I decided a macadamia recipe was long overdue, I mean they are one of my favourite nuts and go so well in baked treats. With that in mind I decided to make this Macadamia Salted Caramel Tart but if that wasn’t indulgence enough I teamed it up with a caramelised white chocolate ganache.

Slices of Macadamia Salted Caramel Tart on white plates.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS MACADAMIA SALTED CARAMEL TART

I’m guessing you’re here because you love salted caramel as much as I do. It’s also made with a real, homemade salted caramel filling that doesn’t require a thermometer.

DIFFICULTY

Medium. This recipe is for confident cooks or those truly wanting to make caramel from scratch. Caramel requires very specific steps to make it from scratch successfully but, don’t worry, I give you all the tips and step by step photos in this post.

MAKE AHEAD

Absolutely. The dough for the pastry base can be made and frozen up to 3 months in advance. The tart shell can also be baked and frozen up to 3 months in advance or made and kept in the fridge up to 3 days ahead. The tart filling is best made a day ahead to give it time to set and see my caramelised white chocolate post for more details on making that ahead of time.

STORAGE

If storing the raw pastry dough, wrap it well in plastic wrap first (at least 2 layers) and freeze for up to 3 months. To store the finished tart, wrap well in plastic wrap and it will keep nicely for 3-4 days in the fridge.

TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE

I posted that glorious Caramelised White Chocolate recipe the other day which is incredibly simple and, I don’t know about you, but I now have it on hand in my fridge at all times.

Top view of Macadamia Salted Caramel Tart slices on white plates.

That ganache topping and the chewy caramel filling make for a sweet tart, which means a little of this goes a long way. You can feed a large dinner party on this. If you would like to cut down on the sweetness, just leave off the ganache and you’ll still have a perfectly beautiful tart. You could, if you prefer, serve it with some whipped cream instead.

Making the tart shell

This is my favourite recipe for a tart shell as it’s incredibly easy to make, just by blitzing ingredients in a food processor.

2 photos showing how to make tart shell in a food processor.

Once it’s ready, flatten into a small round disk, wrap in plastic or baking paper and store it in fridge for half an hour.

Roll the pastry out and lay it into the tart tin. Press gently in at the corners and edges so they end up nice and straight once baked. There will be pastry overhanging the top edge of the tart tin, so use kitchen scissors to remove all but 1cm of this overhang. Leave the rest as the shell will shrink a little as it bakes. Now poke the base with a fork all over and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

2 photos: placing tart dough in a tin, brushing baked tart shell with egg white.

Line the frozen tart shell with baking paper and fill with baking paper or weights, then bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 10 minutes. Use a sharp knife and run it along the top of the tart tin all the way round to remove the excess, then bake it for a final 10-15 minutes until the base is starting to turn golden.

How to make salted caramel

I’ve made caramel from scratch umpteen times but now and then, if I’m not paying attention, I still manage to mess it up. The issues that can occur are mainly crystallisation and burning (meaning you’ve cooked it too long and it becomes bitter).

I have the tips here to prevent those issues from happening and, as long as you stick to them, you’ll have ooey gooey, golden caramel in less than half an hour.

Tips for making salted caramel from scratch

I’ll start with a few basic tips here to keep in mind;

  1. Make sure to use a stainless steel pan. I’ve tested with non-stick pans and the coating seems to interfere with the sugar and will make the caramel crystallise (=not good)
  2. Make sure all equipment is super-duper clean. Any little imperfection can affect the caramel and cause it to crystallise too.
  3. Make sure to use low heat to melt the sugar. This allows the sugar to dissolve slowly allowing it to liquify and caramelise gradually.
  4. Watch it closely and stir regularly. If the sugar isn’t moved around it will burn on the bottom before the top is even dissolved.

Collage of 3 photos showing how to caramelise sugar in a stainless steel pot.

Place the sugar and water in a clean heavy based, stainless steel saucepan over low heat. Use a metal spoon to stir and push around the sugar as it slowly dissolves. You don’t need to be constantly stirring but you do need to be watching it and stirring it often. Once the sugar starts to clump it can seem a little sticky and more difficult to move around. That’s normal, so just keep pushing it around. Every now and then break down the bigger clumps with the back of the spoon.

Collage of 3 photos showing how to make caramel sauce.Collage of 3 photos showing stirring of caramel sauce and adding cream.

By the time the sugar is dissolved it should already be starting to turn an amber colour. Once it gets a deep amber, start by carefully adding the butter. Carefully but quickly whisk the sugar through with a wire whisk. Once it’s fully incorporated, add the cream and do the same. Finally add the salt, mix it through and you’re done.

