I think it's time to admit a simple truth to myself. I'm just not that into pecan pie. Either that, or I keep picking the wrong recipes. Sigh.
Okay, I went the lazy route. I chose a recipe in which you don't even need to dirty a bowl. Come on! Wouldn't you have done the same? Plus it had apple cider and brandy in it, two things that always make my ears perk up.
It looked quite pretty and the people eating it were polite enough - no leftovers, you know - but I couldn't help but find it too squishy, too sweet and altogether rather insipid. You know something isn't right when you'd rather just eat a plate of whipped cream. Mmmm.
Cider Pecan Tart
2 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
4 tablespoons soft butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Calvados, bourbon or brandy
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Pastry for 8- or 9-inch tart or pie
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, lightly toasted
1 cup heavy cream, whipped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the cider in a saucepan and cook over high heat until reduced to 1 cup. Remove from heat and stir in butter and brown sugar until dissolved. Then stir in spirits, vanilla, nutmeg and eggs.
2. Roll out pastry and line straight-sided tart pan with it. Pie pan can be used, too. Spread pecans over pastry.
3. Pour in cider mixture. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until surface is fairly firm and pastry is golden. Allow to cool to room temperature. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.