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What are the Best Tips for Baking a Pecan Tart?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2016
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A pecan tart is a dessert composed of a single bottom crust that is filled with a combination of chopped pecans and a syrup made from boiling sugar; butter; and liquid flavoring agents such as rum, bourbon, honey, or vanilla extract; then baked until the filling is just solidified without being firm. Some of the most common difficulties that bakers may encounter with preparing this dessert include or cracking of the crust or an overly runny or hardened texture of the filling, but certain tips may be followed while preparing the tart to ensure the correct consistency of the dessert.

The first step in making a pecan tart is preparing the crust, which consists of a basic flour and butter-based pastry dough. The dough is rolled into a thin circle and placed into the bottom of a tart pan. A tart pan is a circular pan with fluted sides and a removable bottom, which allows for easier slicing and serving of the tart. To prevent the crust from cracking while it bakes, the dough may be refrigerated after being placed in the tart pan while the filling is being prepared. Chilling allows a chance for the dough to become firmer and less prone to cracking during baking, which can then prevent the filling from leaking through cracks and burning.

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Once the crust is prepared, the syrup base for the filling is typically prepared by boiling sugar, butter, and other flavoring agents until it forms a smooth, slightly sticky liquid. Due to the high amount of moisture in the filling ingredients, pecan tart fillings may be runny, even after an extended baking time. One of the best tips for ensuring the proper texture of the pecan tart filling is to carefully watching the syrup as it boils to ensure the heat never lowers enough to stop the boiling, even temporarily. If the boiling process of the syrup ingredients is interrupted, it can keep the filling from setting as it bakes and result in a soupy texture.

For the best results, a pecan tart must typically be baked only until the crust is lightly browned and the filling is puffy and just solidified without being firm. The tart filling will continue to bake briefly after the tart is removed from the oven, so the center can still be slightly soft when it is taken out of the oven. To see if the tart filling is baked enough to be removed from the oven, a knife may be inserted into the center of the filling and pulled out; if no wet filling sticks to the knife, the filling is set enough to remove from the oven.

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serenesurface
Post 3

I make a pecan tart every year at Thanksgiving and it's always a hit. One thing I have learned with experience is that the eggs needed to be beaten enough to be frothy but they shouldn't be beaten too much. If they're beaten excessively, the filling becomes very puffy in the oven instead of dense. So I recommend anyone baking a pecan tart for the first time to be careful while beating the eggs to get the consistency of the filling right.

SteamLouis
Post 2

@burcinc-- They are usually made the same way with the same ingredients. But the recipe can vary a little based on the baker's preferences. Both pecan tart and pie involve using a crust and a filling made with sugar and butter. In fact, some people call these "pie tarts." They can be made in small muffin tins, or in a large pie tin.

I make my pecan tart in a pie tin. I use lots of pecans (a little more than what the recipe calls for, which is one and one fourth cups). I also use maple syrup although my recipe calls for corn syrup because it's a little healthier and the tart tastes better.

burcinc
Post 1

Is there a difference between pecan tart and pecan pie? I looked up both and the pictures look mostly the same. The only difference I can see is that the tarts are like small pies. Is there a difference in terms of ingredients or method?

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