Chocolate Pecan Tart with Bourbon & Orange

31 January 2014 Cassandra Lea

Here it is: the dessert that you wish someone had made during the holidays. It’s a rich and toothsome delight, full of various textures and flavors: crunchy, custardy, crispy, buttery, salty, bittersweet, lick-your-fingers-delectable. 

If you often find pecan pie to be too sweet, this one's for you. We've taken the concept of a traditional pecan pie but pared down the filling and added chunks of bittersweet Theo Chocolate and a bit of orange zest, both of which balance the sweetness of the nuts and sugar custard. We've also chosen a “pat-in-the-pan” crust that we've borrowed from the ever reliable Joy of Cooking. It is deliciously simple, quick, and stress-free, so if you suffer from pie anxiety, fear not! This one comes together in a snap.

Feel free to serve the tart warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream or ice cream, cut into wedges or squares, however you like. Make it now or bookmark it for Valentine's Day. You and those lucky enough to share your table will be so glad you did.

FOR THE CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 3 tbsp cream or milk

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle the cream or milk over the flour mixture and stir until it is evenly moistened and holds together when pinched. Using your hands, transfer the dough to a 10” or 11” tart pan or pie plate and press the dough into the bottom and up the sides using lightly floured fingers (or, you can press the dough in with the assistance of a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap). Try to make the dough of even thickness. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

Prick the chilled shell in several places with a fork. Bake in the center of the oven until golden at the edges, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

FOR THE FILLING

  • 7 oz. (about 2 cups) pecans, chopped

  • 4 oz. Theo 70% Dark Chocolate, chopped

  • 1/4 cup cane sugar syrup (such as Lyle's Golden Syrup) or pure Grade B maple syrup

  • 1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp bourbon or brandy

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into several pieces

  • 1/2 tsp orange zest (optional)

  • 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350°F. (If you have just baked the shell, you can simply reduce the oven temperature to 350°F at this time).

Combine the chopped pecans and chocolate and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the cane sugar syrup, brown sugar, salt, and bourbon. Bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the butter.  Stir to melt, then add the orange zest.  Whisk in the eggs until thoroughly combined. Cool slightly, if still very warm.

Add the reserved pecans and chocolate and stir, then pour the filling into the prepared tart shell.

Bake for 25- 30 minutes, until puffed and set.

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