Do you ever need fancy desserts? Or, at least desserts that look fancy? I often need something in that category for a dinner party, or maybe just for the two of us. Yes, I made this tart for Michael and myself, and we consumed it within 2.5 days. Is that so wrong? But, the point is that I frequently find myself throwing a dessert together within the last hour or two before dinner, or even after dinner.
This is the key: dulce de leche from a can. It is a shortcut, and I don’t feel bad about it at all. I usually have a couple of cans kicking around in my pantry, waiting to rescue me from impending dessert emergencies. And look, it’s cheap. 85¢. Stock up next time you come across it in the Latin section of your grocery store.
I improvised an alfajor-inspired tart on a whim, and was thrilled with the results. I suppose I’ll have to keep making alfajor desserts to tide myself over until we can take another trip to Argentina. Oh, if you wanted to gild the lily, you could include a layer of chocolate ganache under the dulce de leche.
I used a shortbread cookie recipe for my crust.
After baking the crust, I let it cool on the counter for a few minutes. To speed things up (I’m impatient when I want dessert), I popped the whole thing in the freezer for another few minutes.
Pre-dulce de leche tart crust.
Post-dulce de leche tart. My only complaint with the dulce de leche from a can is its lack of salt, which is easily remedied with a sprinkling of fleur de sel.
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 can (approx. 13.4 oz) dulce de leche
Fleur de sel
With a mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt. Add the flour and mix on low speed, just until incorporated. Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a ball, then flatten the ball into a disk. Wrap the dough disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap it. With your fingers and palms, press the dough into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Try to get the bottom and sides as even as possible, but don’t worry about getting the dough all the way up the sides. It can be a little shallower because the filling isn’t tall, but try to make the upper edge fairly level. Bake the crust for about 12-15 minutes or more until lightly golden.
Let the tart crust cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. If you have time, let it cool there completely. If you’re in a hurry, place the crust in your freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Spread the dulce de leche over the bottom of the cooled tart crust. Sprinkle the top with fleur de sel to taste.