A few years ago I landed in Austin for after the single most frightening flight of my life. The flight was so turbulent that I called my parents between connecting flights to tell them I loved them (I was terrified the next flight wasn’t going to land safely), but thankfully we made it to Texas in one piece and was there to meet me. We were speaking on a panel together and she kindly offered to host me and, after seeing me so visibly shaken, took care of me like I was family. I remember feeling like I had stepped into a beautiful (but real) magazine when we arrived at her house. She and her husband have a truly stunning home that is focused on entertaining and welcoming guests and loved ones. From the moment I walked through the doors until the moment I left, I felt at home. For me, that’s the true spirit of being a host, so it was only fitting that Camille set out to write a a beautiful entertaining book.
Camille’s new book, , came out this week and it embodies everything I remember from my stay in Texas: her love of great but un-fussy food, colorful handmade decorations and details that make you feel like someone really cared when they planned your meal. I got my copy last week and have been bookmarking pages left and right, from delicious party drinks and flower ideas to easy group dinners that make hosting for the holidays seem less stressful. It’s quite simply a must-have for anyone who wants to spend more time entertaining and welcoming people, comfortably and with style, into their homes. Camille was kind enough to share a recipe from the book with us today, Maple Pecan Tart, inspired by her Mom’s classic recipe. If you need something delicious to bring to Thanksgiving this year, this is a fantastic alternative to pumpkin pie. xo, grace
Click through for the full how-to after the jump!
MAPLE PECAN TART
Of all the dishes that find their way onto the Thanksgiving table year after year, my mom’s pecan tart is the one that we all insist can never be varied. Its heavy dose of maple syrup tastes like pure autumn, and the minimal number of ingredients make it straightforwardly, simply great. In case you’re wondering, I think it’s totally fine to use a high-quality store-bought piecrust. Maybe it’s because I’m more a fan of fillings than crust, but I like the consistency of knowing exactly what I’m going to get from a boxed piecrust . . . and for me at least, homemade pastry can be a challenge! –Camille
-Store-bought or homemade pie pastry to fill a 9-inch tart pan
-1¾ cups lightly toasted coarsely chopped pecans (see page 47)
-3 large eggs
-1 cup pure maple syrup
-2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter, melted
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-¼ teaspoon salt
-Pecan halves, for garnish (about 40)
-Lightly sweetened whipped cream (optional)
1. Place an oven rack at the lowest position and set a baking sheet on the rack. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into an 11-inch circle. Carefully transfer the pastry to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the top edge of the pan to remove the excess and then use the remaining dough to make a leaf cutout for the top of the tart (see note below for instructions).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the chopped pecans, maple syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt. Whisk to combine and then pour into the pastry shell. Line the edge of the tart with slightly overlapping pecan halves, if desired.
3. Place the tart pan on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the filling is set and the pastry is lightly browned. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the rim of the pan and place the tart, still on the pan bottom, on a serving platter.
Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
To make the decorative leaf cutout: Roll out the extra dough on a lightly floured surface. Use a cookie cutter, or better yet, find a pretty leaf outside and use it as a template. Lay the template on the dough and cut out the shape with the tip of a sharp knife and then place the cutout on a piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with sugar and bake alongside the tart until light golden brown (remove from the oven after about 20 minutes, or when it’s golden brown). Place on top of the baked tart, and watch your guests fight over who gets to eat it!