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Pecan Custard Tart Recipe

Sweet Pastry Crust: Place the butter in your mixer and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, beating just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball.  Flatten dough into disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.

Once the pastry has chilled sufficiently, remove from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 13 inch (32 cm) circle. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness).

When the pastry is rolled to the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll. Unroll onto the top of your tart pan. Never pull the pastry or you will get shrinkage. Gently lay in pan and lightly press the pastry onto bottom and up the sides of the pan. Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry. Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten.

To prebake the tart shell:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line the unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Fill tart pan with pie weights or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface. Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant.  Cool on a wire rack and then chop coarsely.

FOR FILLING: In a food processor or electric mixer place the cream cheese and sugar and process until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and process until thoroughly combined.  Add vanilla extract and half-and-half cream and process until well blended and smooth. 

Evenly distribute the chopped pecans over the bottom of the pre baked tart shell. Gently pour the filling over the pecans and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until filling is set.   Transfer tart to wire rack to cool. Serve warm with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. 

Makes 1 - 9 inch (23 cm) tart

Sweet Pastry Crust:

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg

Custard:

1 1/4 cups (125 grams) pecans

3 ounces (85 grams) cream cheese

1/3 cup (70 grams) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup (160 ml) half-and-half cream (a mixture of cream and whole milk and contains 10 - 12% butterfat.)