Frozen Pecan Tart

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About

Oven Temperature 425°F/220°C for the tart shell; 350°F/175°C for the pecan tart

Baking Time 25 to 35 minutes for the tart shell; 15 to 20 minutes for the pecan tart

This is a truly magical riff on my best pecan pie. Not only does it have the same mellow butterscotch flavor imparted by the golden syrup and Muscovado sugar, it is less sweet and more chewy because it is designed to be eaten frozen. In fact, it stays just soft enough when frozen to make cutting slices easy. It is one of my most beloved holiday pies and has the additional advantage of being able to be frozen well ahead of serving.

Ingredients

Sweet Cookie Tart Crust

Pâte Sucrée

VOLUME WEIGHT
Sweet Cookie Tart Crust (Pâte Sucrée) 1 cup 11.3 ounces 321 grams

Filling

VOLUME WEIGHT
golden syrup or corn syrup cup (79 ml), cup lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray 4 ounces 113 grams
light brown Muscovado sugar, or dark brown sugar ½ cup, firmly packed 3.8 ounces 108 grams
4 (to 6) large egg yolks, at room temperature ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons (69 ml) 2.6 ounces 74 grams
heavy cream ¼ cup (59 ml) 2 ounces 58 grams
unsalted butter (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C) 4 tablespoons (½ stick) 2 ounces 57 grams
fine sea salt a pinch . .
pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon (5 ml) . .
pecan halves (see Note) cups 6 ounces 170 grams

Special Equipment

One 9½ by 1 inch high fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, sprayed with baking spray with flour if not a nonstick pan | An expandable flan ring or 12 inch round cardboard template | One 8 inch round cake pan | A baking sheet lined with nonstick or lightly sprayed aluminum foil | A large coffee urn filter, several smaller cup-style filters, or pleated parchment to be filled with beans or rice as weights (spray the bottom(s) lightly with nonstick cooking spray) | A foil ring to protect the edges of the crust

Method

Roll the Dough

Set the dough between lightly floured large sheets of plastic wrap. Roll it evenly into a ⅛ inch thick disc larger than 12 inches in diameter. While rolling the dough, sprinkle it with a little more flour on each side as needed and if the dough softens significantly, slip it onto a baking sheet and refrigerate it until firm (see Notes). From time to time, flip the dough with the plastic wrap, and lift off and flatten out the plastic wrap as necessary to make sure it does not wrinkle into the dough.

Line the Tart Pan

Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap and use the expandable flan ring, or a pizza wheel or small sharp knife with the cardboard template as a guide, to cut a 12 inch disc. If using the pizza wheel or knife, take care not to cut through the bottom plastic wrap. (Excess dough can be frozen for several months.) If the dough softens after cutting the disc, refrigerate it until firm. It will not drape over the pan unless it is flexible, so if it becomes too rigid in the refrigerator, let it sit and soften for a few minutes.

Invert the 8 inch cake pan onto a work surface. Use the bottom sheet of plastic wrap to lift the dough and set it, plastic side down, over the 8 inch cake pan (see Lemon and Cranberry Tart Tart). Smooth down the sides so they will fit into the tart pan and place the removable bottom of the tart pan on top. Then carefully place the fluted ring, upside down, on top. Place a flat plate, cardboard round, or wire rack over the tart pan to keep it from separating. Invert the pans and remove the cake pan. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap. Gently ease the dough down to reach the bottom and sides of the pan. If the dough breaks when transferring it into the pan, patch and press it into the pan with your fingers.

Fold in the excess dough to halfway down the sides of the tart pan. Press it against the sides so that it extends ⅛ to ¼ inch above the top of the pan. If the dough is thicker in places, press it so that it becomes thinner (it will rise higher). Use small sharp kitchen scissors to trim it to ⅛ to ¼ inch above the top of the pan. If pressing in the dough with your fingers, press it at the juncture where the bottom meets the sides, which often tends to be thicker. For a decorative border, use the back of a knife to make diagonal marks all around, using each flute as a guide.

Chill the Tart Shell

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it or freeze it for a minimum of 1 hour.

Preheat the Oven

Thirty minutes or longer before baking, set oven racks at the middle and lowest levels and preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.

Bake the Tart Shell

Run a finger along the outside fluted edge of the pan to make sure that no dough is attached. The dough must not extend onto the outside of the pan because as the sides slip down a bit on baking, it will make a hole when the baked crust is removed.

Line the pan with the coffee filter or parchment and fill it about three-quarters full with beans or rice to weight it, pushing the weights up against the sides. Carefully transfer the tart pan to the foil-lined baking sheet and set it on the lower rack.

Bake for 5 minutes, lower the heat to 375°F/190°C, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until set. If not set, the dough will stick more to the filter. Lift out the filter with the weights. Place the foil ring on top of the tart shell to protect the edges from overbrowning, and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes more. If the dough starts to puff in places, press it down quickly with your fingertips or the back of a spoon (see Notes). Bake until pale gold (the edges will be a deeper brown) and the tart shell feels set but still soft to the touch. (It will continue firming while cooling, just the way cookies do.)

Cool the Tart Shell

Remove the tart pan, still on the baking sheet, to a wire rack. Remove the foil ring and set it aside. If any holes have formed, seal them with a little egg white and return the pan to the oven for 30 seconds for the egg white to set and become opaque. Alternatively, seal the hole or holes with a little melted white chocolate.

Lower the oven temperature to 350°F/175°C.

The unbaked tart shell can be refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for about 1 year. The baked tart shell will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days.

Make the Filling

Have ready a strainer suspended over a 2 cup glass measure with a spout.

In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the golden syrup, brown sugar, egg yolks, cream, butter, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, until it is uniform in color and just begins to thicken slightly, without letting the mixture boil, 7 to 10 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer should read 160°F/71°C.) Pour it at once into the strainer and press it through. Stir in the vanilla.

Assemble the Tart

Arrange the pecans, top sides up, on the bottom of the baked tart shell. Starting at the center, with the cup’s spout just above the pecans, slowly pour the filling, lightly coating the nuts and working from the center to the edge of the tart. Once the filling is completely poured, the pecans will float. Gently shake the tart pan to shift the pecans. This will create a little more space; add more pecans to form a tight blanket of nuts.

Bake the Tart

Place the foil ring on top to protect the edges from overbrowning and set the baking sheet with the assembled tart on the middle rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling is puffed and golden and just beginning to bubble around the edges. The filling will shimmy slightly when moved and an instant-read thermometer inserted near the center will read 190° to 200°F/88° to 93°C. Check early to prevent overbaking, which would result in a dry filling.

Cool the Tart

Remove the tart, still on the baking sheet, and set it on a wire rack. Remove the foil ring. Immediately use a metal cake lifter or 10 inch or longer grill spatula to slide the tart pan onto a wire rack to cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Unmold the Tart

Place the tart pan on top of a canister that is smaller than the bottom opening of the tart pan’s outer rim. Wet a dish towel with hot water and wring it out well. Apply it to the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Press down on both sides of the tart ring. The outer rim should slip away easily. If not, apply more heat. Slip a long metal spatula between the crust and the bottom of the pan, loosening it all around if necessary, and slide the tart onto a serving plate. If desired, decorate with the chocolate lace topping.

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