Pecan Tart with Port Brewing’s Older Viscosity

29 October 2011 by bri

I love pecan pie with a hit of bourbon in the filling, so why not tweak the recipe to instead include a nice dose of a delicious bourbon barrel-aged beer? Additionally, I classed the recipe up and made it a tart. This results in a better filling to crust ratio, in my opinion.

I wish I could fully describe to you the amazing smell that fills the house while this tart is baking. Bourbon + butter + pecans + malt = one of the most delicious aromas in the world. Make this tart, it will blow your socks off.

The beer:

Port Brewing’s Older Viscosity

Style: Bourbon barrel-aged American dark strong ale (that’s what Port calls it – BeerAdvocate calls it an American imperial stout)

Tasting notes: Bourbon-forward with a deliciously rich malty but dry finish. I get a bit of roasty chocolate malt flavor in the aftertaste, and the smooth taste of oak lingers.


Other beers that would be appropriate:

Full Sail Black Gold: A beer worthy of this sweet and sticky tart.
Allagash Curieux: This is a bourbon barrel-aged tripel, so it’s got that delicious fruity Belgian something-something going on. I love Curieux, and it would add a whole new dimension to this tart. If you’re able to spare a quarter cup, I would definitely say to go for it. And leave out the blackstrap molasses if you use this beer. You’ll want to let those fruity flavors shine as much as possible.
Deschutes Abyss: Seriously fine beer. Russian imperial stout, partially aged in bourbon barrels. As long as you’re not using one of the soured (but good, in my opinion) bottles of ’09 it should make this tart amazing.
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout: Yes. Do it. This one is easy to find and I love it.
Fremont Bourbon Abominable (affectionately known as “B-Bomb”): If you manage to get a bottle of this you won’t be sorry. This was my favorite winter beer last year, and it’s guaranteed to be again this year. It will make a bomb-a-licious pecan tart.

The pastry recipes:

We’re going to start with a quick lesson on pâte brisée. It’s a super delicious all-butter flaky pie dough. It’s really simple, just takes a bit of technique. The method of breaking the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands might make you question me if you’re worried about keeping the butter cold, but I urge you to try it. I learned this brisée method in pastry school, and I swear it works. Just work quickly, and resist the urge to overwork it. It works just as well or better than using a mixer or food processor, and you dirty less dishes. In fact, this recipe only dirties four dishes (a bowl, measuring cup, a fork, and a bench scraper), not counting measuring devices for the dry ingredients.

Pâte Brisée

1½ C (9 oz) pastry flour
1 T (0.5 oz) granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 stick + 1 T (4.5 oz) butter
1 egg
¼ C whole milk


Note: Yes, use pastry flour. I know it can be hard to find, but it is very very important to this recipe. I get mine in the bulk section at Whole Foods. Avoid whole grain pastry flour.

1. Mix your dry ingredients (pastry flour, sugar, and salt) in a bowl. Chop your butter into ½-inch cubes with a bench scraper and scatter it on top of the dry ingredients in the bowl.

2. Use your fingertips to “break” the butter into the flour. This is the traditional method for brisée pastry. I find I’m more squishing the butter into the flour quickly. Almost like a fraiser, but between your fingers.

Here it is at the beginning and after about 20 seconds:

And then after about 90 seconds, it’s ready. See how the texture is mostly like cornmeal? When you squeeze a bit, it should hold together. There are still a few big chunks, but that’s ok. I like having the irregular flaky pockets in my pie crust.

3. Dump this mixture on to your pastry board or work surface. Make sure you have a pretty big area around it. Create a well in the center like so:

4. Mix 1/4 cup of milk and an egg together with a fork. Pour about 80% of this into the well (you might not need the rest, we’ll see what the dough looks like).

5. Use a bench scraper to fold up the dry mixture from the sides. The egg/milk mixture might start to flow. This is why you left all that space around your well. Catch it with the bench scraper and fold it back into the mixture. Keep doing these folding motions with the bench scraper until the dough becomes a shaggy mass that is just starting to come together. You don’t want it to be sticky, but you don’t want it to be too dry either. Add more of the liquid if it is too dry.

6. Resist the urge to actually make it into a dough. Here is mine when it is done:

7. Pack it up into some plastic wrap and press it flat. Store it in the fridge for at least 2 or 3 hours.

It looks very irregular. See that bit of egg? Bits of flour? That’s fine. It will hydrate while it rests, and then it will come together when it gets rolled out.

When it’s chilled, roll out and press into a tart mold (I’m using this fancy one). I give it a little bit of a ridge on top, since it will sink down just a little bit during baking. I like to let this sit in the freezer overnight so it can rest. This will allow the gluten to relax and keep it from shrinking too much during baking.

Pecan Tart Filling with Port Older Viscosity

3 eggs
¾ C (4.5 oz) brown sugar
3 T light corn syrup
1 ½ tsp blackstrap molasses
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
¼ C + 2 T Port Brewing Older Viscosity
3 T melted butter
1 C pecan halves and pieces

Note: If you can’t find a bourbon barrel-aged beer around the solution is clear: grab your favorite porter or stout and replace 2 T of it with bourbon in this recipe!

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Mix everything together in a bowl with a whisk except the pecan pieces.

2. Blind bake your tart shell with pie weights or beans for 10 minutes. Remove the weights, use a fork to prick some holes, and continue to blind bake until it is lightly golden brown, about 10 to 15 more minutes.

3. When the shell has cooled, put about 1 cup of pecan pieces in the bottom and pour the filling over top until it very nearly reaches the top of the shell (I didn’t use all of mine). I then arranged pecan halves over the top in a decorative fashion.

4. Bake until the filling is set and starting to puff, about 20 minutes. Cool and serve at room temperature.

I whipped up some cream with a little powdered sugar and some Older Viscosity to garnish slices, along with some little chocolate decorations.

I’m tossing around a whole list of ideas for my next project right now. I’m thinking of either going with a poached pear tart (pears poached in Boon Geuze) or an apple cake made with Pike Auld Acquaintance with an Auld Acquaintance caramel sauce.


  1. Adriana says:

    You should do the one with pears. Chris and I have been getting stuff from a CSA and they have been overloading us with pears. I’m actually not a huge fan of pears so Chris isn’t able to eat all of them. We now have more than we know what to do with. We can totally supply you the pears! I would like to try it, I might like pears in stuff instead of just plain and by themselves!

    • bri says:

      Awesome. I will definitely do that one. At school I tested a tart with pears poached in the Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic and it was delicious, so this one should be as well. Just a warning, though, since you don’t like sour beers. Boon Geueze is a sour. You might like the acidity from it in a dessert instead of in a beer – balanced by a lot more sweetness that way.

      • Adriana says:

        Awesome, I’m sure it will be good with some sugar mixed in. Plus I’m sure Chris will love it. Let me know when we can get together so I can give you the pears!

  2. jen says:

    I now love pecan pie with a bit delicious bourbon barrel-aged beer in the filling. Thanks for posting the recipe! I can’t wait to see what you do with the pears.

  3. Nick says:

    I’m definitely linking to this however I have to disagree on one point. Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout is not easy to find. If it is for you please send me a 4/pk ASAP!

    • bri says:

      Touche, sir! I guess I should have said that it is more widely available than other bourbon barrel-aged beers. Goose Island’s distribution has widened since they became part of that “large beer partnership thing.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>