Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate fall harvest with family and friends. Turkey and pumpkin are the staple in my house when it comes to Thanksgiving. This year I decided to change it up to make a maple pecan tart. Pecans and maple remind me of falling leaves in the brisk air. It is not easy to find a pecan tart packed with pecans and one that is not overly sweet, so I love making my own. This version has real maple and is loaded toasted pecans. It is also quite easy to make and keeps well for dinner parties like Thanksgiving.
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 tbsp warm milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups pecan halves
- (toasted in a 300 F for 15 minutes, reserve about 12 pieces to decorate the top, roughly chop the rest)
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp dark maple syrup
- 1 tbsp Bourbon (optional)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extact
- 2 eggs
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with a paddle attachment at low speed. Beat in warm milk and egg yolk. Add in sugar and salt, beat until smooth.
- Lastly, mix in flour to form soft dough. Avoid over-mixing. Form dough into a disk and wrap in plastic, chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before rolling.
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12 circle, line dough onto a 9 inch fluted round tart pan with a removable bottom. Dock the bottom with a fork. Rest the shell in the fridge until firm. If you wish, roll together the scraps of pastry dough and cut out leaf shapes to decorate the top of the tart, set aside until ready to assemble.
- In the meanwhile, prepare the pecan filling. In a small saucepan with medium heat, cook together the butter, sugar and maple syrup for about 3-4 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved (do not boil the mixture). Take the pot off the heat; add in the Bourbon, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla extract, stir until combined. Lastly whisk in the eggs, the mixture should be cohesive before using.
- Take out prepared tart shell, place in the chopped nuts, slowly pour in the syrup. Make sure the syrup covers the nuts. Lastly, garnish the top of the tart with the reserved pecans and leaf cut-outs. Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet, bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes, turning pan halfway through, until the edge of the tart turns slightly golden and centre is set. Cool completely before serving.
This recipe uses my favourite shortcrust. It so tender and buttery, yet easy to make. If you don’t have maple syrup, liquid honey works just as well. Sometimes I like to use a combination of walnuts and pecans, so you can adjust the recipe to your liking.
My favourite Thanksgiving memory: A few years ago, I hosted a Thanksgiving potluck and invited a few friends. I am usually not a big fan of turkey, however a co-worker suggested I get a fresh one from a local poultry vendor. It was the best turkey that I have ever had — so juicy and tender. My friends brought over delicious sides. Then the dinner ended with a classic homemade warm pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream.
What is your favourite Thanksgiving memory?
This recipe appears on Vancouver Sun’s
Thanksgiving menu: B.C. chefs dish on their favourite holiday meals.