Pecan Truffle Tart

Pecan Truffle Tart


Prepared: 11/22/2018 

My cat, Frank, and I traveled to my mom’s house in Charleston, WV this year for Thanksgiving, one of my contributions to our feast was this recipe from my box.

I made a Pecan Truffle Tart from a very old Bon Appetit (it was from before they changed the font and title colors and styles), my clipping does not show the year. I cannot find this recipe on either the Epicurious or the Bon Appetit websites. So apparently the archives only go so far back or these websites are very difficult to search. Both?!?

Nevertheless I know this recipe is from an old Bon Appetit in the 90's because this is on the back of my clipping.


The tart was decadent and delicious although I found that I liked each of the components better separately than I did together. I made each component ahead of time and assembled the tart once I was in Charleston.

I ended up with a lot of extra components as my only tart pan was much smaller than called for in the recipe, but that was quite serendipitous as:

The nut pastry was buttery and flakey, I much preferred the cookies I made with the leftover dough from the crust of the tart. The perfection of the pastry dough was allowed to shine through as a cookie-it was rather overwhelmed by the actual tart.

The velvety smooth ganache was just the right amount of chocolate and I used the extra to make separate truffles. These were delicious, especially when rolled in the excess of chopped pecans.

The pastry cream while delicious-- definitely got lost in the tart as the both the caramel and the ganache overwhelmed it. I ate the leftover as a pudding snack.

The caramel pecan topping was to die for, and the truffles I made by wrapping some the ganache around it were way better than the tart.

I’m not sure I would make the tart again, but I am definitely keeping the recipe for the delicious separate elements.



Nut  Pastry

1 1/4 cups pastry flour

1/2 cup toasted pecans (toast the whole bag of pecans, you will need them later in this same recipe)

2 TBS sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp grated orange peel (I used the zest from my entire orange)

1/2 cup (1 stick) of well-chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces (I ALWAYS use salted butter)

1 1/2 TBS ice water (I fill up a measuring glass with water and ice cubes and use what I need)

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor. (For the record I own a Regal La Machine I from circa 1985, that thing is a true workhorse)  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, using on/off turns. Add vanilla with the ice water and add to dry ingredients and process until dough begins to gather together. (I added the vanilla separately. Sometimes you need more water, thats why I make extra). Gather the dough into a ball; flatten into a disc. (That step makes rolling out a much simpler task) Wrap tightly and chill 30 minutes.

Roll dough out between sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap (or waxed/ parchment paper) to a 12” diameter round. ( I only had a 8” tart pan which is why I had extra components) Brush off excess flour. Transfer dough to 9” tart pan with 1” high removable sides. (or don’t roll the dough out as thin and use a knife or cookie cutter and make shortbread cookies-they turn out really good and that hint of orange takes them over the top) Refrigerate the tart for at least an hour, or up to 24 hours. I baked my cookies right after rolling but they might have also benefitted from the rest period.

Beat 1 egg yolk with 2TBS of whipping cream to make a glaze. (I didn't glaze my cookies, but next time I think I will and then sprinkle some demerara sugar crystals on top.)

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Brush pastry with glaze. Pierce all over with fork. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. I used same temperature for the cookies and just kept an eye out for desired doneness.  Cool completely.


4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped ( I used Lindt)

2 TBS unsalted butter (you know my feelings about butter), finely chopped (???)

1/2 cup whipping cream

I put all the ingredients in a deep glass measuring cup breaking up chocolate into small pieces and the butter in small cubes and put it the microwave for about a minute watching carefully until the cream starts to steam. Take it out and whisk until everything is melted and smooth. Then put this container in the refrigerator to cool. About 2 hours. This can also be made ahead.

But for the record, according to Bon Appetit:

Combine chocolate and butter in bowl of electric mixer. Scald cream. Add to chocolate mixture and let stand 5 minutes. Mix until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Pour into a shallow pan. Cool. Cover and refrigerate.

Proper ganache is smooth and shiny no matter how you get there.


Pastry Cream

3 egg yolks

3 TBS sugar

2TBS + 2tsp AP flour

1 cup whole milk

1 TBS butter

1tsp vanilla


Whisk yolks and sugar in a small bowl until light in color. (use your electric mixer for this, use your whisk for the ganache) I beat mine until it was thick with almost almost soft peaks. Gradually mix in the flour. (Scald the milk. Gradually whisk into beaten yolks. Return to saucepan. Boil for 3 minutes, whisking constantly.) See Note.

Note: I was convinced that this method would leave me with curdled cooked yolks so I did it the way I was taught in culinary school. I added a 1/4 cup of the scalded milk to the yolk mixture and beat it in, tempering up the heat slowly, I added another 1/4 cup and beat in completely, I added the remainder in a steady stream and then poured back into the saucepan and cooked at low heat, stirring constantly and DID NOT allow it to come to a boil. Cook until quite thick [this method took a good deal longer than 3 minutes but worth it] 

Then mix in the butter and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Can be prepared ahead. (Press the plastic wrap directly to the top of the pastry cream, that way the top will not form a skin.)


Caramel Pecan Topping

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

6 TBS firmly packed light brown sugar

3 TBS sugar

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup + 2TBS lightly toasted pecans, coarsely chopped  (Seriously people, toast the whole bag of pecans at once-coming across things like this late in recipes drives me crazy)

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add both sugars and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in cream and vanilla; mixture will bubble up. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (DO NOT wander away!) Remove from heat and add pecans. Cool completely.


To assemble:

Let ganache stand at room temperature for one hour to soften. Spread over the bottom of the prepared tart crust. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up. Cover with pastry cream, refrigerate for 30 minutes until set. Top with pecan caramel mixture.

Garnish with chocolate curls and additional toasted chopped pecans.

Now if one were to dip the tops of the cookies into the warm ganache, lightly sprinkle chopped toasted pecans on top of that, and serve beside a bowl of pastry cream,  but where does the caramel go? I will have to think about that :)

Hi! I'm Debbie. Here at Categorically Well-Read I give an extra layer to the reading life. Learn more about me, check out my current category of books, submit your own suggestion, or check out my latest post.