February 13, 2008

Party Like It's 1989

For this week’s Papa Dale Pie Project, I’ve made a pecan tart. It’s a 1989 Martha Stewart recipe, from a calendar. Evidently, back in 1989, I needed calendars to bake. From what I remember, each month of this calendar had a recipe below a photograph of the benignly smiling Martha, baking whatever was the month’s specialty with absolute authority and perfection.

Back in those days, I also made my own curtains (and matching Easter dresses for my girls and bow ties for the boys…they still haven’t forgiven me), roasted a leg of lamb every weekend (with mint that I grew in the garden, of course!), stenciled the garage door, put up a Christmas tree decorated with handmade birds nests (by me, not the birds), and painted the hamster cage with pastoral scenes (he died…from lead poisoning, I suspect). In short – I was out of my ever-loving mind. I spent much of those Martha years, running around making bunny rabbits out of radishes. Boy, was I glad when she went off to prison…I needed a REST.

I much prefer these years of sloth and unrelenting self-indulgence. Ice cream right out of the carton with a spoon! Bisquick! Brownie Mixes!! There’s not a damn homemade placemat in sight! The crystal French sorbet dishes? Martinis!!!! And I didn’t even go to prison!

To her credit, this pecan tart of Martha’s is just the bomb. It’s not as sweet as a traditional pecan pie, and the hint of citrus is just perfect. And, I get to use my beloved rectangle tart pan. I just love that pan. I bought it especially to make this tart back in 1989. I don’t know if it just looks…tidier…or what. If I can cram a pie crust into it, I’ll do it. The servings just look so elegant. Not all pie-y with fruit guts spilling out all over the plate. Nice and neat.

Just like 1989 me and Martha.

Martha Stewart’s Pecan Tart – circa 1989

Makes one rectangular tart (or a plain ol’ pie…but, really…would Martha do that????)

1 unbaked pate brisee (or basic pie crust) tart shell
4 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated rind of 1 lemon or orange
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
About 1 ¼ cups perfect pecan halves (and when Martha says “perfect”, you better get perfect!)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Put the eggs into mixing bowl and beat with a fork. Blend in the sugar, salt, molasses, and corn syrup. Stir in the butter, vanilla, and lemon or orange rind, mixing until thoroughly blended. Add the chopped pecans.
3. Pour the filling mixture into the pastry shell and neatly arrange the pecan halves in rows on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned and the filling is set. Let the tart cool on a rack before cutting and serving.


Jenny said...

I just love your commentary. The whole Martha Stewart talk is hilarious! Did you really make your daughters dresses and boys bowties? That's a talent I was not even close to getting! And curtains too?!!

Well, the tart is totally Martha worthy. It's Beautiful with a capital B! I'll have to find one of your fancy little rectangular tart pans!

Have a great day!

Julie said...

That really looks beautiful, I bet it is delicious.

Catherine Wilkinson said...

Sweet Jenny,
I'm not funny...just crazy.
And yes, that same craziness made those dresses and bowties. I got a sewing machine for Christmas and went on a bender. I thought they were cute, but the boys looked like a told them to wrap snakes around their necks!
I just got back from Mesa, and Papa Dale verdict: not sweet enough. AGRAHRHAHRHA! (I think he says that to keep me on my toes!)

Emiline said...

Ahh, 1989. I remember it well.

He's going to like this pie! It looks great!

The years of sloth sound like more fun to me. I don't think I have the energy to do any of that stuff. I can't sew, either.

Sooo....what did you win this week??

Catherine Wilkinson said...

Nothing! Unless those coupons in the mail count!
He did like it, but thought it wasn't sweet enough. He's old-fashioned and likes desserts to have at least a pound of sugar in them!

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"The Dish" by Catherine Wilkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.