I am not afraid to tell you I have a love affair with pecans. Hailing from northern Mexico, it is impossible not to love the delicious buttery nuts. Growing up in a ranch in Monterrey, I remember we had huge pecan trees in the yard. We all looked forward to harvest time, when the nuts would fall from the trees. As kids it was exciting to collect bags of them and then sit around the table shelling them so our Nana would bake us a pie.
Pecans are the only nut native to North America, and they have been a food source for natives for hundreds of years, both in Mexico and the US.
In Monterrey, there are countless local candies and pastries made using pecans, and often cajeta, that delicious milk concoction prepared using slowly simmered goat's milk and sugar until the mixture is a delicious and gooey caramel spread.
That is my inspiration for this tart. An easy dough made in the food processor is enhanced with even more nutty goodness in the form of ground pecans is put on a tart pan and blind baked until golden.
The flaky crust is then filled with a mixture of cajeta and toasted chopped pecans. To make things even more delicious, top that with toasted coconut. Please use unsweetened coconut, as the cajeta is already plenty sweet on its own.
If you make this recipe, you will have an impressive dessert that is very easy to make, but is beautiful and delicious to serve your guests. Add some berries for an acidic contrast to the sweet tart and you will have a match made in heaven. Perfect for celebrating with Mom on Mother's Day.
Tarta Doble Nuez con Cajeta y Coco
Double Pecan Tart with Cajeta and Coconut
For the pastry:
1 1/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 egg yolk
¼ cup sugar
¼ ground pecans
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
2-4 Tbsp ice-cold water
For the filling:
1 cup dulce de leche
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
To make the pastry: place the flour in a bowl of a food processor. Add the egg yolk, sugar, ground pecans and salt. Pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until butter is pea-sized. Add two tablespoons of ice water and pulse, adding more water, a tablespoon at a time, only until dough starts to come together in bowl. Turn out onto floured board, knead lightly into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Roll out the dough to 1/8” thickness. Drape over 8” tart pan with fluted removable sides. Trim dough 1” larger than the sides of the pan and tuck excess dough under the edge.
Place a piece of foil or parchment over dough and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove weights and foil and continue baking, another 15-20 minutes, or until tart is golden brown. Remove from oven and remove foil and weights. Cool tart crust.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine dulce de leche and pecans. Spread mixture in tart crust. Top with coconut. Serve with berries if desired.
Makes one 8" tart.
This recipe was first published at www.thelatinkitchen.com