Maple Pecan Tart

Pecan candy, pecan fudge, pecan rolls, honeyed pecans… somehow pecans always seem to be associated with Thanksgiving or Christmas, though I not quite know why. I tried searching around for information on it, but could not seem to find any. Nonetheless, in the spirit of Christmas, I decided to bake a maple pecan tart for the pizza gathering I wrote about in an earlier post. If you had read that post, you’d know that the attempt to make the dough for the tart went quite wrong, with it being blended into a paste form accidentally, when it was supposed to have bits of butter in it to ensure flakiness. I am happy to report that the tart crust recipe was pretty forgiving. Even though it was not as flaky as it should have been, it was still fairly crumbly. An untrained tongue probably would not have known that something went wrong.

When I looked through the recipe before baking the tart, I was pretty sure I was going to end up with an overly sweet tart, looking at the amount of maple syrup and sugar the recipe calls for. Nonetheless, those amounts were needed for the right balance between the sugars and the eggs to enable the filling to set. I was pretty glad when the tart did not turn out quite as sweet as I expected, thanks to the addition of the orange zest. It’s a pity I could not get hold of any kumquats, which was what the original recipe called for.

I served the tart with homemade vanilla bean ice-cream, the recipe of which I will post up soon. The vanilla bean ice-cream complemented the pecan tart perfectly. In fact, I think it’s more winning a combination than the suggested whipped cream accompaniment.

Maple Pecan Tart
Makes 1 9-inch tart
Recipe adapted from Tartine

Fully baked and cooled flaky tart shell (see below)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 maple syrup
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tbsp bourbon whiskey
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups of pecan halves
zest of 1 orange
vanilla bean ice-cream for serving


  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, bourbon and salt. Place over medium heat, bring to a boil and continue to boil for a minute.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the butter as it melts.
  3. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350ºF while the mixture cools.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and beaten eggs to the cooled mixture and stir till combined.
  6. Stir in the pecans and orange zest and pour the mixture into the tart shell.
  7. Bake until the filling is just set, about 50 minutes. If the top is browning too quickly, tent it with a piece of foil.
  8. Let it cool on a wire rack before cutting.
  9. Serve at room temperature (or warm if you prefer), with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream.

Flaky Tart Shell
Makes 1 9-inch tart shell

1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup of very cold water
1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp of plain flour
5 1/4 oz very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes


  1. Add salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Keep in the refrigerator until very cold.
  2. Place the flour in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cold butter cubes to the flour and pulse briefly until mixture forms large crumbs.
  3. Add the water and salt mixture and pulse for several seconds until the dough begins to come together. Do not over pulse!
  4. Shape the dough into a disc 1 inch thick and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill overnight.
  5. Roll chilled dough to 1/8 inch thick. Lightly dust work surface with flour to prevent dough from sticking.
  6. Cut out a circle about 2 inches larger than the pan, and carefully transfer it to the tart pan.
  7. Cut away the remaining dough or crimp the edge.
  8. Chill the shell for at 30 minutes to an hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  10. Line the shells with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or a mixture of grains and beans.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes on a middle rack.
  12. Remove parchment and pie weights and continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the shell is golden brown.
  13. Let the shells cool completely on wire racks before filling.

Warm Chocolate Raspberry Tart

I was looking through the photo albums on my computer a few days ago and realised that there were many pictures (and recipes) that I meant to write about but never found time to. So this is catch up time. Hopefully, I will be able to put up as many recipes and pictures of the food we cooked/baked this year before the year ends.

This warm chocolate tart was seriously, hands down, the best one that I’ve made. I attribute this not just to the excellent quality of chocolate used (I used Valrhona Manjari), but also Pierre Herme’s superb sweet tart dough recipe. This can be made with or without the raspberries but I really think that they are so much better with. The tang of the raspberries complement the mild sweetness of the chocolate oh so very well. The velvety texture of the chocolate ganache filling is almost seductive. Have I convinced you to try this recipe yet?

Tart crust
Makes two 22-24 cm tart shells
Recipe adapted from Pierre Herme’s Chocolate Desserts

142g unsalted butter (room temperature)
75g icing sugar, sifted
50g finely ground almond flour
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg (room temperature)
245g plain flour


  1. Place butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until creamy.
  2. Add the icing sugar and process to blend.
  3. Add the almond flour, salt and vanilla and continue to process till smooth.
  4. Add eggs and process to blend.
  5. Finally, add in the flour and pulse till mixture starts to come together. Stop when the dough starts to gather into a ball. Do not overwork the dough.
  6. Gather dough into a ball and divide it into 2 pieces.
  7. Press each piece into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
  8. The dough can be kept frozen for up to a month when wrapped airtight.
  9. To bake, butter a tart ring. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of between 2 – 4 cm, lifting the dough often and making certain that the work surface and the dough are amply floured at all times.
  10. Roll the dough up around your rolling pin and unroll it onto the tart ring. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the ring, then run the rolling pin across the top of the ring to cut off the excess.
  11. Prick the dough all over with a fork and chill it for at least 30min in the refrigerator.
  12. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Fit a circle of baking parchment into the crust and fill with dried beans or rice.
  13. Bake for 18-20 mins, then remove the parchment and beans and bake for another 3-5 mins, until shell is golden.
  14. Transfer to a rack to cool.

The filling

55g raspberries
145 bittersweet chocolate
115g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg, stirred with a fork (at room temperature)
3 large egg yolks, stirred with a fork (at room temperature)
2 tbsp sugar


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Fill the cooled tart crust with raspberries.
  3. Melt the chocolate and the butter in separate bowls in a bain marie or in a microwave.
  4. Allow them to cool until they just feel warm to the touch (104ºF).
  5. Using a small whisk or spatula, stir the egg into the chocolate, stirring gently in widening circles and taking care not to agitate the mixture. Do not beat air into the ganache.
  6. Slowly, stir in the egg yolks little by little, followed by the sugar.
  7. Finally, stir in the warm melted butter.
  8. Pour the ganache over the raspberries in the tart shell.
  9. Bake the tart for 11 mins, not more. The centre of the tart will still jiggle, but it will set.
  10. Allow to cool for 10 min before serving.