Chocolatier Scharffen Berger’s decadent chocolate pecan tart recipe

SF based chocolatier Scharffen Berger's decadent holiday recipes: pecan tart with a chocolate lined buttery crust, filled with caramel, pecans and cacao nibs. Photo: Image: Scharffen Berger

SAN FRANCISCO, December 2, 2013 — With the holiday season comes the season of overindulgence. It is the one time a year many of us treat ourselves with puffy pastries, decadent chocolate and melt-in-your-mouth cakes. A little something that meets all these criteria is Scharffenberger’s chocolate pecan tart. It has a chocolate lined buttery tart crust that is filled with caramel, pecans and cacao nibs, making it a perfectly sweet, rich and dressy dessert.


For the Crust

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • About 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 3 ounces SCHARFFEN BERGER 82% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate, finely chopped

For the Filling

  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream, warmed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 2/3 cups lightly toasted pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs, chopped (optional)
  • Cocoa Whipped Cream (optional, details below)

Cocoa Whipped Cream

Special equipment: 11 inch tart pan with a removable bottom


SEE RELATED RECIPE: Holiday Recipe: Updated recipe for mouth-watering Challah stuffing

Scharffen Berger Roasted Chocolate Nibs. Image: Scharffen Berger



To Make the Crust

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse two or three times to combine. Add the butter and continue pulsing until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water by drizzling about 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each drizzle. Stop once the dough begins to come together.

Transfer the dough to a board and use the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper to press it together. Pat into a disk approximately 6 inches in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to a 13 to 14-inch circle, flouring the dough and board as necessary to keep it from sticking. Roll up the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it into the tart pan. Gently lift the edges to ease the dough into the corners of the pan, then push the dough down gently to be certain the dough around the sides is 1/4 inch thick. Use a paring knife to cut excess dough from the rim of the pan. If necessary, pat a bit of the dough trimmings into any thin spots. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet.

Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, line with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the parchment and weights, and continue to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate evenly over the bottom of the crust and bake for an additional minute, just to melt the chocolate. Remove from the oven and use the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer. Let cool on a rack while you prepare the filling. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.


Scharffen Berger Cacao Powder. Image: Scharffen Berger.


SEE RELATED RECIPE: Holiday Recipe: Truffled mashed potatoes on the cheap and easy


To Make the Filling

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and stir over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, swirling the pan so the caramel colors evenly. If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan, brush with a wet pastry brush. Test the color of the caramel by drizzling a few drops onto a white plate. When the color is medium to dark amber, remove from the heat. Slowly and carefully – it will bubble up – add the cream.

Return the caramel to medium heat and cook for 3 minutes to thicken slightly, reducing the heat to medium-low if the caramel bubbles too much. Remove from the heat and cool for 15 minutes.

Place the tart shell on a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vanilla, egg, and yolk. Slowly whisk into the caramel. Stir in the melted butter, followed by the nuts and nibs, if using. Pour the filling into the prepared tart shell. The filling will come to the top of the shell. (If the crust has shrunk during baking, it may not hold all the filling.)

Bake the tart for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the filling is set.

Let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. While still warm, move the tart in the pan to loosen the edges where the caramel has stuck, but keep it in the pan.

Let cool completely before removing the tart ring.

Serve each wedge of tart with a dollop of the cocoa whipped cream.


Holiday recipes. Image by: Scharffen Berger


To Make the Cocoa Whipped Cream

Place the cream in a chilled metal bowl or mixer bowl. With a whisk, or the whisk attachment, whip the cream until slightly frothy. Combine the sugar with the cocoa powder. Sprinkle into the cream and continue to whip until soft peaks form. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 1 hour.


Find this and tons of other great Scharffenberger recipes on their website for all your entertaining needs. Scharffenberger chocolates also make great gifts for a quick stocking stuffer or you can get their pre-wrapped gift sets for your serious chocolate lovers.

SCHARFFEN BERGER Chocolate Maker was founded in San Francisco in 1997 by chocolate connoisseur Robert Steinberg and winemaker John Scharffenberger. They are one of America’s first artisan chocolate manufacturers to craft the richest, most flavorful chocolate by sourcing the best cacao in the world, blending it in small batches, and gently processing it to maintain the subtle flavors in the beans.

Read more of Sherrie’s work in Wine Country Weekly and at Out And About San Francisco in the Communities section of the Washington Times. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook for even more inside scoop.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Sherrie Perkovich

Sherrie is a perky, music and wine-loving, Northern California local that seeks out and spreads the word about San Francisco experiences as well as unforgettable wine-related travel experiences.  She is CMO of The Grape Hunter USA, where they focus on helping artisan wineries and developing unique wine travel for consumers. Follow her on Twitter @BigNoseWino

Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all.  If it’s happening near SF, Sherrie is in on it.  Follow her columns,  for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco ~ San Jose treats and Wine Country Weekly.  


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