With 10 days before Thanksgiving, it’s not too early to start thinking about the biggest meal of the year.Whether you are hosting or taking a dish to someone else’s house, this is the time to put your best foot (or should I say dish) forward. For the next few days, I’ll share my take on dishes from desserts to sides to turkey. But for today, let’s talk dessert. No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without a show~stopping dessert and I have one: Pecan Rum Tart is the Perfect Dessert for Thanksgiving.
Now I know that depending on where you live, dessert might be pumpkin pie, apple pie, chess pie or something else entirely. An article in the November issue of Southern Living Magazine in the focused on the traditional Thanksgiving pies in the southern states. Very interesting article with a bit of history and of course, recipes. I was not one bit surprised which pie got star billing for Texas: pecan pie, and I’ve got an extra special one. This Pecan Rum Tart will beat the pants off any contenders. I promise.
In Texas we love pecan pie; in fact, (trivia question here, folks), the pecan tree is our state tree. Other pies, such as pumpkin and chocolate or apple, may be offered, but pecan pie rules. Several years ago, our friend Grant brought his version of pecan pie to a party and we all swooned over it. Grant and I made a deal. I would teach Grant how to roast vegetables and he would teach me how to make his pecan rum tart. A few weeks later, Sweet Shark and I went over to Grant and his wife’s house for a little cooking class. I can tell you that we ate very well that night. For Thanksgiving that year I used Grant’s recipe and it was a super big hit. Last year I interviewed him for a magazine article about his pecan rum tart and sweet Grant said I could share his recipe which he has been perfecting and tweaking for years. Everyone say, thank you, Grant!
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If you’ve been reading Bluesky at Home (previously Bluesky Kitchen), you know that as a cooking instructor, I just can’t give you a recipe. I have to show you the how~to and lots of tips to help you make the best dish you can. So I have 10 TIPS to help you make this Pecan Rum Tart or any other tart.
I’ve included links to a few of my favorite baking tools for your convenience. I may receive some compensation if you order a product from this site.
Grant’s dough is a pie crust, but he bakes it in a 15~inch tart pan. That’s a hard size to find so I adjusted the crust amounts for a 10~inch tart pan. This crust is easy because it’s made in the food processor and it doesn’t require chilling unless you want to make it ahead of time.
TIP#1: Pay attention to how the recipe reads when it calls for sifted flour: 1 cup sifted flour means to sift before measuring; 1 cup flour, sifted mean to sift after measuring.
I love this sifter because it only requires on hand to sift and you can mix ingredients in it, take off the plastic bottom and you’re ready to sift.
TIP #2: Make sure that your butter is very cold when you dice it.
TIP #3: After you dice the butter, put it back in the fridge while you gather the other ingredients.
TIP #4: Put a few ice cubes in a measuring cup and fill with water. Tap water is not cold enough.
Add all the ingredients except the ice water to your food processor. Process just until thoroughly combined. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and pulse the food processor. Continue until you can squeeze a small bit of the dough and it holds together ~ almost like cookie dough. I love my Kitchen Aid Food Processor. I’ve had it for 15 years and it’s a workhorse.
On a lightly floured counter, roll out the crust dough. For a 10~inch tart pan, roll to 11 ~ 12 inches. For a 4 1/2 tart pan (I love mini~tarts!), roll out to 5 ~ 6 inches.
Place the crust in the tart pan and gently push into the edges and up to the top of the sides. Use pieces of dough to fill in where needed.
TIP #6: Use a rolling pin across the top of the tart pan to remove excess crust.
TIP #7: Place the tart pan on top of a piece of rubber shelf paper . It really helps keep the tart pan in place while you are working with it.
NOTE: You can prepare the tart pans ahead and put in the fridge until you are ready to fill them.
Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl.
Here’s the secret to this tart: dark karo syrup instead of light and a good bit of dark rum.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the eggs and be sure to thoroughly combine all until the mixture is a rich brown color. Then add the chopped pecans.
Fill the tart pans with the filling. If you are using several mini~tart pans, be sure to evenly divide the filling among them.
TIP # 8: Before filling the tarts, place the pan on a sheet pan covered in parchment paper. This makes it much easier to remove the tart pans from the oven. The parchment keeps the sheet pan clean in case any of the filling bubbles over.
What makes this tart so pretty is the garnish of whole pecans. For Grant’s 15~inch version, he has counted out precisely how many pecans are needed for each circle. I’m not that precise. Just start in the middle of the tart with your first circle and continue around the tart until you get to the outer edge. You will need to break off pieces of pecan to fit in the smaller areas.
Now you are ready to bake. When the tart is done, the filling should be fairly firm, but a little wobbly in the center. It will firm up as it cools. Carefully remove the outer ring of the tart pan.
TIP#9: A cake spatula makes it really easy to remove the bottom of the tart pan from the tart. Then you can slip the tart onto your serving plate or cake stand.
TIP # 10: Tart pans can rust if any moisture is left on them after washing. Place them in a warm oven for a few minutes until all moisture has evaporated.
Enjoy the Pecan Rum Tart!
I like to add a dollop of whipped cream on my pecan pie. Vanilla ice cream is great, too; warm the pie in the oven or zap it in the microwave if you like. Pecan rum tart a la mode!
Pecan Rum Tart
- Yield: 8 ~ 10 slices
- Category: Dessert
- TART CRUST:
- 2 cups flour, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 stick cold butter, cubed
- 4 ~ 6 tablespoons cold water
- Tart Filling:
- 4 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 1/3 cups dark karo syrup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 1/2 cups pecans chopped
- 1 ~ 2 cups whole pecans, for garnish
- FOR THE CRUST:
- Combine all the tart crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, adding water by the tablespoon as needed, until dough come together.
- Flatten the dough and roll out on a lightly floured counter to a 12~inch circle. Press the tart crust evenly into the bottom and sides of a 10~inch tart pan.
- Use a rolling pin across the top of the tart pan to remove excess dough.
- FOR THE FILLING:
- Place the tart pan on a half sheet pan covered with a piece of parchment paper.
- Combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and pour into the tart crust.
- Starting in the middle of the tart, lay out the pecans in circles, breaking off pieces as needed to cover filling to edges of the tart.
- Bake the tart for 45 ~ 50 minutes for a 10~inch tart; 25-30 minutes for a 4 1/2~inch size.
- Allow to cool in tart pan until just warm.
- Remove from tart pan to a flat~bottom round platter or cake stand.
- Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.