End the year on a sweet and elegant note
It’s time to say goodbye to 2020 and embrace the fresh start of a new year.
This torte is elegant, understated and, best of all, easy to make in advance of celebrations. A cross between pecan pie, sticky toffee pudding and a butterscotch sundae, this nutty, but not-too-sweet dessert pairs well with Champagne.
Toasted Pecan Torte
11⁄4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
11⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
41⁄2 cups pecan halves
21⁄4 teaspoons baking powder
13⁄4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 tablespoons rum, divided
1⁄2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
11⁄2 cup heavy cream, divided
Place rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Toast pecans for 12-15 minutes on a sheet pan in the oven. Let cool.
Pulse baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 11⁄2 cups flour and 21⁄2 cups pecans in a food processor until nuts are finely ground.
Using an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat sugar, zest and 1 cup softened butter in large bowl, scraping down the sides occasionally, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs to the bowl, beat until combined and even fluffier, about 1 minute more. Beat in 3 tablespoons rum.
Stop mixer and add dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until combined, then fold a few times with a rubber spatula, scraping bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure the batter is evenly mixed. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
Bake torte until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, bring brown sugar, 1⁄2 cup cream, remaining 1⁄4 cup butter and 1 tablespoon rum to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, cooking until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 3⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Mix in remaining 2 cups of pecans and let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until butterscotch is cool but still pourable.
Spread topping over torte.
Whisk remaining 1 cup of cream in a large bowl to medium peaks. Serve torte topped with dollop of whip cream.
Do ahead: Topping without pecans can be made up to 3 days ahead, cover and chill. Reheat over low before mixing nuts. Torte can be made a day ahead; store, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.