I am not afraid to tell you I have a love affair with pecans. Hailing from northern Mexico, it is impossible not to love the delicious buttery nuts. Growing up in a ranch in Monterrey, I remember we had huge pecan trees in the yard. We all looked forward to harvest time, when the nuts would fall from the trees. As kids it was exciting to collect bags of them and then sit around the table shelling them so our Nana would bake us a pie.
Pecans are the only nut native to North America and they have been a food source for natives for hundreds of years, both in Mexico and the US. In Monterrey, there are countless local candies and pastries made using pecans, and often cajeta, that delicious milk concoction prepared using slowly simmered goat's milk and sugar until the mixture is a delicious and gooey caramel spread.
That is my inspiration for this tart. An easy dough made in the food processor is enhanced with even more nutty goodness in the form of ground pecans then baked until golden.
The flaky crust is then filled with a mixture of cajeta and toasted chopped pecans. To make things even more delicious, top that with toasted coconut. (Please use unsweetened coconut, as the cajeta is already plenty sweet on its own.)
If you make this recipe, you will have an impressive dessert that is very easy to make, but is beautiful and delicious to serve your guests. Add some berries for an acidic contrast to the sweet tart and you will have a match made in heaven. In fact, making this tart is reason enough to invite some friends over for dessert and coffee!