This pecan tart recipe is a fun twist on a traditional southern dessert. With hints of bourbon and orange, this pie is the perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving dessert lineup.
This past weekend Matthew and I had a friend visiting from out of town. I took this opportunity use our guest—thank you Dani—as a taste tester. Recently, I've been experimenting with some new flavor combinations for Thanksgiving desserts. I had Dani try a pecan pie recipe that has two special ingredients... bourbon and orange zest. She gave the recipe two thumbs up!
Are a Pie and a Tart the Same?
For your average person, the difference between a pie and a tart is negligible. But, if you're here at My Sweet Precision reading this post, you want a detailed answer. I've got you covered! Unlike a pie, a tart is always open-faced. You bake a tart in straight-sided pan with a removable bottom. This makes removing the tart from the pan a breeze.
Another major difference is the crust. Do you remember me waxing poetic last week about how much I love refrigerated pie crusts? Well, I'm about to throw a plot twist your direction. For a PIE a refrigerated crust is the way to go 100% of the time. For tarts—enter plot twist—refrigerated crusts are NOT the best. Confused? As we mentioned above, tarts are a little bit different than pies. The dough for a tart is firm, crumbly, and sandy... is that even a word? In this situation, a delicate refrigerated crust is an unacceptable solution. Luckily, below I share a simple recipe that will have you squared away in no time.
What Kind of Bourbon Should I Use?
I relied on Matthew to select a bourbon for this pecan tart. I'm not much of a spirits drinker and I didn't trust myself to select something from our liquor cabinet. He settled on Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon for our pecan tart. In his own words, "this bourbon has hints of honey and spice and a slight sweetness." I trust his judgement on this one and so should you!
Pecans... A Southern Delicacy
Pecans need a warm climate to grow, which is why you can find them in the southern United States . My grandma used to visit family in Mississippi and bring back the most delicious pecans. If anyone wanted some pecans, they had to put in an order beforehand.
I enjoy baking with pecans. Compared to other nuts, they have a sweet and buttery taste to them. Personally, I find walnuts to be a little bitter when baking. You can always swap out walnuts for pecans in your favorite dish!
To store your leftover pecans, place them in a Ziploc baggie with the date and put them in the freezer. All nuts have oils and will go bad if left out in your cupboard. In the freezer, pecans will last up to nine months.
Orange Zest for Added Flavor
This recipe has orange zest added to both the tart crust and filling. This gives you a powerful punch of flavor. I'm a fan of using orange zest in baking. You can buy dried orange zest but fresh is always more flavorful. If you don't have orange zest, I've got you covered with these orange zest substitutions!
Step-by-step recipe instructions
Once you've combined all your ingredients into a bowl, the mixture will look runny. Don't despair! Everything will solidify after baking and cooling to room temperature.
I always like to place my tart pan on a cookie sheet. I do this JUUUUST in case anything drip out of the bottom. It's better safe than sorry when it comes to cleaning up a mess in your oven.
No slice of pecan tart is complete without a scoop of ice cream! You could get all fancy and do with butter pecan ice cream. We kept it basic and went with French vanilla. Whatever you choose, you can't go wrong!
Other Tart Recipes You'll Love
Did you enjoy this recipe? Check out similar recipes on My Sweet Precision. You may like our Miniature Apple Tarts, French Strawberry Tart, or our Tarte Tatin. If you make a dessert be sure to tag #mysweetprecision on Instagram!
Pecan Tart with Orange and Bourbon
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 each egg yolk large room temperature
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 ½ cup pastry flour
- 1 ⅓ cups pecans ⅓ cup chopped
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup corn syrup light
- ⅓ cup butter unsalted room temperature
- 3 each eggs
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a mixing bowl, add the butter, sugar, and sea salt. Cream the mixture until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the egg yolk and orange zest to the mixture. Continue to beat the mixture until the yolk is incorporated.
- Add the entire amount of pastry flour to the bowl. Mix only until the dough forms a ball. Knead a few times to make sure the dough is well incorporated.
- This recipe makes more dough than is needed for a 9'' tart. It is the perfect amount for an 11'' tart. For a 9'' tart, weigh out .70 pound of dough and save the remainder for another use.
- Crumble the dough into a 9'' tart pan. Use your fingertips. press the dough on the bottom and up the sides of the pan to an even thickness.
- Place dough in refrigerator to cool while you work on the filling.
- Chop ⅓ cup of pecans and add to 1 cup whole pecans in a large bowl. Add sugar and salt to bowl and mix ingredients together.
- In a medium bowl, mix together corn syrup, butter, eggs, bourbon, orange zest, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix everything together.
- Pour into the chilled pastry shell and place the pan on a baking sheet.
- Bake the tart 45-55 minutes. The center should be slightly soft to the touch, the crust should be golden brown, and the edges should be set.
- Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack. Remove the pan sides and slide the tart off the pan bottom onto a serving plate. Serve warm or room temperature.
Notes and Tips
Did you make this recipe?! First, let me say THANK YOU for giving it a try!
Please leave us a rating and feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what went well — and didn't — with a recipe!