By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

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Chocolate-Pecan Tarts

Almost no dessert is as easy to prepare as pecan pie, especially with the help of prepared pie crusts. Despite its ease, pecan pie is definitely a decadent treat, and the decadence can be taken over the top if you add good chocolate to the recipe.

Having a couple of tart pans with removable bottoms allows you to prepare beautiful desserts in a flash, and my recipe for Chocolate-Pecan Tarts makes two luscious confections, or enough dessert for 12 to 16.

Since chocolate plays a starring role here, be sure and use high-quality chocolate. Scharffen Berger or Valrhona are two of my favorite gourmet-store brands and Lindt and Ghiradelli chocolate are among the best found in the supermarket candy aisle.

For added richness, I like to toast the pecans. The microwave is my nut-toaster of choice, and I simply spread the pecans on a plate and microwave for one minute, stir and continue to microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the pecans are lightly toasted and fragrant.

  • 1 package prepared pie crust dough
  • 3.5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups toasted pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9.5-inch tart pans with removable bottoms with the pie crust dough, trimming each even with the top of the tart pan. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan on a Viking gas range or rangetop on the simmer setting or in a water bath over simmering water. Stir occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

Combine the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk together until smooth. Whisk in the chocolate-butter mixture and fold in the pecans. Divide the mixture between the two prepared tart shells, place on baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Makes 2 tarts, about 12 to 16 servings.