A pie is composed of a sweet or savory filling in a baked crust. It can be open-faced (without a top crust) or, more typically, topped with a full or lattice crust. A pie is generally made in a round, slope-sided pan and cut into wedges.
A tart is similar to a pie except it is made in a shallow, straight-sided pan, often with fluted edges.
I decided on a pecan tart instead of a pie solely because of the presentation. The recipes are exactly the same!
Remember when you are baking or cooking, PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION!
For the Dough:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons beaten egg (about 1/2 large egg)
For the Filling:
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 30 whole pecan halves, 3/4 cup chopped
Make the dough:
Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the shortening and pulse until it disappears, about 30 seconds. Add the butter; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter.
Beat the egg with 2 tablespoons ice water in a bowl, then add to the processor and pulse once or twice (stop before the dough gathers into a ball). Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Wrap tightly and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
Roll the dough into a 10-inch round on a floured surface. Ease into a 8-inch tart pan. Be sure the dough is pressed against the sides of the shell. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the shell. The edge of the shell will cut the dough.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 450F.
Make the filling:
Scrape the vanilla seeds into a skillet; add the butter and the vanilla pod. Cook over medium-high heat until the butter browns, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool somewhat.
Put a baking sheet in the oven on the rack to heat.
Whisk the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Slowly scrape in the butter mixture, whisking; discard the vanilla pod. (If using vanilla extract instead, add it now).
Spread the chopped pecans in the crust and pour in the corn syrup mixture. Place the 30 pecan halves in a circle around tart.
Place the tart on the hot baking sheet, reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake until the crust is golden, 20 to 30 minutes. Continue baking until set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on rack.
This pecan pie tart is the perfect ending to a delicious meal!
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