Have a Heart for Hospice and Chocolate Toffee Pecan Tart

This is the Holiday issue of Gaston Alive! and instead of our usual recipe this month I thought I would talk about a charitable event that is held every year in Mount Holly. The event is a wine tasting event where the proceeds go to Hospice of Gaston County. What an amazing cause and just as amazing are the individuals who dedicate their time and efforts. This is a great event where quite a few special people in the community work extremely hard to ensure that all that attend have an exceptional experience.

While the wines and foods are a great part of the evening, there is also a silent auction that is held. The silent auction has everything from works of art, to gift certificates to spas and restaurants. One of the silent auction items the last two years has been an evening of cooking provided by Cooking with the Glenn’s. Not to sound like I am bragging here, but we usually fetch a pretty penny. All of the proceeds that have been collected from the Cooking with the Glenn’s event have gone directly to Hospice.

This year we just recently were able to cook for the party of six that bid and won the evening with us (by the way they have been the top bidders the last two years). They are phenomenal individuals and we have really enjoyed cooking for them.

Here is our menu from this year’s dinner:

Cocktails
Lemon Drop Martini’s with an amuse-bouche of salmon

Appetizers
Selection of Wood Fired Italian Oven Flat Breads (Glenn has one at his house)!
Fig and Goat Cheese
Mushroom and Manchego
Pear with Sautéed Onion and Gorgonzola

Salad Course
Mandarin Orange, Goat Cheese and Shaved Fennel with
Mixed Baby Green Salad

Soup Course
Seven Mushroom Soup

Dinner
Pork Loin Chops Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes, Creamed Spinach and Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Dessert
Chocolate Toffee Pecan Tart with a Crème Anglaise Sauce

Chocolate Toffee Pecan Tart with a Crème Anglaise Sauce

Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more
    for dusting
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg, beaten

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon

Directions

Make the dough: Pulse the flour, cocoa, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea- size bits of butter. Add the egg and pulse once or twice. (Stop before the dough gathers into a ball.) Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Place the dough on a large sheet of lightly floured parchment paper. Roll into a 12-inch round, no more than 1/8 inch thick. Invert the dough over a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and peel off the parchment; press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. (If the dough tears, just pat it back together.) Trim the excess dough. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Position racks in the middle and lower third of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line the crust with foil, then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake on the middle rack, 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking until crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Prepare the filling: Coarsely chop 1 cup pecans. Combine the butter, granulated sugar, vanilla and kosher salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture turns dark amber, 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately stir in the chopped pecans and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the corn syrup and brown sugar until dissolved. Cool until lukewarm, then whisk in the eggs and bourbon until combined. (The tart can be made 1 day ahead up to this point; cover and refrigerate the filling and wrap the cooled crust in plastic wrap.)

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet and pour in the filling up to the brim. Arrange the remaining 1/2 cup pecan halves on top. Bake on the lower oven rack until the tart is evenly browned and slightly domed in the center, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

This year the Hospice event entitled Have a Heart for Hospice will be on Thursday, February 9th. Be on the look out for further information regarding this event in next month’s issue.

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Glenn and Glenn