Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mini Chocolate Pecan Tarts: A Valentine Treat

One of the most irresistible of desserts, nothing beats a sweet and delicious Pecan Pie. This classic recipe is an updated mini bite-size version of the traditional Southern family favourite. With a buttery chocolate tart pastry and rich nutty caramel pecan topping, these mouth wateringly decadent Caramel Pecan Tarts are absolutely divine, completely addictive and the ultimate Valentine Day treat.

Mini Chocolate Pecan Tarts
Makes 4 mini tarts

Chocolate Tart Pastry:

1 cup of very cold butter cut into ½-inch pieces
1 1/3 cups of all purpose flour
1/3 cup of pastry flour
3/4 cups of icing sugar
2/3 cup of cocoa
1/4 tsp of kosher salt
1/4 cup of water

Chocolate Pecan Tart Filling:
4 large eggs
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
2/3 cup of corn syrup
2/3 cup of whipping cream
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/3 cup of brandy
1/4 cup of butter, melted
1 ½ cup of pecan halves

Chocolate Drizzle:

1/3 cup of whipping cream
4 oz of semi-sweet chocolate
1 tbsp of corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Using a food processor, combine the butter, flour, pastry flour, cocoa, icing sugar, and salt and pulse until the texture resembles coarse sand. Add the water and mix until the pastry just comes together, being careful not to over process. Using your fingers, press the dough firmly into four 4-inch mini springform pans with removable bottom and chill for 30 minutes. Line the pans with parchment paper and fill with baking beans and bake for 8-10 minutes or until just firm. Remove from the oven and discard the parchment paper and baking beans.

Reduce the oven to 350°F. Using a standing mixer fitted with flat beater attachment, begin the tart filling by beating the eggs, both the sugars, salt and syrup until just combined but not frothy. Stir in the whipping cream, vanilla, brandy, and melted butter, then fold in the pecans. Pour into the pre-baked tarts and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the filling is set and slightly puffed in the centre. Allow to cool completely before adding the optional drizzle topping.

Coarsely chop the chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl. Place a small saucepan on medium heat and cook until the cream just comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for a 2-3 minutes and stir until the both the cream and chocolate form a homogeneous mixture. Add the corn syrup and stir again.

Using a teaspoon, dot the topping of each of the cooled tarts and swirl decoratively. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. The tarts can also be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

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