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!
MAPLE PECAN TART
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.