Sunday, 6 June 2010

Pecan tart

It’s easy to get stuck in a baking rut and keep making similar things using your favourite ingredients.
Every once in a while it’s nice to ask someone else for inspiration – this week I asked Mr CC to pick ingredients for me to use and he chose pecans and maple syrup. So obviously, it had to be pecan tart (nope, I won’t call it pie – sorry!)

I know most people would call this ‘pecan pie’ but I really struggle calling something ‘pie’ when it doesn’t have a pastry lid.
It breaches all that is right in this world to misname baked goods in such a way. The Oxford English Dictionary defines pie as “a baked dish of savoury or sweet ingredients encased in or topped with pastry” – note the “encased in” bit – the pastry must seal in the filling. I’m disappointed that the OED allows anything topped with pastry to be called a pie but I’ll leave that battle for another day. So to sum up – this is a TART and not a PIE. Now that that can of worms has been successfully opened I feel a lot better....I’m no psychic but I sense this may lead to some comments....

The pastry interested me in this recipe as it didn’t use egg; normally my short crust pastry always uses egg yolk.
It produced a drier, more biscuity pastry which contrasted well with the incredibly rich and sticky filling. The filling sets firm but, while the top sets hard, the inside remains soft and moist.

I served it at room temperature with thick cream but it would also be lovely warm with ice cream.

You’ll notice in my ingredients list I used half golden syrup and half maple syrup – you can easily use all of one if you wish.

Homage to the dawn of computer is a pecan tart pretending to be a pacman:


For the pastry:

200g plain flour
115g unsalted butter, cold
2 tablespoons caster sugar
cold water

For the filling:
70g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g light muscovado sugar
70g golden syrup
70g maple syrup
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
130g pecan nuts, roughly chopped


Start by making the pastry: place the flour and butter in a food processor and blitz until you have breadcrumbs. Alternatively, rub the butter into the flour by hand.

Stir in the sugar and enough water to bring the crumbs to a stiff dough. I pulsed the mix in my food processor and found that 3 ½ tablespoons of cold water was enough.

Form the pastry into a fat disc and wrap in clingfilm, refrigerating for 20 minutes.

Roll the pastry out between two sheets of clingfilm (no extra flour needed) until it is large enough to line a 23cm round loose bottomed tart tin.

Prick the base of the pastry with a fork.

Chill for a further 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.

Cover the pastry with baking paper and weigh down with baking beans.

Cook for 10 minutes then remove the paper and beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Put to one side while you make the filling.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

To make the filling place the butter, sugar, golden syrup and maple syrup into a saucepan and gently heat, stirring all the time, until the ingredients have melted and combined.

Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Stir in the chopped pecans.

Pour the mixture into the pastry case and make sure the nuts are evenly distributed.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the filling is set. Mine took 35 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin, on a wire rack.

Serve either at room temperature with thick cream or warm with ice cream.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.



Heaven is a Cupcake said...

Yum! I will have to have a go at this at some point :) I can't call them pies either... It just doesn't make sense!!

Lisa said...

Pecan pie/tart is one of the most gloriously sticky insane foods on the planet that I cannot get enough of. I love the golden/maple syrup combo as most American recipes call for straight corn syrup and this blend sounds divine.

Have you ever had shoo-fly pie?

C said...

Yum, tart! Reminds me of my mum's treacle tart - so good with cream or custard! I ought to try it with maple syrup too.

Blessed Rain said...

My favorite treat!

Victoria said...

CC! yummm definetly a tart...and filled with two things that make me pine for home! My mum makes a killer maple pecan! Hope tomorrow is a blast (it is my birthday too!) :)

Margaret said...

Lovely tart CC. Sheer indulgence.

Soo said...

That's a fine looking pecan PIE you made there. Alhtough I'm more a fan of a lemon meringue PIE or maybe a spicy pumpkin PIE or a gorgeous coconut cream PIE.

Pretty much anything I guess - as long as it is PIE.

Cakelaw said...

I love pecan pie - er, tart - and this one sure looks good.

Jacqueline said...

I don't care what it is called. It looks divine. I am going to try this one. Big surprise huh? I think I am one of your chief testers :)

Y said...

Pie/tart, potayto/potahto.. As long as it's sticky and gooey, I'm there. :)

pigpigscorner said...

I love pecan pie! So sticky and nutty...yum!

Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream) said...

I'm with you on the pie issue!!! This looks yummy.

Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream) said...

I'm with you on the pie issue!!! This looks yummy.

Anh said...

This is such a perfect looking tart

Katie said...

Looks delicious and I agree with you that its a tart!

Lucie said...

Oh this looks delish! You are so right about baking ruts - I must expand my mind :) Lucie x

Baking Addict said...

Your pecan tart looks amazing. My mum calls it pecan pie and she makes a really good one. I've never made one myself but may have to give it a go soon.

Chef Dennis said...

what a beautiful pecan tart!! yoiu don't see them often enough, thanks so much for sharing, maybe we can rekindle its popularity!