Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pecan Tart

Natasha's favorite dessert is probably pecan pie. Pecan pie is often requested when I ask if I can bring a dessert when we are invited to her beautiful home for dinner. This time I decided to mash together two recipes to see if I could get the beauty and flavor of a pecan pie, but a crust which is easier to serve and not as prone to leaking. Fortunately it worked and now I can share with you how to make a wonderful, delicious to eat and easy to serve pecan tart. Natasha liked it a lot!

I started with the recipe from a loooooong time ago from a post from 2007. That February I posted each day from the first until Valentines day, with the theme of 'How Do I Love You?". If you have time check it out...there are some good recipes there. For that day, I think it was the fifth, but not sure now, I was making a mosaic nut tart and it was similar enough that it seemed it would work for the pecan tart. At the time I was still able to eat butter. It really does taste better with butter, so if you can, use a good quality butter and make sure that whichever fat you use is well chilled. It really helps to have cold butter or margarine. It makes a stable and tasty crust somewhat like a cookie. The filling rarely seeps through, but I bake it on a cookie sheet just in case. Baked on sugar and syrup filling is no fun to clean off the oven floor.

This tart crust uses a food processor, but if you don't have on, just put the dry ingredients in a bowl, cut the fat in with a pastry blender or two knives held close together, then, when the fat is cut into the flour mixture so that most pieces are tiny, stir in the yolk with a fork.

The pecan filling is straight from the dark Karo syrup bottle. Eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and Karo (plus some melted butter if your remember to add it, which I didn't) are stirred together. The nuts are added and the mixture turned into the cold, but unbaked, tart shell. I turned all my pecans with the curved side up and arranged them a bit in a nice pattern. As you might have guessed, I love playing with my food! It will taste just fine if you pour in the filling and put it right into the oven. A nice helping of whipped cream on top and no one will be the wiser.

If you've never had pecan pie or tart I should warn you that this is a very sweet dessert. You could reduce the sugar by a bit, but if you take out too much it will change the consistency and you might get a filling that is too loose or too grainy. Unsweetened whipped cream cuts the sweetness in a very rich but lovely way, if you do dairy.

By the way, very early tomorrow morning Sweetie and I will be headed off for a vacation. If I can I'll post while I'm gone, although it will most likely be about the trip rather than food. Otherwise I'll do posts and food once I come back. If you get bored, there are over 1,000 recipes on this blog...try a few. Some of the ones from the early years (ten years ago in a handful of days!) are really good. Just sayin'.

Pecan Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart

Combine 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and ½ cup very cold butter (or margarine), cut into pieces. Whirl in a food processor or cut butter in with a pastry blender or two knives until coarse crumbs form. Add 1 egg yolk; process or sir until dough sticks together.

Using a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, put chunks of the dough over the bottom and use your clean fingers to smoosh the dough over the bottom and up the sides into a fairly smooth layer. Freeze for 30 minutes or more.

3 eggs
1 cup dark Karo corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl beat the eggs to break them up, then add the corn syrup, sugar, vanilla and butter.

Add the pecans and stir to coat. Pour the filling into the prepared, chilled tart pan. Arrange the nuts if you like. Put the tart on a cookie sheet and put into the preheated oven. Bake approximately 50 minutes. Finished tart will have browned nuts and the filling will be only slightly jiggly in the center.

Cool on a rack for 2 hours. Remove the tart sides and chill in the refrigerator for an hour or more. Bring to room temperature to serve.

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