Caramel Pecan Torte
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert | Chocolate Pie | Caramel
Serves: 10 to 12
Pecan Caramel Filling:
  • 2 cups pecan halves or pieces, finely chopped
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sweet Tart Pastry:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 5 tablespoons half-and-half cream or whipping (heavy) cream
Chocolate Glaze and Topping:
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 10 to 12 pecan halves for decoration
Pecan Caramel Filling:
  1. Finely chop the pecans. Set aside.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed pan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently until sugar completely dissolves. Continue to boil until amber in color, 10 to 12 minutes, without stirring, but you can gently swirl the pan occasionally, if necessary, to even out the color. Remove pan from heat and let set about 30 seconds to allow the bubbling to subside. Tip: it is important to use a large pan that holds at least double the volume of the ingredients. Otherwise, when the cream is added to the hot caramel mixture it could boil up and over if the pan is too small.
  3. Meanwhile, while the caramel is cooking, in a small heavy saucepan over medium low heat, heat the cream until it is hot and just beginning to steam. Remove from heat and set aside to keep warm.
  4. Slowly and carefully pour the warmed whipping cream into the hot caramel mixture, whisking with a wire whisk until smooth. Be careful, the mixture will seem to erupt when the cream is added and the caramel will thicken. If necessary, return the pan to the heat; cook over medium heat until the caramel dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, and vanilla; stir until the butter is melted. Stir in the chopped pecans. Set aside to cool while preparing the pastry.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Sweet Tart Pastry:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk and cream. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until the dough comes together and can be formed into a ball. Tip: If the dough seems too dry and is not forming into a ball, add another tablespoon of cream. Divide the pastry into 2 portions, a larger portion with two-thirds of the pastry and a smaller portion with one-third of the pastry.
  3. On a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board, and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the larger two-thirds portion of pastry to form a circle about 12 inches, and fit into a 9 or 9½ inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press pastry gently against the sides of the tart pan. You should have about a 1 inch overhang; trim excess pastry to 1 inch. Place on a baking sheet.
  4. Place tart pan on a baking sheet. Spoon the pecan filling into the pastry.
  5. Roll the smaller one-third portion of pastry to form a 9 inch circle; place on top of the pecan filling. Gently fold the 1 inch overhang over the top pastry and press gently to seal the edge.
  6. Bake: Leaving the pan on the baking sheet to catch any drips, bake 40 minutes or until the pastry turns a light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
  7. Remove the outer metal ring of the tart pan; place the tart pan on top of a large can so that the bottom balances on top of the can and the rim falls to the counter. Slide a thin metal spatula or knife between the bottom crust and the tart pan bottom to release, and then flip the torte upside down onto a serving plate. Tip: You can leave the torte right-side up, however the top has a rough texture where the pastry edge was pressed together. Turning the torte upside down provides a smooth surface for the glaze.
Chocolate Glaze and Topping:
  1. In top of a double boiler over hot water, combine chocolate, corn syrup, and butter. Heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly, stirring occasionally as it cools. The glaze thickens as it cools; the glaze should be like a soft icing, but thin enough to spread easily. Tip: Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer. Place a stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl on top of the simmering water, the upper pan should not touch the water.
  2. When the glaze is the right consistency, spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons into a small plastic freezer bag. Put a little piece of tape on corner to reinforce the tip, and then roll over top of bag to keep neater. (You could also use a plastic squeeze bottle with a tip available in decorating stores), Twist the top of the bag to create some pressure to make easier to squeeze out. Cut a tiny corner off the tip of the bag when ready to use.
  3. Using an offset spatula and using remaining glaze, cover the sides of the torte with glaze and then cover the top of the torte, spreading the glaze on top as smooth as possible.
  4. Arrange the pecan halves around the top, gently pressing each pecan into the glaze. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes to allow the glaze to slightly set.
  5. Pipe the reserved glaze in plastic bag over the torte is straight lines. Let the glaze set for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.
Source: The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Desserts, Hearst Corporation, New York, 1991Yard, Sherry, The Secrets of Baking, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 2003
Recipe Notes
Pan: One 9" Tart with Removable Bottom Pan Prep: Ungreased Pastry: Sweet Tart Pastry Prep: Unbaked Oven Temp: 400° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

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