Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tart It Up

I've always had mixed feelings about pecan pie.  On one hand, I love pecans and I love pie.  On another, I often shy away from desserts I'd classify as super-sweet.  As a Southerner, I fee a little inauthentic not loving pecan pie.  It's not that I don't like it, I just...  What is it?  I know.  I'm not satisfied with the traditional goo-to-nut ratio.  Too much goo.  Not enough nut.  You know?

Rather than forfeit pecan pie altogether, I decided to look for alternatives.  Alternative #1: Put more stuff in the goo.  Chocolate chips surfaced in a few recipes I considered.  So did bourbon.  Alternative #2:  Have less goo.  This option manifested itself in the form of a tart.  Hmmm... Both alternatives sounded good, but I don't get to use my tart pan enough, so I opted for #2.

And so began my first attempt at Maple Pecan Tart (Bon Appetit, November 2007).

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

3 large eggs
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

For crust:
Using electric mixer, beat butter in medium bowl until smooth. Add sugar, egg yolk, and salt; beat until blended. Add flour and beat just until dough begins to clump together. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface to 10 1/2-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Place crust in freezer 30 minutes before filling and baking.

For filling:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in medium bowl until well blended. Whisk in maple syrup, corn syrup, melted butter, and salt. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into unbaked crust. Place tart on rimmed baking sheet.
Bake tart until filling is slightly puffed and set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Tent loosely with foil and let stand at room temperature.
Cut tart into wedges and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Literate Baker Notes:  If you can get your hands on Grade B maple syrup, please do!  My tart pan was 10 inches; it worked fine, but my crust was a little thin.  I think that's a good enough reason to go buy a 9-inch pan.  Don't you?  If you don't have a reliable pecan supply (thanks, Mom!), I think walnuts would be equally nice.

The greatly-reduced volume of goo combined with added flavor of maple made this tart truly delightful.  It was even enjoyed by my husband (whose favorite part of pecan pie is the goo).  It's a perfectly classy way to tart it up and...

Keep is sweet.
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1 comment:

  1. I love the goo! I like pecans, don't get me wrong, but the goo is what makes or breaks a pecan pie....