Okay, it’s Sunday, and I have the test kitchen all to myself. I came up with a interesting tartlet that has the makings of a pecan pie, but with a chocolate layer, and baked in a French Pâte Sucrée crust.
I use maple (real maple) syrup in place of the normal corn syrup, and the chocolate is bittersweet to counter all the other sweets of this dish.
It is designed for 4-inch (10cm) tartlets and will make 12, but will do well in a standard 9-inch tart pan.
Chef’s Note: What is a Pâte sucrée?
Pâte sucrée is the French term for a sweet short crust pastry used to make tarts. Pâte sucrée is similar to Pâte Brisée, though it has more calories due to the addition of sugar and is slightly less fragile.
Cut the butter into cubes and keep very cool… cold, as a matter of fact.
Separate two eggs, and keep the yolks.
Chef’s Tip: If you don’t have a use for the whites, you can always freeze them and use them later. Waste not, want not.
Gather the remainder of your ingredients.
Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with an S-Blade, and give it a couple of pulses to blend the dry ingredients.
Add the cold butter cubes, and give it 5 or 6, 1-second pulses, until it resembles a course meal.
Chef's Note: This method of doing a Pâte Sucrée is slightly different than the traditional method, but it helps to make a very flaky crust for the tartlets.
Chef’s Tip: If you want to perform this step another way, use a pastry blender or two knifes to cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients.
Chef's Note: If you are using a food processor, remove the flour/butter from the mixer, and place in a large bowl. If you chose to use a pastry blender or two knifes, it should already be in a mixing bowl.
Whisk the egg yolks and half & half together, and then stir them into the flour/butter mixture using a fork.
Continue to gently mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
It should look something like this.
Chef’s Tip: You should see separate bits of butter along with the flour.
Separate the dough into two round balls, and then flatten each one with the palm of your hand. Then tightly wrap each ball in cling foil, and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
When ready, remove from refrigerator and place on a board lightly dusted with flour. You should have chunks of butter visible in the dough...
Chef’s Note: This recipe is designed for tartlets that are 4 inches (10cm). Each ball will make 6 tartlets.
Roll out one of the balls, until about ¼ inch in thickness, and then use a 4 inch (10cm) biscuit cutter to cut six circles in the flattened dough.
Place each round in a tartlet pan, push into the sides, and then add some chocolate chips to cover the bottom.
Place in the refrigerator and allow them to cool while making the filling.
THE PIE FILLING
Place a rack in the middle position, and preheat to 350f (176c).
Add the syrup, sugar, rum, flour and vanilla to a medium bowl, and lightly mix together.
Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl and beat until foamy.
Add the melted butter, and continue to beat.
Add to the maple syrup mixture, and beat a bit more (lots of beating going on here).
Finally, add the pecans, and stir to combine (what no more beating???)
Add about ¼ cup of the mixture to each of the cooled tartlet shells, right over the chocolate. It should fill it to the top of the crust.
Place into the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the filling sets.
Chef's Note: If you choose to bake this as a whole 9-inch tart, increase the baking to 55 minutes.
Allow to completely cool on a wire rack before serving. Enjoy.