Bourbon-Pecan Tart

Pecan Tart

One 10-inch Tart
12 – 16 servings

1 – tart dough*
3 large eggs, preferably organic and at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) (3 ½ oz/ 100 g) golden brown sugar
3/4 cup (6 oz) pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons (1 ½ oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons Irish Whiskey or Bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves or pieces

Pâte sucrée (Sweet Short Pastry Dough)* – can be made a day ahead and refrigerated
2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (1/4 ounce) salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, and cut into 10 pieces
2 large eggs, whisked together

For the dough, combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Pulse several times to mix.  Distribute the butter and pulse until it is coarsely chopped.   Add the eggs and pulse again until the dough just begins to come together.

Invert the dough to a floured work surface and carefully remove the blade.  Divide into about 7 or 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat.  This is known in French as fraisage.   It is done to distribute the fat which promotes flakiness when it is baked.  After this step gather the dough up with a bench knife, form it into a disk and wrap in it plastic.  Chill the dough while preparing the filling.  You may prepare the dough up to 2 days before assembling and baking the tart.

When you are ready to bake the tart, set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm just until it is malleable and no longer hard.  Flour it and roll it to a 14-inch disk.  Roll the dough over the rolling pin and unroll it into a 10-inch removable bottom tart pan.  Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan, folding over the excess to make a decorative rim.  Using a fork, dock the bottom of the tart shell.  Keep any extra dough for patching potential cracks during baking.  Chill the dough while preparing the filling.

Tart Dough

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Set the prepared tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and line tart dough with foil or parchment paper.  Fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake until tart dough is set and pale golden, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and weights.   Patch any cracks with extra dough and continue baking crust until golden brown, about 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, using electric mixer or by hand with a whisk, beat eggs and sugar in medium bowl. Beat in maple syrup.  Add butter, bourbon, vanilla, and salt; beat until blended. Stir in pecans, reserving enough to made a decorative pattern if desired.

Pour pecan filling into hot crust. Bake until center of filling is set, about 25 minutes.  Cool tart on rack 1 hour; remove pan sides.  Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Rewarm slightly before serving, if desired.

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