Cooking with Booze: Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Tart
While I call Southern California home, there are just some things about the south that I couldn't love any more than I do. Today, a couple of those things converge, with one of my favorite foods from my childhood, pecan pie (or in this case, tart), and one of my favorite drinks from adulthood, whiskey. But I've got some help, as I brought in one of my favorite southerners, pastry extraordinaire Beth Meyer, who is currently polishing her chops at pastry school in London, and is documenting it on her blog, Recipe for Adventures. She shares one of her favorite recipes below for a bourbon chocolate pecan tart. Drink AND eat responsibly. Growing up in the South, I’ve always been a big fan of pecan pie. So naturally when I found a recipe that also included a couple of my favorite ingredients, bourbon and chocolate, I had to give it a try.
Pecan pie can often err a little too much on the gooey side, largely because of the amount of corn syrup, which is why this recipe is always a huge hit since it uses less Karo Syrup. Well that, plus it has a layer of dark chocolate on the bottom and is flavored with bourbon, deliciously surrounded by a cream cheese pastry. You can’t really go wrong with all those ingredients mixed into one pastry.
This recipe is a modified version of one I clipped out of the 2004 Home for the Holidays Special Publication of Southern Living. I’ve been a huge fan of Southern Living for many years and I’m a bit of a hoarder with back issues (I’m slightly embarrassed to admit the amount of space they take up in storage). Needless to say, this is one recipe that has been a staple in my collection ever since.
The recipe is pretty easy to follow, though be sure not to overfill, since you might have a little bit more filling, depending on the tart pan you use. For the chocolate, you can either use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. Wild Turkey has long been my go-to bourbon for this recipe since they were once a client of mine in my previous work. Now, however, as a pastry school student living in London, I use whatever is the least expensive without skimping on quality. I’ve always had a 9-inch tart pan with fluted edges that I’ve used, though the recipe says it makes six smaller or one large tart.
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Tart
- Cream Cheese Pastry:
- 3 oz. cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 3 tbsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. bourbon
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups pecan halves
- For the cream cheese pastry, beat cream cheese and butter at a medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour, beating at a low speed until soft dough forms.
- Shape pastry into ball (either 6 for mini tarts or one for large tart) and press into tart pan.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips over pastry and chill for 30 minutes.
- Beat eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, brown sugar, flour, bourbon and vanilla at a medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.
- Pour into prepared tart shell (half-full if doing minis) and arrange pecan halves over filling and drizzle with remaining filling.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit; For mini tarts - 30 to 35 minutes or until set. For a 9in tart bake for 55 minutes or until set.
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Header photo from Andrew Holmes on Flickr and whiskey barrel photo courtesy of Wild Turkey.