Molasses Pecan Pie Tart
With Spiced Wafer Cookie & Toasted Pecan Crust and served with Maple Cinnamon Whipped Cream
In order to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I made a spin on one of his favorite foods, pecan pie. Throughout his outstanding life, MLK provided us food for thought that has transcended decades and became one of the country's leading activists on speaking out about hunger, poverty, and food injustice. In 1965, his address at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March in Alabama rang through the crowd with these resounding words:
"Let us march on poverty (Let us march) until no American parent has to skip a meal so that their children may eat. (Yes, sir) March on poverty (Let us march) until no starved man walks the streets of our cities and towns (Yes, sir) in search of jobs that do not exist. (Yes, sir) Let us march on poverty (Let us march) until wrinkled stomachs in Mississippi are filled, (That's right) and the idle industries of Appalachia are realized and revitalized, and broken lives in sweltering ghettos are mended and remolded."
So as we enjoy this tart, let us not forget what Martin Luther King Jr. fought for tirelessly throughout his life. He never stopped believing that "the time is always right to do what is right" and that is how we should strive to live every day.
TART FILLING: ½ cup Grandma's Original Unsulphured Molasses
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp black lava sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp clove
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup pecan halves
CRUST: 20 Sweetzels Spiced Wafers, chopped
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup pecans, toasted & chopped
WHIPPED CREAM: 1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a food processor, manually pulse about 4 or 5 cookies at time until small crumbs form. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and repeat to the remaining cookies. Set aside.
Heat a medium nonstick frying pan over medium heat and add the pecans. Spread the nuts evenly in the pan and allow them to sit for 10 to 15 seconds, then stir again. Keep stirring every 10 to 15 seconds for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the nuts become fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn on any hotspots! Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of the food processor. Allow to cool completely.
Once the pecans are cool, manually pulse them until they are finely chopped. Transfer to the bowl with the cookie crumbs. Add the melted butter and stir to combine, making sure all of the cookie crumbs are moistened.
Evenly press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Place in the refrigerator to allow the crust to firm up.
In a medium saucepan, combine the molasses, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and salt. Bring to a simmer on medium heat. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. The mixture will thicken as it cools.
Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and place on the baking sheet.
Add the eggs and vanilla into the molasses mixture and mix until well combined. Stir in the chopped pecans. Slowly and evenly pour the mixture into the tart crust. Use a small spatula to evenly disperse the nuts.
With the pecan halves, create a pattern of concentric circles on the top of the tart.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Be careful to watch that the pecans on top do not burn.
Remove the tart from the baking sheet and allow to cool in the tart pan on a wire cooling rack.
Place the metal bowl and whisk attachment of a standing mixer in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
Remove the bowl and whisk from the freezer. Add the cream to the chilled bowl and mix on high speed for 2 minutes, or until thickened. Add the maple syrup and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 1 minute. Lastly, add the cinnamon and beat until well combined, about 30 seconds.