This is what I made as a dessert for a friend’s dinner party earlier this week. I offered to make dessert and wanted to make something different, try something new. I had been given some pecan nuts by a neighbour at Xmas so thought about what I could make with them and remembered a recipe in a book that my partner Tom gave me a few years ago. He swears he didn’t have any ill intentions when he gave me the book – some things get lost in translation in our house!
Anyway I adapted their recipe, using their pastry recipe, with one I found on the BBC Good Food website here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/75608/chocolate-and-pecan-tart
I made my pastry from scratch a sweet, rich shortcrust pastry with egg yolks and icing sugar. I put extra chocolate in the filling as I had less pecans than the recipe called for (I only had 100 grams) and my tart tin is bigger than the one in the recipe (mine’s 25cms) so I increased the chocolate to about 240 grams. Other than that I basically followed the BBC recipe for the filling. The maple syrup works really well in this tart as it’s not too sweet.
I decided to serve it with a strawberry compote, lightly stewed strawberries with a little sugar and lime juice, you could use fresh strawberries or raspberries but I liked the idea of having some juice. I also decided to try to make thickened cream. Here in Thailand we basically only get whipping cream and whipped cream would have been fine but I wanted to try something new and remembered reading about how to make mascarpone.
Basically you heat up whipping cream in a bowl over boiling water and just before it boils you add a couple of teaspoons of lemon / lime juice and it magically thickens. You let this cool then stain it through muslin / cheese cloth and the whey comes out leaving thickened cream, if you leave it for 24 hours you have mascarpone. I only left mine for about three hours (as that’s all the time I had after getting the idea) but it produced a thick cream that formed a slight peak when you spooned a dollop onto the plate. When heating the cream I added a little sugar and vanilla essence so this thickened cream / loose mascarpone went really well with the tart and strawberries. Everyone enjoyed it and I’m afraid that we were too busy eating to take photos of the plated up version so you’ll have to make it yourself to get the full effect. It’s worth the effort I assure you!