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Coffee Custard Tart with Dulce de Leche

Coffee + Pastry Crust + Dulce de Leche.... just in time for Valentine's Day Weekend! This is the ultimate dessert for lovers of 'less sweet' sweets and treats. Flecks of coffee in the pastry dough are a lively surprise along with the luscious layer of dulce de leche sauce hidden between the custard and crust. There are a fair amount of steps in this recipe, so feel free to make the tart shell the day before + ample chilling time for the custard component too. Once the tart chills long enough for the custard to set, serve most of the slices immediately so you don’t lose as much of the saucy caramel layer. Makes one 11-inch tart.


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tablespoons cold whole milk

  • Extra all purpose flour for rolling out the dough


  1. Have on hand an 11-inch tart pan with removable base.

  2. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, espresso powder, and salt. Pulse until combined.

  3. Add the butter and work the mixture until it resembles coarse meal.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture and pulse until the dough forms large clumps. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter. Form into a ball, wrap in foil, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  5. Once the dough has chilled, set the oven at 350 degrees.

  6. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough to a 13-inch round. Transfer to the tart pan, pressing into the bottom and sides. Prick the bottom well all over. Freeze for 15 minutes.

  7. Line the pastry with foil and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully lift out the foil and weights. Continue baking for 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven, and set on a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon dulce de leche

  • 1 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee

  • 4 eggs

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, for grating as garnish


  1. For the dulce de leche layer, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and dark brown sugar. Once sugar dissolves, stir in the dulce de leche until thoroughly combined. Pour into the tart crust, spreading an even layer, and set aside until ready to fill with the custard.

  2. To prepare the custard, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the coffee. Bring to a simmer and let it bubble steadily until it reduces to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, place a strainer over a bowl and set aside near the stove.

  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, flour, and sugar until thoroughly mixed and a thick paste forms.

  5. Add the milk and the heavy cream to the reduced coffee, lower the heat to medium, and warm the milk mixture to just before a simmer.

  6. Continuously whisking, add a little of the milk mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Slowly continue to add the warm milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously until fully combined. Pour everything back into the same saucepan, and set the custard over medium heat.

  7. Whisking constantly, cook the coffee custard for about 7 minutes, or until thickened and air bubbles begin to pop to the surface.

  8. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and pour the custard into the strainer set over the bowl. Using a spatula, push the custard through the strainer to remove any lumps.

  9. Whisk the strained custard for about one minute, and use a spatula to gently spread an even layer of the custard on top of the dulce de leche inside the tart crust.

  10. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the custard is set, garnish with chocolate shavings before serving.

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