Thursday, November 1, 2012

Maple Pecan Tart

I hate to take any pleasure in the grand storm that has blown into the California foothills, soaking the earth and demanding a fire in the fireplace, when there is so much devastation on the East Coast from Sandy, but we desperately need the rain and it is hard not to give thanks for the steady downpour.

The change of seasons is the most cyclical rhythm in life. The undulation of birth, growth, harvest and slumber guides our actions, sets our rituals, marks our life events. For me, the seasons are expressed in my kitchen. Virtually everything I cook relates to the time of year.

When the cold sets in and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, this Maple Pecan Tart is simply one of the best things you can prepare. For those of you who, like me, adore pecans, but can't stand the icky sweetness of classic pecan pie with all that corn syrup, this tart is amazing.  Some years ago I had dinner at a restaurant that served a similar tart and was bowled over. I liked it so much that I went back the next day for lunch and ordered it again. Begging and pleading with the chef for the recipe was unsuccessful (though he gave me a slot in his upcoming cooking class where we prepared lobster risotto...and I DID get that recipe!), so I went home and after a number of attempts, came up with this. It's pretty damn close to the perfection of that tart...AND it's easy. Always a plus!


2/3 cup pure maple syrup (if you can find the grade B, often sold in health food stores, it has more flavor)
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 T. butter, melted
1 T. flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pie crust in a 9-inch tart pan
6 oz (1 1/2 cups) coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together first 7 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.  Place unbaked crust in tart pan on baking sheet.  Spread nuts over crust.  Pour filling over.  Bake until filling is set and slightly puffed, about 45 minutes.  Transfer to rack and cool for ten minutes. Then remove outer ring from tart pan and place on serving plate. Serve with ice cream...or whipped cream...or just serve it plain.



  1. I'm fine with you enjoying seasonal weather. Just heard back from the adjuster and they are giving us $3500 for the car. Blue book for selling it pre-tree was only $1440. Maybe they are giving us blue book for what the dealer would try to sell it to us for? That extra $2K will be quite useful while looking for it's replacement!

  2. I thought about tarts when I ate my bologna sandwich...thanks.

    1. Did you think about how easy this is to make and about how nice I am to give you the recipe????

    2. Of course I did, except I was at work and we don't have a stove.

  3. So, you can reverse engineer? I'm tempted to ask you how make a Christmas cookie my Grandma used to make. She'd send us a box of assorted cookies and I'd get my own separate box of just these. They were amazing. I should still have the recipe around somewhere, I think it was in Betty Crocker so there's nothing unusual about it. It's probably some simple mistake but I've tried a couple of times and they just come out as ordinary sugar cookies. The texture, shape and flavor of hers were completely different. I don't know though, if I could replicate them it might take away from the magical Grandma-ness.

    1. My only hope of replicating the cookie would be if I actually ATE a couple. I have reverse engineered bouillabaisse, a pork stew, a flourless chocolate cake, among other things. But in all cases, I had eaten the food item several times before I attempted to make it. Just a description would be beyond my skills, no matter HOW good you were at describing it.