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Chocolate Pecan Indulgence

Chocolate Pecan Indulgence

I found this recipe in Bon Appetit Magazine years ago when it included a home made warm caramel sauce poured onto the individual serving plate. Then I had this supreme indulgence at a fund-raiser with Julia Child where the chef had poured the caramel sauce on top of the chocolate truffle filling. Finally, I noticed this dessert featured in one of the Christmas magazines.

I changed the recipe to use bought caramels melted with cream. Making home made caramel sauce can be extremely dangerous with the temperature that boiling sugar reaches and causes burns on your skin. It is extremely rich, but tastes out of this world. It can be made a day or two in advance. It is one of those desserts that you find yourself returning for just one more sliver - the same way one is tempted by a box of Godiva chocolates. You could also add 1-2 tbsp of liqueur to the chocolate truffle mix or even arrange sliced strawberries, fresh pineapple, or mango on top of the chocolate, but underneath the caramel topping. In this way both the chocolate and caramel help the fruit stay looking and tasting fresher. This is best served at room temperature.

Ingredients
Base:

  • 2 c whole pecans (8oz bag)
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 oz very soft unsalted butter (you can get away with salted butter)

Filling:

  • ½ c whipping cream
  • 12 oz bag (2c) semi-sweet chocolate chips
    (I use Nestlé Tollhouse - don't use store brand)

Topping:

  • ½ of 14 oz bag of soft caramels (candy apple type) unwrapped.
    I currently use Milk Maid brand by Brachs available at Shaws and Shop n Save for about $2 a bag. Don't buy the caramels that come in the pick your own candies - they are an absolute pain to unwrap. Bottles of caramel ice cream syrup are not a good substitute.
  • ¼ c milk or cream.
  • Additional whipped cream and chocolate curls for garnish. To one cup of liquid cream, add 2 tablespoons sugar and one teaspoon vanilla extract, whip until stiff.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Blend nuts, sugar and cinnamon in processor until nuts are finely ground, but not a paste.

3. Add butter and blend until well combined. Press nut mix onto bottom and about one inch up sides of 9" tart pan with removable bottom. It will also work in 9" pie plate but is easier to cut in other pan.

4. Bake until golden brown - about 20 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.

5. Bring whipping cream to simmer in microwave. Add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Heat gently if not smooth enough. Put 2 tbsp chocolate mix in Ziploc snack bag and retain. Pour chocolate into crust, cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. You can cheat and use the freezer but the chocolate has to be firm before you pour on the caramel.

6. Put caramels and milk/cream in bowl in microwave and heat for about 2 minutes stirring every 30 seconds until totally smooth.

7. Allow to cool slightly but while still pourable, pour over set chocolate filling. Snip corner from chocolate filled Ziploc bag and pipe a continuous circle of chocolate radiating out from center of dish. Take a toothpick, knife or skewer and gently drag tip of knife etc through chocolate circle from outside to center to form pattern. Refrigerate to set.

8. To garnish. Spread or pipe whipped cream around edge, or all over top. Place few chocolate chips in cheese grater and grate some on top, or sprinkle with chocolate curls.

Notes

Milk Maid by Brach candy apple caramels are not always available. I discovered that both Werthers and Hersheys make a 7oz ($1.99) and 9 oz ($2.29) bags of soft caramel that could be used but is more expensive. Do not buy hard toffee-like caramels. Prices from 2002.

PLEASE NOTE THAT SUBSTITUTIONS AND DIFFERENT METHODS WILL AFFECT FINAL TASTE.
© 2000-2005 Royal Temptations


Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers Catering services, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner and has her own series on Merrimack TV. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.
 
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