Tarts and Trees.

As if my Autumn themed dinner party marked some sort of turning point in the season, all the leaves have fallen from the trees and the weather is growing even cooler.

The trees are beginning to resemble those spindly claw-like hands grasping urgently for what could only be small children to snack on. Nature has become a skeleton of it's former self. Reminds me of those apple trees in the Wizard of Oz that attacked Dorothy. Trees with attitude.

Before I start quoting the scene word for word then cackle shrilly like the Wicked With of the West let's move on.

As promised, here is one of my recipes used in my recent Autumn Dinner Party. I know you're hungry for more so I will post the dinner and appetizer recipes soon! For now I thought we'd start with dessert and work our way backwards.

We all know dessert is the best part right? Right! Brown Butter Tarts with Toasted Pecan Crust Makes 5 individual desserts.

Source: Adapted from my family recipe.

3/4 cup flour 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and medium ground 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 tsp salt 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold 1 egg yolk

1/2 cup unsalted butter 2 eggs 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup maple syrup 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Note: This recipe could be used for individual small tarts or one large 9 inch tart but the below instructions are for the individual tarts. Printer-Friendly Version

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and position a rack in the center. Butter the bottom and sides of your tart forms then set them aside on a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, ground pecans, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the egg yolk then press the crust firmly and evenly into the prepared tart forms.

Bake the shells for about 5 – 10 minutes until they're light brown. While that's going in a medium sauce pan add the butter then cook it on medium heat for about 6 – 8 minutes until the foam subsides, the butter turns amber brown and you smell that delicious caramel scent. Remove it from the heat allow it to cool.

When the tart shells are done turn the oven down to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl mix together the brown butter, eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla then pour it into the tart shells.

Bake the tarts for another 10 minutes until the bubbling slows and the filling is set. Allow it to cool completely on a cooling rack until you take them out of the forms and serve it. Enjoy!

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