My dad was born on February 2, also known as Groundhog's Day. He is obviously a grown man now, but I imagine that when he was a kid it must have been annoying to have his birthday overshadowed by a rodent (pun intended). I'm not sure that animal is deserving of all the attention he gets.
To let my dad know that he's far more important than a burrowing animal, I made him this rich, decadent dessert. I also managed to use a few ingredients in my pantry that I need to get rid of before I leave next month.
My dad has simple tastes when it comes to food, but it's hard to go wrong with desserts. He likes chocolate, and he likes nuts, and that's what this tart is all about. The rum is an added bonus. The end result came out looking fancier than intended, but the flavors are straight-forward. One bite clearly says "Hello, chocolate! Hello, nuts!" and "Hellooooooo, rum!"
I used this recipe by David Lebovitz as a guide, though he uses espresso instead of rum, and a traditional French tart dough. My dad doesn't like coffee, and I had all that dark rum stowed away in my cupboard. If I'd had amaretto on hand, I'd have gone with that--Next time.
Pantry Ingredients to use up: 3-lb bag of pecans (Costco got me), 1L bottle of dark rum, 8 oz. package of gluten-free ginger cookies (stocking stuffer from Christmas--don't worry, they were still good).
I could have made my own crust with alternative flours or more nuts instead of cookies; It would have been equally as simple. But these added a nice touch. I just threw them in the food processor with some toasted pecans, half a teaspoon of sea salt and a couple tablespoons of butter. You could use any cookie imaginable--Amaretti work nicely if you don't mind their overt sweetness. The ginger cookies were also very sweet, so I made the filling intentionally on the bitter side.
Here you can see how I just pressed the crust into 10.5-inch tart pan with my fingers. No need to pre-bake.
The first step in making the filling is caramelizing some sugar in a saucepan. Next you add the liquid (rum, espresso, vanilla, amaretto, etc.) and it bubbles up with excitement. Finally, the butter and dark chocolate are melted, and eggs are added to the mixture.
The tart only needs 20-25 minutes to bake at 350 degrees. I added the raw pecans on top halfway through the baking so they wouldn't burn.
Dark Chocolate Rum Tart with Ginger-Pecan Crust
8 oz. package of gluten-free ginger cookies
1 cup toasted pecans (or nut of choice; hazelnuts, anyone?)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tablespoons cold butter
- Toast the pecans either in the oven or on the stove top.
- Crumble the cookies and give them a whirl in the food processor.
- Add the salt and toasted pecans, pulsing until the pecans are finely chopped.
- Pulse in the butter.
- Press the mixture into a tart pan.
3/4 cup sugar (any kind)
6 tablespoons of dark rum
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
3 oz. butter
a pinch of salt
8 oz. 72% dark chocolate (Trader Joe's Pound Plus) or better quality, chopped
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup good cocoa powder
1 more tablespoon of vanilla extract
About 20 whole, raw pecans
- Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it turns golden.
- Turn off the heat and add the rum and vanilla, stirring.
- Add in the butter immediately afterward, then the chocolate.
- Once the chocolate is melted, fold in the eggs.
- After the eggs are well-incorporated, fold in the cocoa powder and the additional vanilla.
- Pour the mixture into the pre-prepared tart crust.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove it and add whole raw pecans as decoration.
- Bake another 5 to 10 minutes. The center should still be a bit wobbly--It will firm up as at cools.
- Leave the tart at room temperature, otherwise it will get too firm and ruin the silky texture.