Collage of 3 photos showing how to assemble the filling for Macadamia Salted Caramel Tart.

Make sure to leave it for 10 minutes before pouring into the tart base with the macadamias then leave the tart to set in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour before topping with the ganache.

How to make the Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache

Collage of 3 photos showing how to make caramelised white chocolate ganache.

Break the caramelised white chocolate into small chunks, then pour over hot cream. Let it sit for 3 minutes before stirring into a smooth, glossy, almost dulce de leche like ganache.

Incidentally, the caramelised white chocolate ganache is perfect for topping cakes too.

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Sliced Macadamia Salted Caramel Tart on a wooden board, a stack of plates in the back.

There you have it – an indulgent Macadamia Salted Caramel Tart perfect for your next party or family get together. They’ll love you for this one.

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This Macadamia Salted Caramel Tart recipe is a showstopper. A real salted caramel tart filling wrapped around macadamia nuts and topped with a caramelised white chocolate ganache

Macadamia Salted Caramel Tart

5 from 4 votes
This Macadamia Salted Caramel Tart recipe is a showstopper. A real salted caramel tart filling wrapped around macadamia nuts and topped with a caramelised white chocolate ganache

Ingredients

For the tart shell

  • 195  (1 1/2 cups / 6.9oz) plain (all purp) flour
  • tablespoons  icing (powdered / confectioners) sugar  (notes)
  • 150  (1 1/3 / 5.3oz) sticks unsalted butter, cubed & cold
  • 3-4  tablespoons  iced water  (notes)

For the salted caramel filling

  • 1 1/2  cups  caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 113  (1 stick / 1⁄2 cup0 unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
  • 1/2  cup  thickened (heavy) cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 200 g macadamias, chopped in half

For the caramelised white chocolate ganache

  • 200 g caramelised white chocolate
  • 2/3 cup cream

Instructions
 

To make the pastry

  • Place the butter, icing sugar and flour in a food processor and pulse a few times until it looks like wet sand. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to just pulse between each addition until the mixture just starts clumping together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and just pull it together with your hands into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for ½ an hour.
  • Roll the chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 3-4 mm thick. Carefully lift the pastry into a non stick 8 inch round fluted tart tin with removeable base. Nudge and work the pastry into the corners and up the sides. Use kitchen scissors to trim off all but 1 cm of pastry dough above the top edge of the tin. Dock the base (poke holes all over with a fork) then chill in the freezer for 15 mins.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Place the tart tin on top of a baking tray (this makes it easier to move in and out of the oven). Line the tart shell with baking paper and fill with pie weights.
  • Bake for 20 minutes before removing the pie weights and baking paper. Bake for a further 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a sharp knife to run along the top edge of the tin to cut off the excess. Return it to the oven and bake for a final 10-15 minutes until golden all over. Brush the base with the egg white and bake for a further 2 minutes.

For the caramel (have all your ingredients ready before you begin)

  • Place the sugar and water in a heavy based saucepan over low heat and stir it gently with a metal spoon as the sugar starts to clump. You don't need to stir constantly but you need to be close by and stirring a few times each minute and use the back of the spoon to break up any very large clumps. This is very important so the sugar doesn't burn and dissolves evenly. It will take around 20 minutes.
  • Once the sugar is all dissolved, turn the heat up to medium and let it come to a simmer. The caramel should be amber gold in colour.
  • Work quickly but carefully as it can darken very quickly now. Add the butter. Whisk it in quickly until fully combined. Now add the cream and salt (be careful as it may splatter and bubble up) and do the same until all mixed through. By now the caramel should be a deep golden brown colour - if not allow it simmer, stirring regularly, until it is. Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Scatter the macadamias over the tart base, then pour the caramel all over. Use a spatula to nudge the caramel and macadamias around so you have an even spread of both. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

For the caramelised white chocolate ganache

  • Break up the caramelised white chocolate into small chunks and set aside in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan and as soon as bubble start to appear at the edge, pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for 3 minutes before stirring to a smooth ganache, then leave to firm up in the fridge for about 1 hour.
  • Spread the ganache over the tart, sprinkle with some extra sea salt flakes and serve.

Notes

  1. Get my Caramelised White Chocolate recipe here
  2. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equiv 4 teaspoons worldwide.
  3. Make sure the butter for the pastry is cold and don't overwork it.
  4. For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
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Closeup of a slice of Macadamia Salted Caramel Tart.