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Butternut Pecan Tart

Ingredients

Tart Shell

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup toasted and cooled pecans
  • 8 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 teaspoons cold whole milk

Praline Topping

  • 1/2 cup toasted and cooled pecans
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked butternut or other winter squash or pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup turbinado or light brown sugar(or more if using squash that is not as sweet as others)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper or just a few grinds of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons brandy
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup half-and-half

Instructions

  1. Tart Shell: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
  2. Place the toasted pecans in a food processor and finely chop.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the pecans and pulse to mix.
  4. Add the butter and pulse until it is the texture of cornmeal.
  5. Place the dough mixture back into the bowl and sprinkle with the milk, tossing lightly to moisten evenly. Stir the dough with a fork until it comes together in small lumps.
  6. Press the dough into a large thick mound and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours.
  7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 12- to 13-inch circle to fit an 11-inch tart pan. Fold in half and place in the pan. Ease gently into the contours of the pan. Prick the bottom with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and chill or freeze for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Praline Topping: Place the pecans on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  9. In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Cover and bring to a boil. Leave cover on until the condensation washes down the sides of the pan. Uncover, adjust the heat to medium, and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until the sugar turns amber.
  10. Pour the mixture over the pecans. Let cool about an hour.
  11. Chop the praline into small pieces and set aside.
  12. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.
  13. Bake about 20 minutes or until the pastry is set and dry on the bottom. Cool.
  14. Filling: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  15. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the squash puree, sugars, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, salt and brandy. Whisk in the eggs, egg yolk and half-and-half.
  16. Pour into the pre-baked shell and bake 25 minutes.
  17. Remove from the oven and sprinkle on the chopped praline pecan topping, avoiding the center of the tart.
  18. Continue baking another 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the filling halfway between the edge and the center of the tart comes out clean.
  19. Serve warm with creme fraîche, mascarpone or heavy whipped cream.

Yield: 16 servings

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