Chocolate Salted Maple & Chestnut Caramel Tartlets

For the pastry: 1. Stir in the flour and ground almonds together in a large bowl, then add the butter and rub in your fingertips until the mixture looks like crumbs. Stir in the sugar. 2. Break in the egg and work into the mixture with your fingers, breaking it together to form a soft dough. 3. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a ball. Flatten with your fingers to a disc and wrap in cling film. Chill for at least 3 hours before using. 4. roll out into either 1 large tart case or 12 tartlet cases, place a piece of grease proof paper on the pastry followed by baking beans and cook at 180c for 20 mins till nice and golden.  For the Filling: 1. bring the maple syrup to the boil in a pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and add the butter and cream and combine. Add the chestnut puree, salt and the hazelnuts then pour into the tart cases.  2. melt together the chocolate and the coconut then pour into the tart cases to cover the caramel. leave to set in the fridge for an hour. 


    Salted caramel – dreamy, deliciously decadent, salty and sweet, my god its good. Mouthwateringly good. This is a festive spin on our classic salted caramel tart where we have substituted maple syrup instead of sugar and added chestnuts to the mix and you will be thrilled to know it is easier than making normal caramel.

    We often cheat when making caramel tarts by using dolce de leche, a South American sweetened condensed milk which you can find at most supermarkets, it tastes more like toffee than caramel but does the trick if you are in a rush. Using the maple is far superior in flavor and good for ones conscience knowing it is free from refined sugar.

    If the thought of making pastry fills you with dread you could always make our bake free crunchy base this only works for a large tart mind. Give or take crunch up ¾ of a packet of hobnob biscuits, about 100g of toasted pecans and a little chocolate if you wish (smash till all tiny pieces), melt about ½ a packet of butter and mix in, pour into the tart case and squish down with your fingers to form the crust, chill in the fridge till hard.

    This is our Christmas desert go to for those who are not so keen on the traditional Christmas pudding like Jemima, who the thought of mixed dried fruit, especially currants and raisins steamed into a dense pudding makes her toes curl. If serving it at Christmas then it looks magnificent with the good leaf dotted on top, you can pick this up at cake decorating shops or large supermarkets, and online too.

    When it comes to the Christmas pudding is it bad to admit we have sometimes bought it? We always make our own Christmas cake, months in advance covered in marzipan and thick icing to resemble a snowy scene. But occasionally the pudding is too much, and it is all about the drama of setting it on fire anyway. On the year(s) that we have cheated we have ordered them from “The Proof of the Pudding” – Terribly good plum puddings steeped in Alnwick rum and all homemade by a nice lady called Susan. This year we will be serving both a traditional Christmas pudding (homemade or not we haven’t yet decided) as well as the tartlets so there is something festive even for those who hate raisins. 


Makes 1 large or 12 tartlets



200ml maple syrup 

100g chestnut purree

50g butter

50g double cream 

100g roasted and chopped hazelnuts 

1 tsp of sea salt 

100g 70% dark chocolate 

1 tbsp coconut oil 



 165g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

 25g ground almonds

120g chilled unsalted butter, cubed

55g caster sugar

1 medium egg