With its rich shortcrust base and voluptuous, sweet filling, pecan pie must be the ultimate in decadence.
Shortcrust Pastry (makes 1 tart case)
225g gluten free plain flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
60g sunflower seed dairy free spread / margarine
2tbsp caster sugar (if sweet pastry is required)
1. Sift the flour and xanthan gum into the bowl of a food processor, add the margarine and vegetable shortening and pulse until the mixture is of breadcrumb-like consistency. Alternatively, place the ingredients in large bowl and rub together with your fingerprints.
2. Tip in 2-3 tablespoons of cold water, a spoonful at a time and pulsing the mixture begins to form a dough. If you are making sweet shortcrust pastry, add the caster sugar and pulse (or stir) for another minute before moving onto the new step.
3. Turn the pastry into a large bowl (or keep in the same bowl, if making it by hand) and, using your fingertips, pull together into a ball of dough.
4. Knead gently for about 2 minutes or until smooth and elastic to the touch. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and set aside or put in the fridge while you make the filling for the tart. (If you're making the pastry in advance, you can leave the pastry in the fridge for up to a week, removing it from the fridge and letting it come up to room temperature before rolling it out. It doesn't otherwise need to be chilled before using.)
5. Place the pastry between two large sheets of clingfilm (this makes rolling out gluten-free pastry so much easier) and roll it out onto a circle slightly smaller than the tart tin and no thinner than 3mm. Peel off the uppermost sheet of clingfilm and carefully lay the pastry in the tin, gently pressing it into the sides. Fill any cracks or gaps with extra pastry, patted flat with your fingertips, and trim the edges. You are now ready to fill your tart case and bake in the oven.
1 quantity of sweet shortcut pastry (see Note) with 1 tsp of cinnamon in step 1
190g soft dark brown sugar
125ml maple syrup
30g sunflower spread (or butter for those without dairy intolerance)
200g shelled pecan nuts
6tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
First make the filling. Place the sugar in a saucepan with the maple syrup and margarine (or butter) and bring to the boil. Boil the mixture for 1 minute, stirring constantly then remove from the heat and set aside to cool down for 15 minutes - but not much longer or the syrup will set.
Meanwhile, roughly chop the pecan nuts and, in a separate bowl, mix together the flaxseeds and baking powder with 9 tablespoons of water to form a thick paste. The mixture will get thicker and thicker the longer you leave it, but don't worry as this is meant to happen.
Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF / Gas mark 4 and place on a baking sheet into the oven to preheat.
Roll out the cinnamon pastry and fill the tart tin following the instructions given in the Shortcust Pastry recipe on page 223. (see Note).
Next stir the flaxseed mixture into the cooled syrup with the vanilla extract and salt, mixing together until smooth, then stir in the chopped pecans. Pour the filling into the tart case, levelling the surface with the back of your spoon, and bake in the oven on the preheated baking sheet for 35-40 minutes or until the filling has just set and is still a tiny bit wobbly in the middle. Leave the pie in its tin on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving with a spoonful of cream or icecream