My brain told me this instantly after my first bite of these tarts. Good that my taste bud and brain are communicating fast and well these days... LOL!
Next, my brain instructed my right hand to pat my left shoulder... Pat! Pat! ...and kept telling me, "Good choice, Zoe! Good choice!" Pardon me that I have a strange habit of talking to myself and I also have a funny brain... LOL!
I hope that I don't sound like I'm bragging but it is true that I'm very proud of myself for choosing this excellent recipe to bake for our bake-along with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings.
Seeing the bake-along bakes that I have baked at here, here, here, here and more, you might know that I'm obsessed with baking miniature cakes and bakes. To me, mini cakes and bakes are good because each serve has been reduced in its portion size and they are generally petite and cute to enjoy!
Here is an again highly rated recipe from William Sonoma and also from the book, William Sonoma Baking. This tart recipe is really interesting to bake as this tart is mainly made of maple syrup and pecan nuts. Yeah... lots of maple syrup and pecan nuts!
Instead of baking just one 20 cm (9 inch) round maple pecan tart as recommended in the recipe, I have used full amount of the pastry and half amount of maple pecan filling to bake a dozen of 6 cm (2-1/2 inches) rounds tarts. In fact, half amount of maple pecan filling requires 1 cup (250ml) of maple syrup and this amount is actually the entire standard-size bottle of maple syrup! Despite the massive amount of maple syrup used, the overall sweetness of these tarts is surprisingly spot-on! Absolutely, just right! The recipe uses reduced maple syrup very cleverly to coat the pecan nuts resulting these maple coated nuts to be extremely fragrant and addictive to enjoy. Double spot-on? I think so. With butter pastry bases, I would say these tarts are triple spot-on! Spot on! Spot on! Spot on!... LOL!
Can't have enough of these triple spot-on tarts? Clearly, I deserve more pats (or maybe triple pat) on my shoulder... Pat! Pat! Pat!
|My miniature Maple Pecan Tarts|
|These tarts are mainly made of maple syrup and pecan nuts.|
|Freezing the tart pastry before baking helps to prevent the pastry from shrinking.|
|Yay! These pastry didn't shrink much!|
|Next, keep boiling the maple syrup until it is thick and viscous.|
|Cold reduced maple syrup can be like hardening caramelized sugar. A slightly warm reduced maple syrup is easier to handle.|
|Add in the coarsely chopped pecan nuts.|
|Spoon filling into tart pastry and bake!|
I have topped the tarts with extra pecan halves to make them look a little prettier :p
|Triple spot-on? Give me a pat (or more) if you think so :)|
Pat! Pat! Pat!
Pat! Pat! Pat!
After the last three pats, I'm giving myself more pats again... because I had completed the recent Melbourne Marathon on 12 Oct 2014 for 3:40:44 and this is my best personal timing. Yippee!!!
|This is my 3rd marathon medal :)|
Here's the recipe mostly adapted from the book, William Sonoma Baking or here and here
Makes a dozen 6 cm / 2-1/2 inches round tarts
For the Basic Pie Dough:
190g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
125g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp very cold water
This is the method that I used... To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using the finger tips of my hands, rub butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse crumbs, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
Alternatively... To make the dough in a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the flat beater, and stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and toss it roughly with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse crumbs, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together.
Wrap the dough in cling wrap and allow it to rest in the fridge for 1 hr or more.
For the maple pecan filling:
1 cups pure maple syrup
1 eggs, lightly beaten
20g dark muscavodo or dark brown sugar
a pinch of salt
15g unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
extra pecan halves to top, optional
Using a rolling pin, roll dough into 5mm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a 9 cm round cutter, cut dough into circles. Transfer each circle into each 6 cm round tart mould and pat it into the bottom and sides of the mould. Fold the overhang under itself and pinch it together to create a high edge on the mould rim.
Refrigerate or freeze the pastry until firm, about 30 mins or more. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F or 170°C fan forced.
Line the pastry shell with baking paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for 15 mins, then lift an edge of the baking paper. If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 mins, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F or 160°C fan forced
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil and boil for 10-20 mins to reduce. Remove from the heat. The syrup should be reduced to something thick and syrupy like golden syrup kind of texture. If necessary, return the syrup to the saucepan and continue to boil until sufficiently reduced. Let cool to room temperature before proceeding.
In a bowl, stir together the eggs, brown sugar, reduced maple syrup, salt, melted butter and vanilla until well mixed. Add the pecans and stir well. Pour into the partially baked pastry shell, making sure the pecans are evenly distributed. For a pretty look, you may place one or two pecan halves on each tart before baking.
Bake filled tarts until the filling is slightly puffed and firm to the touch, 20 minus. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until just slightly warm before serving.
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Please note that the linky tool for bake-along is no longer available.