Pecan pie is one of my favorite desserts, but eating a big old slice of it can bring on a case of severe sugar shock, especially after Thanksgiving dinner. That’s why I like to make it as a tart instead of a pie, so there’s less sweet filling. In this version, I added some chocolate to the filling, which counterbalances the tart’s sweetness, and some coconut flakes, which add an interesting, chewy texture. A shot of dark rum contributes a deep, smokey-sweet endnote. Though not necessary, a drizzle of dark chocolate over the finished tart will make it extra fancy.
Makes 8 servings
- 1 ½ cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (37 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 9 tablespoons (127 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen for 15 minutes
- 3 tablespoons (44 grams) ice-cold water
- 2 large (100 grams) eggs
- 1/2 cup packed (108 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (170 grams) Lyle’s Golden Syrup* or light corn syrup
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) sweetened flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup (85 grams) good quality semisweet chocolate morsels (I used Guittard)
- 2 cups (227 grams) pecan halves
*Note: You can usually find this in the syrup aisle of the supermarket, where the maple syrup is. If you can’t find Lyle’s Golden Syrup, use light corn syrup – don’t be tempted to try another brand of cane sugar syrup.
Make the crust:
- Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse few times to combine. Add the butter pieces and toss lightly to coat with flour. Blend the butter and flour with about five 1-second pulses or until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal with some of the butter pieces the size of small peas. Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture and process continuously until the dough begins to clump together. Do not over-process; the dough should not form a ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape it into a thick 4-inch wide disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.
- Place the unwrapped dough on a work surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle, lifting and rotating the dough often, while dusting the work surface and dough lightly with flour as necessary. Roll the dough up on the rolling pin and unroll it over an 11-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Roll the pin over the top of the pan to trim off the excess dough. Lightly prick the bottom of the dough with a fork at 1-inch intervals. Refrigerate the dough in the pan for 20 minutes to firm up the dough. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375˚
- After the tart shell has chilled, line the dough with parchment paper or aluminum foil and cover with pie weights or dried beans. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Carefully lift the paper or foil (along with the weights) out of the tart pan and bake the crust for 8 to 12 minutes longer, or until lightly golden brown around the edgeds. Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack and allow to cool while you make the filling. Leave the oven on, but reduce the temperature to 325˚F.
Make the filling:
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until the yolks and whites are blended. Whisk in the sugar, breaking up any lumps in the mixture. Whisk in the Lyle’s syrup, melted butter, dark rum, vanilla and salt. Stir in the coconut, chocolate and pecans.
- Pour the filling into the prepared tart crust and place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake the tart for 35 to 45 minutes, until the center is slightly puffed and just set but still slightly quivery (but not liquid). Cool the pie completely on a wire rack. Serve slices of the tart with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.