Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Secret Santa Fail (but a yummy recipe!)

We had Secret Santas at work last week, and I nearly killed mine. 

For a little surprise, I decided to make him some sweet treats, and tried out this recipe from Real Simple, for a Chocolate Pecan Tart.  Little did I know that he was allergic to nuts.  Yikes.  Luckily it was pretty clear from looking at them that they had nuts so he didn't eat any.  But I felt TERRIBLE and couldn't even apologize until a few days later because that would reveal my identity!  (I did make him some chocolate chip cookies to make up for it.)

Anyway, I sampled the recipe and it was really good!  If you like/aren't allergic to nuts.  I used walnuts instead of pecans because that is what I had, and added some extra chocolate chips and cream to fill out the larger pan I had used.  But overall, it was delish!  Try it yourself...makes a nice gift too, if you know your audience's dietary restrictions.  (So sorry, Frank!!!!)

Chocolate Pecan Tart
from Real Simple

serves 8     Hands-On Time: 15m      Total Time: 2hr 30m

1 3/4 cups pecan halves (I used walnuts)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch for the filling
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped (I ended up using an entire bag of chocolate chips, which is 4 oz more than 1/2 lb)
3/4 cup heavy cream (added some extra cream too, to melt the additional chips)

1.Heat oven to 350° F. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing once, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

2.Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture; mix until combined but still crumbly.

3.Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 4-by-14-inch rectangular (or 9-inch round) tart pan.  (I used a square 8x8 inch baking pan.)  Line with a large piece of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides, and fill with dried beans or pie weights.  (I didn't have parchment and couldn't find my pie weights, so I skipped that.  The crust was a little puffy but it worked out fine.)  Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the edges of the crust are dry, 20 to 22 minutes. Remove the parchment and beans and bake until dry and set, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely.

4.Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the chocolate and pinch of salt. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a bare simmer; pour over the chocolate and let stand 1 minute. Stir gently until the mixture is smooth. Stir in 1½ cups of the pecans. Pour the mixture into the cooled tart shell and sprinkle with the remaining pecans. Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour.

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