
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the flour and butter mixture and mix with a fork. Squeeze a bit between your fingers. If it holds together, transfer to a lightly floured surface; if not, add a couple of teaspoons of ice water and test again
  5. Knead gently and form into a ball, divide the pastry in half, and flatten into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using
  6. Salted Butter Tart
  7. Roll out a pastry round on a floored surface and line a 9 or 9 1/2 inch tart pan
  8. Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  9. Preheat oven to 375°
  10. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet. Line the tart with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Bake until the pastry is set, about 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and continue to cook until the pastry is a dark golden color, another 10-15 minutes
  11. Transfer the tart to a wire rack and let cool
  12. Combine the sugar and butter in a deep, heavy saucepan over medium heat
  13. Cook until the butter and sugar caramelize, 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  14. While the caramel is cooking, pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat
  15. Remove from heat and set aside
  16. Keep stirring the butter and sugar mixture, watching carefully as it begins to caramelize (remember the heat in the pan will continue cooking once it's removed from the heat. You want a rich, dark color but you don't want to burn the mixture)
  17. When it reaches the right color, remove the pan from the heat and slowly and carefully pour in the cream
  18. When the caramel stops bubbling, return to low heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the caramel in the cream
  19. Remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool for 10 minutes
  20. Slowly pour the cooled caramel into the baked pasty shell and chill the tart for at least 2 hours
  21. To serve, cut the tart with a wet knife, while the tart is still chilled but serve at room temperature
  22. Optional, add a dollop or whipped cream or finishing flake salt and serve


The pastry recipe makes two tart shells.

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  • Reply
    Christine M
    August 1, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    First of all, are you using depression glass to prep?! That is gorgeous and fantastic.

    I love any baked goods and this one looks delicious. Wonder if it would work out with vegan *butter* instead since my littles have food allergies.

    • Reply
      Farm to Table
      August 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Christine, haha yes, thanks for noticing my Jadeite! I have a nice collection happening and I try to use it, not just have it sitting to look at. Life it too short. But I use it selectively! lol

      Your question about vegan butter is a good one, except I don’t have an answer for this recipe. We use Earth Balance spread over here, but for my caramel I’ve only used real butter. And for this recipe, you want as little water content as possible to help the caramel render down, so that is something to keep in mind too. It sounds like you aren’t full on vegan and can use the cream? I’d be super curious to know how this worked out with a vegan butter substitute. Please do come back and let me know. 🙂

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