Stalwart Thanksgiving flavors, meet chocolate

New York TimesNovember 27, 2012 

  • Chocolate Coconut Pecan Tart 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar 1 large egg yolk 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 1/3 cup honey 2 tablespoons heavy cream 1/3 cup dark brown sugar 1 large egg 2 tablespoons bourbon 1/2 cup coconut flakes 1-3/4 cups whole pecans CREAM together 1 stick of butter and the confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat in the yolk until combined, then beat in the vanilla. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and 1/8 teaspoon salt. With the mixer running on low, beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Scrape the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour. ROLL the dough on a lightly floured surface into an 11-inch round. Transfer to a 10-inch fluted tart pan. Chill 30 minutes. HEAT oven to 325 degrees. Line the crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake 15 minutes; remove weights and foil and return crust to the oven to bake until dry to the touch, 5 to 10 minutes more. Cool. MELT the remaining stick of butter. In a bowl, combine butter, honey, cream, brown sugar, egg, bourbon and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Pour filling into the crust. Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is gently set, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Yield: 8 servings

We all know that everything is better with chocolate, so why not Thanksgiving?

Among the holiday’s traditional desserts, seasonal flavors rightly loom large: pumpkins, apples, pears, persimmons, nuts. Chocolate doesn’t really figure in.

But a little chocolate can only make things better. And don’t fret about tradition. After all, when was the last time you went to a Thanksgiving meal with only one dessert? (Me? Never.)

So I say this year, let at least one of the many offerings include something rich and dark and fudgy. Even if you’re not a chocolate lover yourself, someone at the table will be. And they will be ever so thankful.

This recipe will accomplish the goal. As every cook knows, the attachment to one’s family’s Thanksgiving recipes runs deep. Making a case for a black-bottomed pumpkin pie to replace your great-aunt’s sacred recipe (even if it was from the back of the evaporated milk can) would be futile.

I wanted to come up with chocolate-laced desserts that would gracefully accompany your family’s favorites.

I added coconut and pecans to a buttery chocolate shortbread crust and baked it until the whole thing was glossy and crisp on top. It tasted a little like pecan pie, a little like a candy bar and a lot like a celebration. Which is just what you want for Thanksgiving.

For a printable copy of the recipe, click the link:

Chocolate Coconut Pecan Tart

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