Great Grandma’s Traditional Caramel Tart Recipe

One of the biggest things, among many, that reminds me it’s Christmas, is definitely my Great Grandmother’s Caramel Tart Recipe.

Every Christmas, without fail, there is a homemade Caramel Tart at the family gathering.

The filling recipe has been passed down through 4 generations from my Great Grandmother.

My Great Grandmother made it when I was young, Nana has been making it for many years, my not-so-baking-inclined Mother helps but hasn’t made it herself, and now I make it for my family too.

The filling recipe was handed down with no pastry shell recipe to accompany it, so store bought is generally what it was being made with, and although that still tasted great, when I started to make the recipe, I decided to find a great tart shell recipe to go along with it that’s now my go to.

So, here you have my Great Grandma’s Traditional Caramel Tart Filling Recipe with my added Pastry Shell Recipe.

(This will be a step-by-step walkthrough; the full recipe can be found below)


To begin, gather your necessary pastry shell ingredients.


Then to a large mixing bowl add the butter and flour.

Rub them together until they look somewhat like breadcrumbs.

Then stir in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix it until combined then use your hands to squeeze the mixture and form a ball.

Roll the dough out between two sheets of cling (saran) wrap.


Prep your tart/pie pan to avoid sticking (this is just an extra precaution, it’s generally not a problem with this recipe).

Remove the top layer of cling wrap and no-so-gracefully flip the dough into your pie/tart pan. Use your finger to neaten up the edges then fill in any gaps with overhanging pastry dough.

Fold some non-stick baking paper (a piece bigger then the size of your pan), over at least 3-4 times and measure it against your tart.

Cut it so it roughly covers the bottom of your tart.

Add your ceramic baking weights and place in a preheated 180c (350f) oven. (Take a blurry ass pic so you can’t show that you put the pie in the over… -.-‘)

Once the sides have turned a light golden brown, remove the shell from the oven. Remove the ceramic beads (CAREFULLY, they are super hot) and put it back in the over to crisp up the base.

Remove once the base has begun to brown and leave to cool.

OPTIONAL STEP! Tastes good with or without a light layer of dark chocolate (bitterness to offset sweetness).

Melt your chocolate: 30 second intervals using the microwave, or power to you if you use the double boiler method.

Then spread a very thin layer on your cooled pastry shell. (Too thick and it becomes impossible to cut, to avoid this you could substitute straight chocolate for a ganache)


Now finally, to the main event! The Caramel Filling!

Gather your caramel filling ingredients.

Place the brown sugar, milk and butter into a saucepan.

Take to the stove top and bring the contents to the boil, mixing occasionally to avoid burning.

It will look a little like it has curdled to begin with but keep mixing and boiling until it begins to smooth out and thicken slightly. Add the custard powder, sprinkling and mixing (or dissolving it in milk then adding it) to avoid clumping. And voila!

Add the caramel to your tart shell (my chocolate was still fairly fresh when I did this so there was some mixing).

Top with a pretty chocolate swirl if you like. And place in the fridge for an hour or so to set. (It doesn’t set like a jelly but it shouldn’t be at all watery)

Finally, it can be served like that, or as I prefer it, with some hand whipped cream! (My stand mixer was broken so I really did hand mix this)

Now you can enjoy this Christmas nostalgic dessert too!


Pastry Shell Recipe
Prep Time 10-15 minutes Cooking Time 10-15 minutes

125g unsalted butter
50g or ¼ cup of caster or superfine sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla
200g or 1 ¼ cups plain or all-purpose flour


Rub the butter into the flour, keep going until it looks like bread crumbs.

Stir in the sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla then stir until combined. Use your hands to squeeze the mixture together to form a ball.

Roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap. Place over pre-prepped pie or tart pan. Use your fingers to neaten edges then fill in any gaps with excess dough.

Line the base and sides with non-stick paper and add ceramic baking weights. Place in the oven until it is lightly brown.

Remove the baking beads and the paper and return it to the oven so that base can crisp up. Once it is golden remove from the oven and leave to cool.

*OPTIONAL – Add light layer of dark chocolate or ganache


Caramel Filling Recipe
Prep Time 10-15 minutes Cooking Time 10-15 minutes

1 metric cup Brown sugar

1 metric cup Full Cream Milk

1 tablespoon Butter

2 tablespoons Custard Powder


Add the brown sugar, milk and butter to a saucepan

Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to keep from burning

It will look a little like it has curdled but keep boiling and stirring until it smooths out and begins to thicken

Then add about 2 tbsp. of custard powder sprinkled carefully to avoid clumps or dissolved in milk.

Continue to mix and allow to thicken a little more then remove from heat and add to tart shell.



What’s recipe reminds you most of Christmas?

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