Sunday just wouldn’t be Sunday without some sweet treats in it, would it?
For me Sundays are all about spending quality time with my family and friends, sharing good food with good company and most of all making time for some baking. Whether I’m hosting friends for dinner or even if I’m invited somewhere for lunch, I am known for always bringing pudding with me. It’s a trait I’ve inherited from my mum; she would always make time to bake for her friends and work colleagues and I have a very strong memory of smelling amazing freshly baked cakes overpowering our kitchen and spreading through the whole house! It’s a memory I cherish and one that I love to bring into my own house - I just love the fact that I can treat my loved ones to something fresh and homemade.
On Sunday you might have seen that I shared a sneak peek of this on Instagram but now I’m giving you the full recipe for my pecan and caramel tarts including some extra tips and tricks. Like most of my recipes, these are easy to make and lovely to enjoy with family and friends. The only downside (if there is one)? They do take a long time to make; the process itself is very quick but you do need to allow time for the pastry to chill so this isn't one to start if you’re in a rush or making this with kids - they will get bored quickly and the hot caramel might not be easy to manage with children running around! If you’re looking for something quick and easy to make then why not try our blueberry loaf instead.
But back to the Pecan Tarts! This recipe is inexpensive to make and flexible - you can actually use any nuts you like it doesn't have to be pecans. I’ve tried making this with walnuts and almonds and they're equally delicious! Also, you can double the dough mixture and freeze half of it for another time as it lasts around 2 months in the freezer.
FOR THE PASTRY
120g of flour
40ml of sunflower oil
30ml of water
A pinch of salt
FOR THE CARAMEL
120g of sugar
160ml of coconut milk
1 teaspoon of salt
FOR THE FILLING
A selection of nuts - pecans or whatever you fancy
FOR THE PASTRY
Mix the flour and the salt together in a bowl
Add the oil and rub it into the dry mixture with your hands
Add the water and combine everything into a dough
Wrap the dough up in cling film and let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge - feel free to leave it longer if you’re making it in advance or freeze an extra portion for a later date
After 30 minutes remove the dough from the fridge and cut it into 4 portions
Place each portion in between two sheets of baking paper and roll them out gently aiming for a 2-3mm thickness (depending on how thick you like your pastry)
Place the pastry into four small tart tins and work it into the mould
Cut off any excess around the edges but don’t bin it - you can add it to your next batch
Pierce the bottom of the pastry with a fork and leave them to settle in the fridge for an hour.
Take them out of the fridge and cover the tins with baking paper and weigh them down with some baking beads or beans to hold them in place. Don’t have any? You can use dried lentils instead - you just need something heavy to stop the pastry rising.
Cook the pastry for 15 minutes at 180 degrees c then remove from the oven and let them cool.
Now you’re ready to make your caramel
FOR THE CARAMEL
Spread an even layer of the sugar onto the bottom of a pan and set it on a medium heat but don't stir it!
In a separate pan gently warm up the coconut milk
Once the sugar has melted in the pan (you’re aiming for a dark golden colour) remove it from the heat and pour in the coconut milk and the salt
The sugar might react to the milk and start forming lumps but don't worry this is normal. It can be frustrating (it happens to me quite a lot too) but just put the pan back on a very low heat until the lumps melt away. I remember the first time it happened to me I ended up throwing the whole mixture away!
You might have the opposite problem and your caramel might look too runny. Again this is normal as it should thicken as it cools down - if it’s still too runny simply put the pan back on a low heat and reduce the caramel to thicken it
Always be careful when pouring the warm milk into the caramel as it can spit and be very hot - that’s why this one might not be the best recipe to try with kids
Place your nut mixture into your pastry cases - probably about 5/6 nuts in each depending on their size
Once the caramel has cooled slightly pour that into the pastry cases over the nuts
Put the completed pastry cases into the oven at 180 degrees c to bake for about 2-4 minutes.
Take them out and - once they’ve cooled down - enjoy them with a cup of tea!
Finally, if you have made more than four or can’t finish them all (how could you!?), then the best way to store them is at room temperature in a Tupperware container. And because they don’t contain eggs and dairy you don’t have to worry about them going off for a long time, however, I would say they lose their crunchiness after 3 days. The sooner you eat them the better!
And the most important thing? Add a little love to all your recipes - it's the most important ingredient.