Pecan Turtle Tart
“You mean that there is a turtle in the tart?” asked my 5 year old, Samuel, when I told him I was making a Pecan Turtle Tart.
Try explaining that one without sounding like a poacher. I did, believe me. Yet I have to admit, that as I was babbling on about the history of the turtle candy, Samuel probably thought I was sounding pretty lame.
Don’t get me wrong, I was brilliant, but something about discussing how the turtle candies are pecans covered with caramel and chocolate and the pecans peek out at four angles that look like the feet and the chocolate drizzle looks like the head and tail of a turtle, just sounded weird when I looked at it through a 5 year old’s lens.
Fortunately, I have been able to show Samuel that no turtles were harmed in the making of the Pecan Turtle Tart. I also discussed that Mommy does not believe that anyone would ever really make a turtle candy with only FOUR feet standing out. Seriously, half the joy is that there are a zillion pecans to eat.
My Pecan Turtle Tart is filled to the top with toasted pecans and then drenched in caramel and finished off with a decadent chocolate topping. It has been a staple of my Thanksgiving Feast for quite some time. I realize that traditionalists probably won’t shy away from their Pecan Pie, but for me, there just isn’t another way to highlight the heavenliness of toasted pecans more than this tart.
When I think of the word turtle, I think of slow. When I serve this Pecan Turtle Tart, it is eaten so quickly that a turtle would barely have time to escape before the serving was gone.
|Pecan Turtle Tart|| |
- 1½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup pecans, toasted
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1½ tablespoons ice water
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups pecan halves, toasted
- Caramel layer:
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- Chocolate topping:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 10 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- Decorative topping:
- 12 pecan halves, toasted
- 1 ounce semisweet chocolate chips
- For the crust:
- Place the flour, pecans and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade. Pulse on/off until the consistency of a powder. Cut the butter into 8 pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse on/off until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 20 seconds. Add the ice water and vanilla and pulse on/off until the dough forms a ball. Remove the dough and shape into a disc. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Set aside an 11” tart pan with removable bottom.
- Roll the dough out between sheets of wax paper. You will need two sheets for the bottom and one for the top. After each roll, rotate the dough and lift the top piece of wax paper so that it no longer sticks to the dough. Continue rolling out to a diameter of 13”.
- Spray the tart pan with non-stick spray (I use PAM®.) Transfer dough to the pan and fold the extra dough under the sides to reinforce them. Prick the bottom with a fork and freeze the tart crust for 10 minutes.
- Place of piece of aluminum foil in the tart pan and add pie weights. Place onto a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil or baking sheet and bake at 375° for 20 minutes, rotating the pan around if hot spots occur. Remove the weights (by lifting the foil carefully out) and bake an additional 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- Once the tart is cool, place 2 cups toasted pecan halves over the crust.
- For the caramel layer:
- Place the butter, cream, corn syrup and brown sugar into a medium saucepan. Boil the mixture until it reaches 225° on a thermometer, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour the caramel evenly over the toasted pecans. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes.
- For the chocolate layer:
- Place the butter, cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Turn the stove off and add the chocolate chips, covering the chips with the cream mixture. Allow to sit 4 minutes and then stir until smooth.
- Pour the chocolate over the cooled caramel layer.
- For the decorative topping:
- Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave. Dip half of each pecan piece into the chocolate and place on top of the tart. Think of a clock and the 12 pieces represent each hour on the clock.
- Refrigerate the Pecan Turtle Tart for several hours or overnight.
- Remove the side of the tart pan by holding the tart, by the bottom, and pushing the bottom up. Use a long metal spatula and gently slide it between the bottom of the pan and crust, rotating the tart around as you go. Slide the tart onto a serving plate.
- Before serving, allow the tart to sit at room temperature for 30 – 45 minutes.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- Toast all of the pecans (crust, filling, decorative topping) at once. Do not forget to take out the pecans being used for the decorative topping before putting the pecans into the cooked dough.
- The dough may also be rolled out on a lightly floured board.
- More pecans may be used to decorate the top of the tart, if desired. Increase the chocolate chips accordingly.
- An option to sliding the Pecan Turtle Tart off of the bottom of the tart pan is to serve it with the bottom still attached.