Turtle Tart

Serves 12 to 14
Adapted from Bon Appetit 

For the Crust:
9 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
pinch of salt

For the Layers:
4 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
6 ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast pecans until fragrant and deep golden colored. Set aside to cool.

In a food processor, blend graham crackers and sugar until they are in fine crumbs. Add the softened butter and process until it resembles wet sand. Lovely image, huh?

Press the mixture firmly into the bottoms and sides of a tart pan with a removable bottom. We used a 9-inch square pan, but a 9-inch round tart pan is fine as well. Bake the crust in the oven until golden and firm, about 7-10 minutes. Cool completely.

Put the bittersweet chocolate pieces into a glass bowl. Slowly microwave the chocolate, stirring in 15 second increments until smooth. Just a note, whenever a recipe calls for a double-boiler to melt chocolate, we always use the microwave. Just go slowly and stir. The residual heat from the chocolate melts any clumps you might see so be careful and learn what it looks like when the chocolate is melted. It can easily go from perfect to burnt.  Anyhoo...once melted, spread the bittersweet chocolate over the bottom of the crust. Arrange 1 1/2 cups of the pecan pieces in a single layer over the chocolate. Allow to cool completely.

Mix together 3/4 cups of the whipping cream, vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Mix 1/4 water and 1 cup of sugar in a heavy saucepan with high sides. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is mostly dissolved.  Then, increase the heat to medium-high and, without stirring, boil the sugar until the syrup is a medium-dark amber color. This takes almost exactly 6 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Quickly stir in the 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter and the cream mixture into the sugar syrup (now caramel). Be careful, the syrup will boil up violently. Stir vigorously back on a low-heat until the caramel is smooth. This will take about 1 minute.

Pour the caramel over the pecan layer of the tart. Chill the tart, until set, about 45 minutes.

Place the milk chocolate (you could also use dark chocolate instead if you fancied) and the cream in a glass bowl. Using the microwave method, melt the chocolate until smooth. Pour the milk chocolate over the cooled caramel layer and then sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of pecans. 

Chill at least 8 hours and up to 1 day before serving. Delish!

PS- You could easily replace the graham cracker crust with the sweet tart dough from our Fruit n' Nut bars, if you happened to double the dough recipe like we did.

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