Hot Topic: Fairchild's Chocolate Festival

Whip up a pecan caramel tart with bittersweet chocolate ganache

Fairchild Tropical Garden hosts its annual Chocolate Festival this weekend, here's a sweet recipe to get those taste buds in the mood.

Pecan Caramel Tart with Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache, by chef Norman Van Aken

Yield: 2 10” tarts

For the Pâté Brisée crust:

12 ounces All-Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
4 ounces Butter, slightly chilled
4 ounces Vegetable Shortening
½ Cup Whole Milk, cold

Place the four, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk. Now add the butter and shortening in small pieces, and mix to a coarse meal. Stir in the milk until the mixture forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Unwrap the dough and roll out so it fits the pan or tray it is to be baked in. Put the dough in place and trim the edges. Dock the dough with a knife all around to prevent bubbles from forming. Line the crusts with parchment paper and place raw beans or pie weights on top of the paper. Blind bake the crusts for about 10 minutes, until just done. Remove the trays and turn down the oven to 350°F. Remove the weights and set aside to cool to room temperature.

For the Pecan-Caramel Filling:

1 pound Unsalted Butter
2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
6 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Honey
½ Cup Molasses
2 pounds Pecan Halves, toasted
½ Cup Heavy Cream

For the filling, toast the pecans at 350°F fan for about 8-10 minutes, turning the tray and stirring half-way. Allow them to cool for at least 5 minutes to get crunchy. Next, melt together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, honey and molasses in a saucepan over medium-high heat. While stirring frequently, bring to a full rolling boil. Keep boiling for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and
stir in the heavy cream. Now stir in the pecans. Pour into the par-baked tart crusts and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Place a sheet pan under the tarts to catch any drippings. The tarts will bubble up through the middle while baking. Remove the tarts from the oven and let cool completely.

For the Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache:

1¼ pounds Buttersweet Chocolate, chopped fine
¾ cup Heavy Cream
½ Tablespoon Unsalted Butter

Bring the cream to a boil, then turn off the heat. Whisk the chocolate into the cream a little at a time until it is all in and melted. Whisk in the butter.


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