Just in time for Thanksgiving! Pecan pie is definitely a staple for this holiday, but did you ever think about the addition of dates? I never realized how good dates are until just a few years ago. For whatever reason, when you say the word “dates” people think about their grandmother. Not really sure why dates are associated with old people.
Dates are so good! They are chewy, moist, sweet and taste like caramel! That is why they pair so perfect with pecans. The addition of dates to pecan pie give it such a wonderful texture. I thought it would be fun to do tarts instead of an actual pie. This way I don’t feel so guilty when I have that slice of sweet potato pie and or apple pie, too. It’s a tart, not a pie, so the calories don’t count. Hopefully, that logic makes sense to you too.
There is one odd ingredient here, but it makes these tarts even more decadent, golden syrup. Golden syrup is evaporated cane sugar syrup. It has so much more flavor than Karo corn syrup. It’s so delicious you can put it on your pancakes, ice cream, just about any place you would use maple syrup. I bought mine at Cost Plus Market. I think golden syrup is becoming more popular because people are looking for alternatives to corn syrup. By all means if you can’t find golden syrup, use light Karo syrup.
Pecan Date Tarts
recipe from The Four and Twenty Black Birds Pie Book
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1 stick (1/4 pound) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ice
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
3/4 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup golden syrup
6 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches of salt
In a food processor combine flour, salt and sugar. Pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until butter is pea size. In a large measuring cup or small bowl combine water, vinegar, and ice. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water mixture to the food processor and pulse. Add one or more tablespoon of ice water at a time till the mixture becomes a ball with some dry bits remaining.
Shape the dough into a round disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or more.
Preheat oven to 350º
Roll out dough as thin as possible on a floured surface. I rolled the dough between two sheets of parchment paper, floured very well. This seemed to help me get it very thin without worrying too much about it sticking to the surface. Using the parchment paper can be a pain because it moves around, so you have to keep adjusting it. I think it was worth it in the end, because I didn’t have to worry about it sticking. Also, the parchment paper is nice because if your dough gets too warm you can throw the whole thing in the freezer.
Using a 4 inch biscuit cutter cut out 12 rounds (if you are willing to roll out the scraps, roll them into a ball and stick in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, before rolling out again) As you cut out each round, place it in a well greased muffin tin. Be sure to make sure the dough is down in the wells of each cup. Try not to press the dough to the bottom, but adjust it down. Once finished, place the muffin tin in the freezer. Repeat the process if using the leftover dough.
In a medium bowl, whisk sugar, syrup, eggs, butter, vanilla, cider vinegar, cinnamon, and salt together. Then stir in pecans and dates.
Remove the muffin tin from the freezer and spoon the filling into each one, filling almost to the top.
Bake for 25- 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool slightly before removing from the muffin tin. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Serve with fresh whip cream!