This irresistible dessert classic is given an inspired mocha twist, adding to its heavenly combination of rich toasted nuttiness and caramel sweetness. Enriching pastry with pecans is an ideal shortcut when time is not on your side and creates an added depth of nutty charm. A spoonful of crème fraîche is an ideal accompaniment here.
For the pastry:
- 375g of packet ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
- 150g of pecans, finely ground
For the filling:
- 300g of pecans, roughly chopped
- 150ml of maple syrup
- 50g of unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp of crunchy maple peanut or honey cinnamon cashew butter (or crunchy peanut butter)
- 100ml of double cream (or single)
- 50g of soft brown sugar
- 1 tbsp of instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 tbsp of hot water
- 1 tbsp of raw cacao (or 100% cocoa) powder
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Unroll the sheet of pastry and sprinkle the finely ground pecans evenly all over the surface. Roll up the pastry from one end to the other into a long round sausage shape, then bring together into a ball and knead with your fingers until the pecans are distributed throughout. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and use to line a 23cm-diameter, 4cm-deep tart tin with a removable base. Prick the base with a fork and chill for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, spread the pecans over a baking tray and cook in the oven for five to seven minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove and set aside.
3. Line the chilled pastry case with greaseproof paper and ceramic baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes on a baking sheet, then remove the beans and paper, and return the pastry case to the oven for a further five minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden. Remove and reduce the oven temperature to 180°C.
4. Put the maple syrup, both butters, cream, sugar, coffee and cacao powder in a pan and warm briefly over a low heat until the butters have melted and the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool slightly.
5. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl, then stir in the slightly cooled syrup mixture, the pecans, vanilla, nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake for 30 minutes, or until set. Serve warm or cold with crème fraîche or ice cream, if you wish.
Recipe courtesy of The Goodness of Nuts and Seeds by Natalie Seldon, photography by Faith Mason (Kyle Books, £6.49)