Boy howdy– was this ever a fickle- of- a- pickle, tart of a tart.
Allow me to explain.
This baby required 4 trips to the oven. Add that time to all the prep work and what resulted was putting the two other recipes I had planned to make, on the back burner. I was in the kitchen for just this tart. Why am I telling you this? Well, that despite all my sugar- yearning tantrums, foot stomping, and realization that there were MANY steps, it was worth it. (yes, I’ve made 3 layer cakes with greater ease… HOWEVER once you make this tart, you will be hooked— I have given you fair warning)
The first trip to the oven was to toast the pecan pieces. Then I had to blind bake the tart shell. After a cool down, dried apricot pieces were sprinkled onto the base and buttery caramel poured on top. In the third trip to the oven, the thick, golden liquid bubbled and puckered from its crusty mould. All that was left was to prepare the topping. Once the caramel reached a sticky- toffee consistency, big hunks of rocky mountain crumble were mounded on top, followed by mammoth pieces of toasted whole pecans.
Maybe it was the weather or that I was screaming for sugar– but I must confess that this lil’ tart was definitely testing of my patience. With all the waiting and baking— AND— waiting and baking again… I felt as though the Baking Gods were mocking me… in fact, that they were playing a very nasty game with me.
Fortunately, all was inevitably forgiven when I took a bite of the pecan laced crust, the unctuous pieces of softened, creamy apricots, the sticky buttery caramel, the crunchy toasted pecans, and crispy crumble. Oh yes—it was quite worth it. It was also so darn cute to look at. (Bonus! I got to take my individual tart moulds out for a spin.)
I would recommend doubling the recipe’s crust, crumble, and filling, then freezing the first two items and refrigerating the last one (preferably in a glass jar—such as Bernardin-the ones used for jams) so that whenever I crave this bake-a-thon of a tart, I can take all the components (not baked) and make them without getting into a tizzy.
This recipe is from the cookbook “The Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook” via Leslie at http://definitelynotmartha.blogspot.com/
My suggestions and/or advice are in italics.
Caramel Apricot Pecan Tart
For the Pecan Crust
1/3 cup toasted pecans
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp table salt
For the Crumble Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp table salt
For the Filling
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup honey
1 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and position a rack near the center. Toast the pecans until they are golden in the center when you break one in half about 8 minutes. Cool the nuts completely.
Combine the toasted pecans and granulated sugar in a food processor and grind as finely as possible. Add the butter and vanilla and process until smooth, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the egg white and process until well combined. Add the flour and salt and pulse until the mix ture comes together into a ball. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, knead briefly, then form the dough into a flat disk. Wrap the disk in plastic film and refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. With a floured rolling pin roll the chilled pastry into an 11-inch round on a floured board, moving the dough frequently to prevent it from sticking. Use a flat, rimless baking sheet to transfer the pastry to a greased 10-inch tart pan (or divide the crust into 6 balls and place them in 4 inch tart tins)
Press the pastry firmly into the bottom and sides of the pan, patching any tears. Roll the pin firmly over the top of the pan to neatly trim the edge. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes (about 18-20minutes for the small tarts). Transfer to a rack to cool, leaving the oven on.
While the crust bakes, make the topping and filling: For the crumble topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a small bowl. Use your fingertips to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients until it forms a crumbly dough. Set aside.
For the filling, heat and stir the butter, brown sugar, and honey (and a pinch of salt) in a heavy medium saucepan until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a full boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped pecans and cream. (Take care, as it will sputter and steam.) Wait 30 seconds for the steam to subside, then stir to combine.
Sprinkle the chopped apricots over the bottom of the baked crust. Pour the filling over the apricots and bake the tart for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the top, then return the tart to the oven until the surface is bubbling, about 20 minutes longer.
Transfer the tart to a rack to cool. Cut the tart with a thin, long, sharp knife, dipping the knife in hot water and wiping it clean between slices (I recommend serving the tart with some creme fraiche or whipped cream).
(The tart was still as delicious the next day. I stored leftovers in a cool, dry spot in an airtight container).
Yield: 1 10 inch tart (serves 6-8), or 6 4-inch individual tarts