I received several requests for the recipes of the lemon tart and the Kid’s pecan boats in this previous post so I decided to first describe the tart dough (which you can use in many, many different tarts) and then the recipe for the pecan tart boats. The tart dough is basically a pate sucre or a dough with butter, flour and powdered sugar. It is a bit “maselan” or delicate, but once you get the hang of it, it is an utter breeze. I use several variations of this recipe but here is the most basic, with full credit going to Francois Payard from his cookbook “Simply Sensational Desserts.”
Sift together 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of confectioners (powdered) sugar with 1 and 3/4 cup of all purpose flour and 1/8th teaspoon of salt. Place 9 tablespoons of softened (but not melted), good unsalted butter into the bowl of a food processer and blitz for a few seconds. Add the flour mixture and 1 large egg and blitz again until the dough just forms. DO NOT OVERBLITZ. That is it. Simple right? Split the dough into two roughly equal pieces and flatten into discs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. I leave mine in the fridge overnight. When you are ready to make the tart, take the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up a bit (about 15 minutes in a warm Manila kitchen, but perhpas up to 30 minutes in cooler climates), then dust a cool work surface such as a marble or granite countertop with flour and roll out your dough with copious amounts of flour dusting and lifting the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick. Lift the dough and place it on your pan (I use removable bottom tart pans whenever possible to make extracting the tart easier) and patch up any gaps or tears in the dough with your fingers. I find that I rarely can get it as thin as I want, but that’s okay, it tastes good anyway. Prick the bottom of the dough in the pan with a fork to prevent this from bubbling up and then return the dough to the fridge for a 20 minute cool down session while you heat up your oven.
Do not be tempted to take shortcuts or let your dough get to warm, you will be punished severely by your tart! This dough must remain cool lest the butter literally melts into the flour… not a good situation. If you are going to pre-bake or partially bake your dough as is called for in most tarty recipes, then turn on your oven and heat it up to 325 degrees F. Next, cut out some parchment or baker’s paper and put it on the tart and weigh this down with pie weights, beans, or I like to use coins. This step is to help cook the tart without the bottom bubbling up. Bake this in the oven “blind” for 8-10 minutes then remove the paper and coins and return this to the oven for another 10 minutes of so until just ever so lightly golden on the edges. Watch the tart carefully, if the dough puffs up, pierce it with a toothpick or fork to deflate it. Let this cool and you are good to go to the next step. If you are FULLY pre-baking the tart shell, you may need about 25-28 minutes total of cooking time.
The Kid’s pecan boats were made with some extra tart dough. She pressed the leftover dough into small tart pans and pre-baked these for just 10 minutes total (they cooked faster because they were smaller and thinner). After they had cooled, we concocted the following filling: in a saucepan, melt 2/3 stick of butter or about 80 grams with 3-4 tablespoons of honey until this is all melted and blended, then add 2 tablespoons of white sugar and 1/3 cup of brown sugar and let this come to a boil and let it boil for about 60-90 seconds. Take it off the heat and add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or whipping cream and stir to combine. Let this cool for a minute or two then add about 1 cup of chopped pecans and stir to coat all of the nuts. Spoon the nut mixture into the pre-baked tart boats and bake for roughly 8-10 minutes. Line your baking pan with foil as the caramel is a bit gooey and messy and burns quickly. Let these pecan boats cool and enjoy with ice cream, coffee or tea. They were really good.