This dulce de leche tart with popcorn crust was born of my lifelong love affair with homemade caramel corn.
I wanted to put a twist on this most delicious treat and elevate it to something you could actually serve to guests (not that I wouldn’t put out a big trough of caramel corn, but you know what I mean).
Dulce de Leche Tart with Popcorn crust
One of my favorite treats when I was young was homemade caramel corn. Now let me tell you, this was a rare treat indeed. I nearly had to beg with tear-filled eyes to get it because making it left a sink full of dirty dishes and a bit of a mess in the kitchen.
My grandmother would would make the popcorn on top of the stove, as we didn’t have a microwave then, and then she would make the caramel and drizzle it on top of the popcorn and mix it up as fast as possible before all hardened.
There is nothing like it. The caramel corn you buy at the grocery store can’t even come close to homemade. There are pieces that are just barely kissed with caramel, then there are other pieces that are fully enrobed in caramel… nothing perfect and homogeneous about Grandma’s caramel corn and that is part of what made it so good.
How to make dulce de leche
Instead of making a traditional dulce de leche, I know there is a “cheat” method which simply involves simmering the can with a few holes poked through the top. I must be honest, this never appealed to me.
I’m a bit of a purist with most things and I will admit, simmering milk in a can was a bit unsettling and it seemed kind of lazy. Those of you that have done it, I know what you’re thinking, so let me save you the trouble.
Shame on me. It was AWESOME! I thought it would somehow taste metallic (it didn’t) and that it couldn’t possibly be as good as making it the “right” way (it was damn close). It was almost zero effort except for a little whisking when it came out of the can. It couldn’t have been easier. Really.
This revelation has made me seriously question why I was so snobby about not making it like this before. I doubt that I’ll give up my purist ways, but once in awhile when I’m short on time or energy, this will be my method of choice.
Special equipment needed to make this tart:
- 9″ tart pan with removable bottom – to make 1 large tart
- 4″ tart pan with removable bottom – to make individual sized tarts
This dulce de leche tart recipe will make either three 4″ tarts or one 9″ tart.
How To make popcorn crust:
Combine popcorn, butter, sugar, salt & pepper in food processor and blitz until rubble.
Press the popcorn mixture into tart mold(s). I prefer the ones with a removable bottom, it makes getting the tart out much easier. Use a small measuring cup or glass with a flat bottom to press the sides and bottom of tart to make sure everything is even. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Then, chill it to let the butter harden before popping it into the oven.
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- 1 can sweetened, condensed milk
- 8 cups popcorn (buy it, pop it on stove, microwave… doesn’t matter)
- 4 tbsp butter, room temp
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp flaked sea salt for garnish
Make Dulce de Leche
- Carefully make 3 holes in the top of the can by hammering a nail through the lid.
- Set the can inside of a pot and fill with water until the water is about 3/4 the way up the side of the can.
- Bring to barely a simmer and let it go for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, carefully remove can from hot water and open. Pour contents into a bowl & whisk about 4 – 5 minutes until smooth.
Make Popcorn Crust
- Combine popcorn, butter, sugar, salt & pepper in food processor and blitz until rubble.
- Press the popcorn mixture into tart mold(s).
- Use a small measuring cup or glass with a flat bottom to press into the sides and bottom of tart to make sure everything is even.
- Refrigerate for an hour. This will allow everything to set up, the butter to harden, etc.
- Place into a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Pour dulce de leche into cooled popcorn crust and top with flakes of sea salt.
- You will have to replenish the water occasionally so that the level doesn’t get too low. You want to make sure the water is at least halfway up the side of the can at all times.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 2g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 34mg Sodium: 954mg Carbohydrates: 30g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 21g Protein: 2g