Chocolate Pecan Tart

Upgrade your pecan pie this Thanksgiving! This chocolate pecan tart is like a cross between a nut-filled brownie and chocolate fudge.

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Photography Credit: Sheryl Julian

Add chocolate to a classic pecan pie and the familiar, gooey filling we all love changes dramatically.

Think of this new dessert as a cross between a dense, nutty brownie and soft chocolate fudge. It’s a chocolate tart worthy of any gathering or celebration.

Chocolate Pecan TartBecause the mixture is so dense and rich, I like to make it into a tart instead of a deep-dish pie. The ratio of chocolate-pecan filling to buttery crust is just perfect.

The best chocolate, of course, makes the best chocolate desserts. The tart needs only 3 ounces, so splurging on the good stuff isn’t too cost prohibitive. Look for good-quality bittersweet chocolate bars with 60% to 70% cocoa.

I like to use a little corn syrup in this recipe to help give the chocolate filling a perfectly smooth texture. When shopping, look for regular corn syrup that does not contain high-fructose corn syrup (which is a different product); this will be stated on the ingredients list.

To guarantee a bottom crust that’s flaky, bake it “blind,” without the filling, before baking it again with the chocolate mixture. I also like to toast the pecans to intensity their flavor before mixing them into the chocolate filling.

Neither of these steps adds much time, but they will give you professional results.

In the oven, you’ll see the filling puff up as it bakes, but don’t be alarmed. It will settle as it cools.

Sprinkle the edges with powdered sugar before serving, cut into slender wedges, and be prepared to fall hard for your new dessert.

Chocolate Pecan Tart Recipe

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  • Prep time: 1 hour
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

You can use any all-butter pie crust for this recipe, but I recommend Elise's Perfect Pie Crust.

Ingredients

  • 1 prepared pastry crust (1/2 recipe of Perfect Pie Crust)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) pecans
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted or unsalted butter (whichever you have handy), cut up into pieces
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70%), chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Special equipment:

Method

1 Roll out the pastry: Set the oven to 375F. On a lightly floured counter, roll the pastry dough to a 12-inch round, giving it a quarter-turn after every few rolls so it does not stick to the counter.

Lift the pastry onto the rolling pin and ease it into the tart pan. With floured fingertips, press the pastry into the corners and up the sides of the pan. With scissors or kitchen shears, trim the top edge of the pastry so it comes about 1/2-inch above the pan. Tuck the top 1/2-inch of the pastry onto itself to make a hem and crimp.

Chocolate Pecan Tart

2 Chill the pastry crust: Set the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until firm and cold (but not frozen).

3 Blind bake the crust: Prick the chilled dough all over. Lay a piece of foil over the tart, shiny side down, and press it into the edges of the pan. Fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Carefully lift out the foil and pie weights or beans. Continue baking the pastry for 5 minutes more, or until the surface starts to look baked.

Chocolate Pecan Tart

4 Set the tart crust aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

5 Toast the nuts: Spread the nuts in a baking dish or on a baking sheet. Toast them in the oven, stirring several times, for 8 minutes or until they are aromatic. Leave the oven on.

6 Begin making the filling: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat just until it coats the bottom of the pan. Do not let the butter brown. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and combines with the butter in a smooth mixture. Add the chocolate and cook, stirring, until it melts. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.

7 Finish the filling: Stir the eggs into the lukewarm chocolate mixture one by one, followed by the corn syrup and vanilla.

8 Assemble the tart: Leave the tart on the baking sheet used in the chilling step. Spread the toasted pecans an even layer in the bottom of the tart shell. Pour the chocolate filling over top and spread to the edges of the crust.

9 Bake the tart: Bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling is set in the middle and puffs slightly, and the pastry is browned at the edges. If the pastry seems like it's becoming too brown, cover the edges loosely with foil. Set on a rack to cool.

Chocolate Pecan Tart

10 Unmold the tart and serve: Set the cooled tart on a bowl so the outer ring falls off. Carefully use 2 wide metal spatulas to lift the tart from the bottom of the pan and transfer to a large platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into slices.

If serving the next day, cover the tart loosely with foil and refrigerate. Let it come to room temperature before serving.

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Sheryl Julian

Sheryl Julian is an award-winning writer, editor, and food stylist. She is the former food editor of The Boston Globe, co-author of The Way We Cook, and editor of The New Boston Globe Cookbook. Her food sections won Best Newspaper Food Coverage from the Association of Food Journalists in 2015.

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Chocolate Pecan Tart

Showing 4 of 16 Comments

  • Keith Sabin

    This is lovely–beautifully balanced in textures, flavors, and appearance–and I’m making it for a holiday get-together (paired with lavender lemon bars) next week!

  • Citra

    Any suggestion for corn syrup replacement? Thank you.

  • teri smyth

    NIce photos. Everything looks fabulous

  • jane

    is it possible to make this minus the corn syrup
    Jane – Australia

  • Linda K

    Should the pecans be left whole or chopped?

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