In this episode of Milk Street, Chris travels to Paris to sample some not-so-classic baked goods, including this delicious riff on the Fluffernutter sandwich. Le Petit Grain, a Parisian boulangerie headed by Edward Delling-Williams, combines all of the elements of the childhood favorite into a buttery, cookie-like pastry filled with an airy peanut butter meringue topped with caramel-coated roasted peanuts.

Milk Street Kitchen's Salted Peanut and Caramel Tart
Connie Miller / CB Creatives

Salted Peanut and Caramel Tart

Start to finish: 2 hours 30 minutes | Makes one 9-inch tart


For the tart shell:

  • 130 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour 50 grams (1⁄2 cup) almond flour
  • 66 grams (1⁄3 cup) white sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) salted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes and softened 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the peanut butter–meringue filling:

  • 188 grams (3⁄4 cup) creamy (smooth) peanut butter (see note) 2 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 164 grams (1⁄2 cup) corn syrup 107 grams (1⁄2 cup) white sugar

For the peanut-caramel topping:

  • 54 grams (1⁄4 cup) white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 68 grams (1⁄2 cup) dry-roasted, salted peanuts, roughly chopped Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon (optional)


To make the tart shell, mist a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray and set on a rimmed baking sheet. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine both flours, the sugar and salt, then mix on low until combined, about 5 seconds. With the mixer on low, add the butter a piece at a time. When all the butter has been added, continue mixing on low until the mixture resembles coarse sand, about 2 minutes. Add the yolk and vanilla, then mix on low until the dough is evenly moistened and cohesive, 2 to 3 minutes; the dough may not form a single mass.

Crumble the dough into the prepared tart pan, covering the bottom as evenly as possible. Using the bottom of dry measuring cup, press the dough into an even layer over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Prick the bottom and sides about every 1⁄2 inch with a fork. Set in the freezer on the baking sheet to chill until firm, at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 300°F with a rack in the middle position. When the tart shell is firm, bake it on the baking sheet until deep golden brown, 1 to 11⁄4 hours. Let cool on the baking sheet set on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes.

To make the peanut butter–meringue filling, put the peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl; set aside. In a clean, dry mixer bowl, combine the egg whites, vanilla and salt, then attach to the mixer along with the whisk attachment. In a small saucepan, combine the corn syrup, sugar and 1⁄4 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-high and cook until the syrup reaches 238°F, 3 to 4 minutes; swirl the pan once or twice before the syrup reaches a boil. When the syrup has boiled for 2 minutes, begin whipping the whites on medium and whip until they hold very soft peaks when the whisk is lifted, about 1 minute. When the syrup reaches 238°F, remove the pan from the heat and let stand just until the bubbling slows, no more than 15 seconds. Then with the mixer running on medium-high, slowly pour the hot syrup into the egg whites, aiming for the area between the whisk and the sides of the bowl. After all the syrup has been added, continue whipping on medium-high until the bowl is just warm to the touch, about 3 minutes; do not overbeat.

Meanwhile, microwave the peanut butter on high until pourable, 30 to 60 seconds, stirring once about halfway through. When the egg whites are ready, reduce the mixer to low and pour in the peanut butter. Once all the peanut butter is added, stop the mixer, then fold with a silicone spatula until homogenous, taking care not to deflate the whites. Gently pour the filling into the tart shell and spread in an even layer; set aside.

For the peanut-caramel topping: Place 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Carefully pour the sugar into the center of the pan, and stir gently with a clean spoon just until the sugar is evenly moistened. Bring to a boil over medium and cook, gently swirling the pan (do not stir) until the syrup is deep amber-colored and lightly smoking, 5 to 6 minutes. Carefully pour in the cream (the mixture will bubble and steam vigorously), then stir to combine. Add the butter, remove from the heat and continue stirring until the butter is melted and incorporated. Stir the peanuts into the caramel.

Working quickly, pour the caramel mixture evenly over the filling, then use a small spatula to gently spread it to the edges; be careful not to push the peanuts into the filling. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. Remove the outer ring from the tart pan, then sprinkle lightly with flaky salt (if using). Serve at room temperature.

Notes: Don’t use natural peanut butter (the variety that requires stirring to mix in the oil on the surface); even the creamy variety of natural peanut butter has a slight grittiness that's detectable in the tart filling. Make sure the mixer bowl and whisk attachment for whipping the meringue are perfectly clean; even a trace of grease will prevent the egg whites from attaining the proper volume.

Pay attention to the timing in the recipe, which can be tricky. To make the meringue filling, the whipped egg whites and sugar syrup need to be ready at the same time. If your egg whites reach soft peaks before the syrup is ready, reduce the mixer speed to low while you wait for the syrup to finish; this prevents the whites from turning dry and stiff. You’ll need a candy or instant thermometer for gauging the doneness of the sugar syrup. The finished tart will keep at room temperature for up to 12 hours. If you're storing it longer than an hour or so, wait to add the flaky salt garnish until just before serving and cover the tart with plastic wrap or foil.

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