Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Tart

We’re combining two of the most sacred national holidays Pecan Torte Day and Chocolate Pecan Pie Day into one, with a little booze. And in preparation for the upcoming 5th Annual San Francisco Craft Spirits Carnival, where we’ll be serving up these spirited treats, we’re returning to Jason’s springtime adventure in mass-produced “Bulleit Bites” (bourbon pecan mini-pies) with these boozy beauties. Bulleit Bourbon inspires this chocolate and whiskey-spiked variation of a Southern favorite, pecan pie.

In keeping with the whiskey mash, the pastry includes a mix of corn, rye, and barley flours, as well as a little all-purpose flour. A little adjustment was needed to create the larger pictured here instead of the small bite-sized ones we’ll be making for the carnival crowd.

The crust gets pre-baked with pie weights to insure it is flakey and fully baked. The raw pecans and chocolate are then added with just a little coating of the bourbon caramel. More caramel is added every five minutes of baking to assure that not only are these the most alcoholic pecan pies you’ll ever taste, but that the nuts and chocolate mix together to create a chewy and crunchy concoction.

The squeeze bottle in the pictures was unnecessary for the two tarts. The bourbon, brown sugar, and salt can easily be mixed in a small bowl. The resulting flavors are more complex and nutty. And adding the caramel base in drizzles throughout the baking process ensures the final tart isn’t a parched, dried out mess.

If you think the recipe is intimidating or if you just prefer to eat these tarts instead of baking them yourselves, you’re in luck. In the next couple of months we’ll be fine tuning our next culinary venture, Cheeky Bakery (website is currently under construction) right out of our small one-assed kitchen. We’ll be taking orders for these bites and a few other baked items, so stay tuned!

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Chocolate Pecan Bulleit Tarts
Makes two small tarts with a little extra dough

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons corn flour
1/2 tablespoon rye flour
1/2 tablespoon barley flour
3/4 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, grated and frozen
1/2 teaspoon bourbon whiskey
1/4 teaspooon vanilla
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed

Mix flours, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add grated frozen butter to the bowl along with the flours and sprinkle bourbon and vanilla over the top. Using one hand and a plastic scraper, mix flour, butter, and water until the dough comes together when squeezing it into a fist. The dough should not be wet.

Place the dough on a sheet of plastic and shape it into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before continuing. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while chilling the disc. Cut the disc in half and roll out the disc until it’s 1/8-1/4″ thick. Place the rolled dough over the tart shell and press the dough into the shell, pressing it into the corners and trimming off the top of the dough to make it look uniformed. Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork and place some crumpled parchment paper over the top of the shell, then add pie weights (or beans) to the shell. Freeze for ten minutes before baking.

Take the shell out of the freezer and place it into the oven with the pie weights still covering the bottom. Bake for 7 minutes, then take off the pie weights and bake for another 3 minutes. Remove the crusts from the oven.

Chocolate Pecan Filling
1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
1.75 ounces good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup Bulleit Bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
pinch of kosher salt

Combine pecan and chocolate in medium bowl, set aside. Combine the brown sugar, bourbon, heavy cream, and salt into a small bowl, whisk until there are no lumps.

Add two tablespoons of the caramel to the chocolate and pecans, and mix. Divide the chocolate and pecans into the prebaked shells. Place the shells back in the oven and bake for five minutes. Remove the pies from the oven and drizzle one tablespoon of the caramel over each tart. Place back in the oven and bake another five minutes. Continue adding the caramel every five minutes during baking until all the caramel is in the tarts.

Once completely baked, remove from the oven and allow to rest in the tart pan for at least 15 minutes before removing. Allow to cool completely, about an hour, before serving.

Frankly Speaking!

Sauteed onions and peppers on a Let's Be Frank dog.

Hot dogs! Love ‘em or hate ‘em, everyone has an experience with this ubiquitous and oh, so traditional American food. Whether you call them red hots or white hots, franks, wieners or dogs, your favorite bun filler is a smooth, savory and sometimes snappy sausage with a long and storied history. How do you prepare your hot dogs? Do you grill them, pan fry them or boil them? What’s your favorite brand? Sabrett, Vienne Beef, Hebrew National or the classic Oscar Mayer? And what to put on them? Is ketchup OK or a big no-no? How about sauerkraut and onions … or pickles? Whatever your brand, however you cook them and whatever tops them, with the 4th of July holiday behind us, the hot dog days of summer are in full swing.

Chopped tomatoes, onions, and pickles on a dog.

Now, this blog is about our food choices and when it comes to hot dogs, we’ve changed things up a bit in recent years. While most major national brand hot dogs are made from real, recognizable cuts of meat (the horror stories of pieces parts in hot dogs are mostly fiction), they do contain preservatives and curing agents that aren’t all that good for us in large quantities. We’ve stopped buying wieners that contain nitrates and nitrites. It’s a personal choice and we’ve made it knowing that the jury is still out on the safety of these additives.

Just as important, we’ve come to a point in our meat consumption where we are not only concerned about our health but that of the animals that become our food. So, we tend to buy grass fed beef dogs that contain no preservatives. It leaves us with fewer, but arguably better, choices. The beef dogs we recently purchased from Let’s Be Frank are monstrously long and perfectly delicious! The fat beef franks sold by Prather Ranch are amazing and Steve has to practically chain himself to his desk to keep him from wandering over to the Ferry Building for a regular hot dog “snack” break. Of course, when visiting Chicago, we’re likely to fudge a little on the additives issue because those Vienna Beef dogs are just too hard to resist. At home, however, we’re committed to buying and consuming the healthiest dogs we can find.

If you like your hotdogs big, Let's be Frank is sure to please!

Look, everyone has some sense of hot dog culture, but if you’d like to know more about the history of the hot dog and the regional differences that make each of our experiences unique, check out Bruce Kraig’s book Hot Dog: A Global History. It’s a little academic, but it covers all the bases and hell, who wouldn’t like to have a little hot dog trivia in their back pocket for the next neighborhood cookout?