Monday, December 29, 2014

Alpha Bakers -- Frozen Pecan Tart


I don't do pecan pies. I just do not. Despite my love of caramel and nuts and pie crust, pecan pie is one of those things that people are yes or no on, and I am no. Why exactly? Can't say. But I don't make them and I don't eat them. There are so many good pies out there, why play around? Also, pecans are expensive.

It's just too early to bail on a bake-through now, though, so I made that Frozen Pecan Tart and now it is frozen and it is awaiting the first day of the new year, when it will be consumed with (presumptive) joy by the assembled crowd at my house. Here's how it went.

The crust: a food processor cookie-style dough, with turbinado sugar (I used raw). The dough was easy to work with, so easy that I didn't go through the elaborate pan-lining strategy outlined by the book, but just lined my tart pan as I always do, and was very satisfied with the results, especially the lack of puffing up in the par-baking. This may be my new go-to tart crust for sweet tarts. I'll probably stick with Dorie Greenspan's savory tart crust, but they're not that different.

The filling is a quick custard with egg yolks, sugar, butter, and golden syrup. I was glad to strain it because there were definitely a few egg bits, but the final product came out delicious. Can't I just eat that with a spoon and skip the whole dreaded pecan pie thing? Whatever.
My pecans were on the small side, so they didn't line up into the prettiest patterns, but otherwise the bake was uneventful. My only quarrel was with the instruction to un-mold the tart then slip it into a freezer bag once cooled. I had left the bottom round on instead of switching to a serving plate, and was glad I did, because the outer crust was too fragile to bag unsupported, and started crumbling off right away as I tried to get it in (cook's treat). I re-molded the tart into the tart ring and froze it that way. If I need the tart ring before we eat it it will come off easily, and the tart will be much sturdier now that it is frozen.

No comments on taste at this time, will update once we sample it on New Year's Day. 
UPDATE: The tart sliced beautifully, as promised. The filling had more stability to it than I expected, though, and remained reasonably firm even at a warm room temperature, rather than becoming a mess of goo, making it a perfect party dessert.

The pecan pie aficionados were loud in this tart's praise. 'Special,' 'good texture,' and 'delicious' were bandied about, and in general it was popular. I tasted it for authenticity's sake, and while I didn't love it, I think if the filling had been taken to a slightly deeper caramel stage and made into chewy caramels, I would have. Perhaps my pecan pie issue is more of a texture issue, in the end. It was a complete success of its kind.

9 comments:

Patricia Reitz said...

Good save on the crust. I was afraid mine tart was going to break in the middle because it was still a bit soft and flexible so I froze it on the tart base lined with parchment. Hope you like it! When you get a chance, I'd love if you'd visit my post.

Patricia @ ButterYum
http://www.butteryum.org/roses-alpha-bakers/2014/12/21/tbb-frozen-pecan-tart

Kimberlie Robert said...

Hi Katya, don't forget to update us on whether you liked the tart. In spite of your protest, the pie looks delicious. Happy New Year!

Monica Caretto said...

I have to agree with you on the pecan being a bit rich on my wallet.. but I was able to find them in the bulk place and bought just enough for the recipe, which keep the cost way down.

Michele at The Artful Oven said...

Katya: Pecans grow locally, so they aren't too pricey in North Carolina. Good thing, too, because I really love this pie!! I used a regular pastry crust and although the crust didn't slice very well when frozen, it tasted heavenly. I hope you like it! Wishing you a happy new year, and best of baking in 2015--Michele

phylliscaroline said...

I'm not a fan of pecan pie either so I'll be interested to see what you think of it.

evil cake lady said...

I left my tart on the pan base, too. I couldn't imagine sliding that sucker off the base without it ending up all over my floor. I am curious to read if you liked this version any better than regular pecan pie. It looks great whichever way you feel about it!

Mendy said...

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I didn't understand the whole freezer bag thing.

Hanaâ said...

It looks beautiful!! Love how you arranged the pecans on top. I don't do pecans either, she to allergies. Considered subbing almonds but didn't think it would work, so I had to pass on this one.

evil cake lady said...

turning the filling into caramels is a really intriguing idea...