November 25, 2009

Pecan Tarts/Tartlets

Pâte Brisée Recipe

Makes enough for an open-shell 9" tart or at least 24-36 mini muffin-sized tartlets. Double for a double-crust pie or for lattice work on top.

1 1/4 cups flour
4 oz COLD unsalted butter (1 stick), cut in ~8 pieces
1/2 tsp KOSHER salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
1 tsp sugar
1/4-1/3 cup cold water

Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a stainless steel bowl. Add the cold butter (cut into 1/2" blocks). Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal (the butter chunks are pea size). You can also use a food processor using the pulse feature to get the same effect. Do not overmix! The key here is to keep the butter and flour from blending or you'll end up with doughy, elastic crust.

Add just enough cold water (and no more) and blend quickly with a few strokes using the pastry cutter. The key here is to get the flour mixture to just come together slightly. 
The dough will seem like it doesn't come together but it will later, trust me!

Turn onto a large piece of plastic wrap, form into a ball and refrigerate for at least 1 hr or more. The colder the dough the easier it is to roll.

Turn onto a floured table and roll out.

Remember to work the dough the LEAST possible; the more you work the dough, the less flaky and more doughy the crust will be! 
Chocolate FillingAdapted from a recipe from Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts Book4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped4 oz unsalted butter (1 stick), cut in ~8 pieces1 cup granulated sugar1 cup light corn syrup4 eggs1 teaspoon vanilla1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Melt the butter in the microwave (2 minutes @50% power). Add chocolate to the melted butter and let sit for 10-15 minutes undisturbed until chocolate is melted. If the chocolate doesn't completely melt, finish in microwave for 30-60 seconds @50% power.
  2. In a medium-size saucepan, combine sugar and corn syrup and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Stir in the chocolate-butter mixture until blended. Then whisk in the syrup until well blended. Stir in vanilla and chopped pecans and set aside to cool.
Regular FillingAdapted from Karo Syrup's Classic Pecan Pie Recipe1 cup granulated sugar1 cup light corn syrup3 eggs2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted1 teaspoon vanilla1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  1. Whisk together sugar, syrup and eggs until well blended.
  2. Whisk in melted butter.
  3. Whisk in vanilla and chopped pecans.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Roll out pie dough (pâte brisée) onto tart pan, pie plate. If doing mini tartlets, use a mini-muffin pan and use a round cookie cutter (~2-2.5") to cut dough into small round shells you can put in each mini-muffin hole.
  3. Fill pie(s)/tart(s) with desired filling to near top and bake for ~60 minutes or until filling is set for regular pie or tart (9-11" diameter). For mini-muffin sized, bake for 18-20 minutes.

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