This is the week that most of us will be courting our sweetheart with flowers, chocolate, or a lavish dinner. If you haven’t remembered that holiday here’s a quick easy tart to help you get back in the good books. This tart contains a little bit of Newfoundland dark rum for flavour.
Newfoundlanders have been drinking rum as long as they have been trading with the British. They traded with Jamaica and other islands for sugar, molasses, and rum. I did a post about the history of molasses and the sugar trade, and you can read about it here.
Long before any Canadian liquor board was created, the Jamaican rum that was eventually to be known as Screech was a mainstay of the traditional Newfoundland diet. At this time, salt fish was being shipped to the West Indies in exchange for rum. This resulted in fish becoming the national dish for Jamaicans and rum becoming the traditional drink for Newfoundlanders.
Not being overly concerned with alcohol content, the early fishermen tended to drink the rum at incredibly high strength with no attempt made to temper the taste. When the government took control of the alcohol trade in the early 20th century they put the rum in a sophisticated, unlabeled bottle and fortunately did not alter the rum itself.
This delightful product may have continued indefinitely as a nameless rum except for the influx of American servicemen to Newfoundland during World War II. As the story goes, a visiting American WWII serviceman downed the rum in one quick toss. His howls of distress caused a bystander to rush to his aid, roaring “What the cripes was that ungodly screech?” The taciturn Newf simply replied, “The screech?” ‘Tis the rum, me son.” As word of the incident spread more soldiers began trying this mysterious rum, adopting it as their favorite. Thus a legend was born.
This dessert contains a little bit of the drink, but not enough to make you howl in distress. It’s quick to make, and looks grand on the plate; like you spent hours.
You’ll first need a pre-made frozen pie pastry from the store. Get the kind which is rolled into a tube, instead of the one that comes with a foil pan. You won’t need the pan and the rolled pastry is easier to manipulate. Place the thawed pastry into a 9″ tart pan. Get the pan which has a removable bottom. It will make removing the tart so much easier after it’s baked. Press the pastry to the sides of the greased pan and trim off any excess over the edge of the pan. Place the pan on a lined cookie sheet and set that aside.
Preheat your oven to 350F. In a large bowl whip your eggs, brown sugar, and melted butter. The sugar shouldn’t have any lumps. If they do, crush them down with your whisk. Add the clear syrup and rum. Whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into the tart pan. Place the pecan halves into the slurry in any design you like. You can leave a little space between the nuts so you can see the batter in between. Carefully carry your tart pan to the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes. Check the tart after 45 minutes to see if the pecans are getting too brown. If so, cover with foil and continue baking.
Remove tart from the oven. The filling should be a bit wobbly but it will set once it cools. While still warm sprinkle the tart with a couple more tablespoons of Screech. Let cool on a wire rack before removing it from the pan. Serve with a nice whipped cream or your favourite ice cream.
Pecan Tart with Screech Dark Rum
- 1 frozen pastry shell big enough for a 9" pie
- 2 eggs large
- 2/3 cups brown sugar
- 4 tbsp butter melted
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup This is the clear kind
- 1 tsp Screech Dark rum plus extra for sprinkling after
- 1/3 pound pecan halves you may need more if they are broken
Take pastry out of the freezer to thaw about 30 minutes before you make the dessert. Preheat oven to 350F.
Press the thawed pastry into a greased 9" tart pan. This pan should have removable bottom. Press the pastry up the sides of the pan evenly and remove any excess. Place the tart pan on a lined cookie sheet. This will make transferring it to the oven easier and catch any spills.
In a large bowl whip the eggs, brown sugar, and melted butter. Add the corn syrup and rum. Transfer the mixture to the tart pan. Add the pecans in a nice pattern in the filling. Place in the middle rack in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes. Check after 45 minutes and cover the tart with foil if the pecans are too dark.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 tbsp. of rum and then let cool. Carefully remove the tart from the pan and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
You may use any dark or spiced rum if you don't have Screech. I was not endorsed or compensated by the makers of Screech for this post.