Saturday, December 6, 2014

Chocolate pecan tart- recipe

I had ambitious plans to finish decorating the Christmas tree last weekend.  But it never happened.  Instead I took a break after an exhausting Thanksgiving week... and enjoyed a few slices of the chocolate pecan tart that I made for our little family get-together. 

I decided to needed to stop..........sit down, and do nothing... or read a book or magazine....

.... or watch a movie (I ended up watching 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid')....

....and take the time to really enjoy this simple but luscious dessert, with its layers of pecans, caramel, and chocolate ganache set in a yummy shortbread crust.....

....looking so pretty on this pink and white Royal Staffordshire plate (another Clarice Cliff design, for more of her wonderful designs, see this post).

This is an easy, straightforward recipe that can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Shortbread Crust

1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Pecan Filling

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Chocolate Ganache Topping

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips ( I like to use Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  You will need a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.

Make the Shortbread Crust

1. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using a hand mixer or stand mixer.  Add the egg and the vanilla and mix at low speed until combined. While continuing to mix at low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, mixing just until the dough starts to come together.  Don't over-mix the dough, or the crust will be tough.

3. Scrape the dough into the tart pan and use your fingers to to press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Set the crust aside.

Make the Pecan Filling

1.  Place the butter, honey, and sugars in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.  Initially, the mixture will be dark in color, as shown below.  

Continue to boil the mixture for 3 minutes; the mixture should be lighter in color by the time you are done-- see below.   Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pecans.  Stir in the cream.  

Pour the pecan mixture into the prepared crust and bake for 30 minutes.  Cool the tart on a wire rack for 1 hour. 

Make the Chocolate Ganache Topping

1. Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and set aside.  In a small saucepan, combine the heavy whipping cream and sugar.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil.  Pour the hot cream mixture into the bowl with the chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute.  Whisk the mixture until smooth and glossy.

Garnish the Pecan Tart

1. Pour the warm ganache over the cooled tart and spread evenly with a spatula (offset spatula if you have one).  Tilting the tart pan back and forth helps to achieve an even, smooth coating.

2. Place the tart uncovered in the refrigerator for a few minutes to set the topping.  You can store the tart in the refrigerator for several days.  It does just fine sitting out at room temperature too, and, in my opinion, tastes better this way.  

For the tart shown in this post, I doubled the recipe for the ganache topping, chocolate fiend that I am.  You can go with the recipe as is, double the chocolate ganache, double the pecan/caramel mixture, or double everything.... depending on what you fancy. Although if you double the pecan/caramel mixture you will likely need a deeper tart pan and will need to bake it longer.

A note about that blob of whipped cream sitting on top of the tart. It IS real whipped cream; I made it by whipping heavy whipping cream and adding a few tablespoons of sugar...... 

 .....I just over beat it, which is why it looks like a chunk of Styrofoam.  So.... the take away on this is that for a soft, pretty looking dollop of whipped cream on your desserts, beat the cream (hand mixer or stand mixer) just until soft peaks form and stop short of the stage where the peaks are so stiff you can stand your pretty little vintage silver fork upright in it.  It's just a matter of aesthetics-- it still tastes good either way.

Linking to:

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
The Scoop #148 at Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Wow us Wednesdays #199 at Savvy Southern Style
Holiday Recipe Link-Up Party at Thistlewood Farms
The Foodie Friday and Everything Else Link Party at Rattlebridge Farm


  1. WOW, how creative you are. This chocolate recipe is amazing and I know my kids will love them too. I can't wait to make these for them. Thank you