Pecan Tart w/Molasses Ice Cream

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Montgomery, Al 36130

PECAN TART WITH MOLASSES ICE CREAM

From Alabama Chef Chris Hastings' Hot Hot Fish Club Cookbook. Chef Hastings will be autographing copies of his book Friday December 4, 2009 at the Alabama State Capitol's gift shop Goat Hill Museum Store 11am-1pm. Each week we will feature recipes from Alabama authors that are signing books December 4th, 11th, and 18th. Check back each week for a recipe.
 

PECAN TART WITH MOLASSES ICE CREAM

This recipe produces, quite possibly, the best pecan tart on the planet! It is simple, gooey, and not overly sweet. Arrange the pecans on top after filling the prebaked tart shell to create a beautiful pattern. Store nuts in your freezer to keep their delicate oils from turning rancid. The molasses ice cream makes this Southern dessert extra special. We use unsulfered, dark molasses, which has a more delicate and clean sugarcane flavor.

Yield: 1 (11-inch) tart or 6 servings

FOR THE CRUST:

12 ounces Sweet Pastry Dough, about 1 recipe (recipe follows)

FOR THE TART:

1 1/4 cups pecan pieces

2 large eggs

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

3/4 cup dark corn syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whole pecan halves

1 1/2 cups molasses or vanilla ice cream

 TO PREPARE THE CRUST:

Preheat the oven to 300ºF.

Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle, a little less than ¼ inch thick. Transfer the circle to an 11-inch fluted tart pan and press the dough into the sides and bottom of the pan. Trim off and discard the excess pastry. Line the tart shell with a piece of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans.

Place the tart shell on a baking sheet pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow the tart shell to cool completely before removing the pie weights or beans.

 TO PREPARE THE TART:

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Arrange the pecan pieces evenly in the bottom of the tart shell. Whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, salt, melted butter, corn syrup, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the pecan pieces. Arrange pecan halves on top of the filling in a decorative pattern.

 Place the tart on a baking sheet pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the filling is set around the edges. (The center of the tart may still jiggle slightly.) Cool completely before slicing. Serve each slice with a small scoop (about ¼ cup) of molasses or vanilla ice cream in the center of each piece.

SWEET PASTRY DOUGH

At the restaurant we melt and chill leaf fat (the fat that surrounds the kidneys) from the fresh hogs we receive from Fudge Family Farms. We then make pastry dough using equal parts butter and leaf fat for an extra flaky crust. You can also use a food processor to prepare this dough, but be careful not to overmix; just pulse the machine until the pastry begins to come together. The amount of water you add to the dough may vary each time, depending on the humidity. If you use a food processor to mix the dough, make sure you allow enough time (at least two hours) for the dough to rest before using.

Yield: about ¾ pound (12 ounces)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced and well chilled

4 to 5 tablespoons (about 1/4 cup) ice cold water

Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt into a medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, add the butter to the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, stirring just until the mixture begins to stick together and form a dough.

Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly into a small disk. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours before using.

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