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Maple Pecan Toffee Tart

The candy-like filling of this marvelous tart is to die for — chewy and full of toffee flavor, but not overly sweet, we much prefer it over pecan pie! Delicious on its own or accompanied by a bit of softly whipped unsweetened cream, it’s a perfect autumn dessert . . . or breakfast, with a hot cup of good coffee.

Maple Pecan Toffee Tart

For the sweetcrust pastry

7 oz. all-purpose flour (1¾ cup minus 1 tbs.)
1 tbs. confectioner’s sugar
4 oz. chilled butter, cubed (8 tbs.)
½ – 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

10 oz. shelled pecans (2¾ cups), 2/3 coarsely chopped, the rest left whole
8 fl. oz. maple syrup, plus extra to serve
2½ oz. light brown sugar (½ cup unpacked)
5 oz. butter (10 tbs.)
2½ fl. oz. heavy cream

Sift the flour and confectioner’s sugar into the bowl of a food processor, drop the butter cubes in, and whiz just briefly until the butter is in small lumps. Add half the beaten egg and continue to whiz for another few seconds or until the mixture looks as though it may just come together. Gather the dough together with your hands and flatten out the ball of dough until it is about an inch thick. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Place the dough between two pieces of cling film. Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry to an even circle not quite ¼“ thick. Peel away the top layer of cling film, carefully flip the pastry over into a buttered 9” removable bottom tart pan, and gently work the pastry into the edges of the tin. Using your thumb, ‘cut’ the pastry along the edge of the tin for a neat finish. Remove the cling film, prick over the base with a fork, and chill the pastry in the fridge for another 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Remove the pastry from the fridge and line with parchment paper that has been crumpled up a few times and smoothed out to make it more pliable. Fill with pastry weights or dried beans, then place in the oven and bake ‘blind’ for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry feels dry in the base. Remove the parchment and weights, brush the base with some of the leftover egg, then bake in the oven for another 3-4 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Place the pecans in a roasting tin and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Meanwhile, place the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to boil vigorously for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat, stir in the pecans, and pour into the pre-baked tart base. Place carefully in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until browned and bubbling (you might want to place a foil-lined baking sheet on the rack below to catch any of the filling that bubbles over the edge, thus keeping the floor of your oven clean!). Allow to cool, then put in the fridge to chill before serving, drizzling with maple syrup, if you like.

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