Chocolate Pecan Turtle Tart
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
2 cups heavy cream
31/2 ounces bittersweetor semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
21/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
11/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
11/4 cups toasted pecan halves, plus 8 toasted pecan halves for garnish
1. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives used scissors-fashion until the butter is the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of ice water over the flour mixture, stirring gently with a fork to distribute moisture evenly. Continue adding water until the dough just begins to come together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers; do not overwork the dough. Press dough together to form a ball and knead slightly. Shape into a disk and chill, wrapped in wax paper, for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.
2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Have a 9" fluted tart pan with a removable bottom ready.
3. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of wax paper to a 121/2" round. Peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Transfer the dough to the tart pan, wax-paper-side-up, and gently press the pastry against the bottom and the sides; peel off the paper. Line the shell with a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, pressing it snugly into the bottom and against the sides of the shell, and fill with uncooked rice or beans.
4. Bake the shell for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and the rice and bake 8 minutes longer, or until lightly browned. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Bring 3/4 cup of the cream just to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat, add chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Let cool to room temperature, then whisk in vanilla. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour, or until cold.
5. Bring sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar completely dissolves. Boil, without stirring, brushing down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush if you see sugar crystals forming, for about 15 minutes, until dark golden brown. Reduce the heat to low, carefully pour in 3/4 cup of cream, and stir until smooth. Stir in the 11/4 cups pecans.
6. Transfer caramel mixture to the tart shell and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until firm.
7. Beat the cold chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on low speed for about 1 minute, just until soft peaks when the beaters are lifted. Spread the chocolate mixture over the caramel. (The tart can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.)
8. To serve, whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a medium bowl just until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Pipe 8 rosettes around the edge of the tart and decorate with 8 pecan halves. Cut into wedges.