This is an all-time favourite dessert in the South, where pecans are widely cultivated. Here a crunchy topping covers a gooey underlayer that’s heady with vanilla, a touch of salt and warming bourbon.
- Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus chilling
- Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes, plus chilling
125g light brown soft sugar
75ml maple syrup
75ml golden syrup
50g unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp bourbon
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g salted butter
3 tbsp caster sugar
200g plain flour
1 egg yolk
1 For the pastry, put the butter and sugar in a food processor; blend until smooth. add the flour and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. mix the egg yolk with 2 tbsp ice-cold water and blend in until you have wet, sandy grains. Tip onto a work surface, knead gently, then shape into a disc and wrap in cling film; chill for 30 minutes. (alternatively, use a wooden spoon to cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the yolk. Sift in the flour and mix in with the water until combined.)
2 Preheat the oven to 200 ̊C,gas mark 6. Toast the pecans for 8-10 minutes. Cool, then pulse 75g in a food processor until roughly ground. mix with the remaining pecans.
3 Line the base of a deep 23cm tart case with baking parchment. Roll the pastry between 2 sheets of cling film to the thickness of a £1 coin. Remove the cling film, drape the pastry over a rolling pin, lay it over the case and carefully push into the base. Trim the edges, line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans; chill for 30 minutes (or freeze for 15 minutes).
4 Blind bake the case for 25 minutes, then remove the parchment and beans and cook for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
5 Lower the oven to 180 ̊C, gas mark 4. Whisk the eggs with a balloon whisk for 1 minute, until frothy. Whisk in the sugar, the maple syrup next, then the remaining ingredients. Stir in the nuts, pour into the case and bake for 30 minutes, until set. Leave to cool a little and serve with crème fraîche, if liked.