I’ve previously mentioned my friend/coworker, Gilad, who won the charity auction, where I offered up one of the Baking Bible bake-along desserts each month. It may have occurred to you that, for the final auction to reach $600, there had to be at least one other coworker bidding against him. That someone was Doug – who is known in some circles as the perpetual winner of the New Dundee Women’s Institute pie of the month auction, and I’m pretty sure he had planned on winning this one, too. This past weekend, we had Doug & his wife over for dinner (meatloaf in a cheddar cheese crust, inspired by the recipe in the Pastry Bible), and as a local authority on pies, he offered his feedback on the frozen pecan tart. 😉 Read on, to see what he had to say.
For the crust, Rose recommends turbinado sugar, processed fine in the food processor. If you look closely, you can see that I didn’t quite get all of my sugar to “fine.” I didn’t actually use the food processor, either, because I HATE my food processor. The only thing it seems to be good at is making a mess. So, I got out the mortar and pestle, which was much less frustrating. I got most of it to fine, but there were still a few larger crystals here and there, but I figure they’d add texture.
In this book, Rose recommends a new technique for getting your crust into your tart pan. The first part is to roll it out on a sheet of plastic wrap. This part I’m not too convinced about, but maybe I just haven’t used enough flour, after watching this video. I find that once it starts sticking to the plastic wrap, it becomes impossible to roll out thinner, because your rolling ends up having to stretch the plastic wrap at the same time. Anyway, the next step is to flip the dough upside-down, over an inverted cake pan that is a bit smaller than your tart pan, plastic wrap and all.
Peel off the plastic wrap, if you’re using it. Then, you center the removable bottom of your tart pan on top of the dough, and add the ring. Flip the whole works right-side up, and you’ve got your dough in the tart pan.
..and a really blurry phone picture.
Then you can fold over the overlap, to make your tart walls a bit sturdier, and fancy up the edge however you’d like. At this point, I put my crust in the fridge, and baked it the next morning. Here’s what that looked like:
While the crust was baking, I started to prep the filling, which is really really easy. Toast the pecans, and arrange them in the bottom of the tart crust. Then, dump all of the remaining ingredients, minus the vanilla, into a pot on the stove.
Cook until it reaches 160, strain it, stir in the vanilla that was sitting in the bowl under the strainer, then pour that over the pecans. Bake it, cool it, then (according to the title of the recipe), freeze it.
Again with the blurry camera phone picture. The front of the plate seems to be in focus, though, so there’s that. 😉 The feedback from Jay was that he liked the crust, he liked the filling, he liked the chocolate (to cut the sweetness), and he liked that it was frozen because it made it possible to actually cut through the pecans with your fork. According to him, pecan pie is normally too gloopy to do so, and you end up with bites the size of a pecan, or no pecan. Doug, on the other hand, thought that the chocolate was unnecessary, and that it probably would have been better a little bit warm. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s really good. But, if you’re going to blog about it, you want honest feedback, right?” I think that’s one trick to good friends (& colleagues) – knowing you can count on them for honesty, because they know you won’t take it personally.
I think I agree on the frozen aspect. We’ve still got 1/2 the tart in the freezer, so I’ll try my next piece thawed out. Just because this recipe can survive being served frozen (since the crust is a pâte sucrée – think cookie, not pie crust), I don’t know that it necessarily should be. I disagree on the chocolate, though. Everything’s better with chocolate. 😉