Chocolate Pecan Tart

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  1 (11- by 7-inch) tart
Prep Time:  40 minutes Chilling Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  40 minutes

Chocolate Pecan Tart

A pecan tart gets a delicious makeover with the addition of cocoa powder in the classic tart crust and chocolate chips and cocoa powder in the ooey-gooey pecan and brown sugar syrup filling.

Ingredients

Crust:

2 cups (260 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus about ¼ cup for dusting

2 tablespoons (12 grams) natural cocoa powder

⅓ cup (68 grams) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Seeds of 1 vanilla bean (see Kitchen Tips)

2 sticks (1 cup/2 sticks/227 grams/8 ounces/16 tablespoons) unsalted European style or cultured butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces and chilled

4 egg yolks

 

Filling:

1 stick (½ cup/114 grams/4 ounces/8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1¼ cups (269 grams) dark brown sugar

¾ cup cane syrup or golden syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

½ teaspoons sea salt 

2 tablespoons (12 grams) cocoa powder

⅔ cup (112 grams) dark or semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup (110 grams) pecan halves

4 eggs

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process for 2 to 3 seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like  wet sand with some small pea-sized pieces in it. Add the egg yolks and process for about 2 seconds, just to combine into a raggedy, messy ball. Scoop the mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape and press the dough into a large, flat disk, about 5 by 7 inches, wrap well, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours while you prepare the filling.
  2. Make the syrup for the filling: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, cane or golden syrup, salt, and cocoa powder and set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until  the mixture just begins to bubble on the edges, and it is completely combined, and smooth. Quickly remove the pot from heat and allow to come to room temperature, stirring occasionally while you finish the crust.
  3. Lightly coat the work surface and a rolling pin with a very light dusting of cocoa powder or flour. Prepare an 11- by 7- by 2-inch baking pan by spraying with baking spray.
  4. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, place it on the work surface, and roll it out, starting in the middle and heading outward, into a 13- by 8-inch rectangle that is about ½ to ⅓ inch thick (see Kitchen Tips). Rotate the dough 45° after each roll to ensure that it does not stick to the work surface. Roll up the dough around the rolling pin and center it over the prepared pan, resting it lightly on the edges. Gently unroll the dough into the pan. This is a forgiving dough, and you can press any tears together with your chilly fingers, as necessary. Tuck the corners into the side of the pan well. Then, roll the rolling pin over the edges of the pan to remove any excess dough. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the crust from the refrigerator, still in its pan, and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly into it. Carefully arrange the pecan halves over the chips in a single layer, in a decorative pattern. Refrigerate while you finish the filling.
  6. To make the filling, whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Scoop the syrupy cocoa mixture into the eggs and whisk until fully combined.
  7. Remove the tart crust from the refrigerator, still in its pan, and place it on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills). Pour the cocoa mixture gently and evenly over the nuts.
  8. Bake for 32 to 40 minutes, until the center of the filling jiggles just a bit, the crust is fully baked, and the nuts are a toasty brown. Allow to cool completely on a rack.

Kitchen Tips

  1. To remove the seeds from a vanilla bean pod, slit it lengthwise with a sharp knife, and scrape out the seeds. The seeds can be added to baked goods, ice creams and many other recipes. The pod can be added to a container of granulated sugar to make vanilla-scented sugar (aka vanilla sugar) or added to liquid infusions.
  2. You can use pans of other shapes and sizes for these tarts. If you use a 9-inch square pan, roll the dough into a 12-inch square, and if you are using a 10-inch round pan, roll it into a 12-inch circle (both 2 inches deep).

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