Maple Pecan Tart
If you love a traditional Pecan Pie then you’ll fall in love with our Maple Pecan Tart with dried cherries. It has a nut crust (made in the food processor) and is sweetened with maple syrup instead of corn syrup! Plus, dried tart cherries and rum are added in for a fun twist on the classic.
I originally developed this recipe for the 2011 Thanksgiving issue of EatingWell Magazine and shared it here on November 8, 2013. I have updated the images and some of the text today.
Table of contents
Why Make This Maple Pecan Tart Recipe
Oh, how I love a classic pecan pie! But this maple pecan tart recipe is a little different from a traditional pecan pie in a few ways. First of all, it is a tart, not a pie. The big difference between a tart and a pie is the type of pan that is used to make it, and the way the crust is prepared.
Another difference between this recipe and a traditional pecan pie is that this recipe has no corn syrup. Plus I added in tart dried cherries, and a good ‘ol splash of rum!
The combination of nuts and maple are a match made in heaven. Just, try my Maple Apple Crisp with crunchy nut and oat topping if you need convincing. Add to that a splash of rum and you have a triple delish combo.
Plus the tart dried cherries balance out that sweetness perfectly while adding a nice chewy texture that plays nicely with the meaty texture of the pecans.
This maple pecan tart is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dinner or to share with family this holiday season!
More Maple Sweetened Desserts
Love maple and pecans? Try our crisp Spiced Nuts recipe made with granulated maple syrup this season too! They make a great appetizer or gift.
Key Ingredients For This Recipe
You’ll need two cups of pecan halves (divided) for this recipe. Some of them are chopped and the rest (1 cup) is reserved to use for the top of the tart.
Whole Grain Flour
You can use whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour.
I really love the contrast of the tart cherries with the rich nut flavor. If you cannot find them use dried cranberries.
The majority of the sweetness in this recipe comes from maple syrup. Make sure to use pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup which is an artificially flavored corn syrup product.
There are four levels of maple syrup all of which are Grade A. For the strongest maple syrup flavor use Grade A Dark Robust or Extra Dark Strong. If you cannot find the darker grades, Amber Rich will work too. And lastly, while the tart will come out fine with Golden Delicate syrup it will not have much maple flavor.
A splash of rum is added for a festive touch. You can use vanilla extract instead. If you do not cook with alcohol look for alcohol free vanilla extract.
You’ll also need sugar, all-purpose flour, salt, and dark brown sugar to round out the dry ingredients. The final wet ingredients include eggs (and egg yolk), butter, a neutral cooking oil such as avocado or canola oil (preferably organic), and cold water.
Step-By-Step Instructions For This Pecan and Cherry Tart
Step 1: Preheat and Prep
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and place a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom on a baking sheet. Coat the pan lightly with cooking spray.
Step 2: Make Crust
- Pace half a cup of the pecans and sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade attachment, and then process until the pecans are the consistency of rough meal.
- Add the whole-wheat pastry flour, 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Pulse until it’s all combined.
- In a separate bowl, stir one egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of melted butter, and canola oil.
- With the food processor motor running, drizzle the yolk mixture through the feed tube and process it until it’s completely mixed in. Drizzle in water with the motor running and then pulse just until the mixture clumps together.
Step 3: Form and Blind Bake the Crust
Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan; spread it evenly and then press firmly into the bottom and up the side to form a thin crust. Prick all over the crust with a fork and transfer it to the oven.
Bake, pressing down with the back of a fork only if it starts to puff, until it’s dry and slightly golden along the edges. This should take about 10 to 13 minutes.
Remove the tart crust from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. While the crust is hot, brush the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of flour over the crust with a pastry brush to fill in any holes or cracks.
Step 4: Mix the Tart Filling
- While the crust is baking, whisk the maple syrup, brown sugar, rum, the remaining salt, the remaining eggs, and the remaining butter in a medium bowl.
- Set aside 1/4 cup of the maple mixture for glazing the pecans that will top the tart. (Left photo)
- Chop 1/2 a cup of the pecan halves and add them to the medium bowl with the larger amount of the maple mixture. Stir in the cherries. (Right photo)
- Then, mix the reserved 1/4 cup of the maple mixture in a small bowl with the remaining 1 cup of the pecans halves for the top of the tart.
Step 5: Bake the Tart
Spread the cherry and chopped pecan mixture inside the baked crust, and arrange the pecan halves decoratively over the top of the tart. Drizzle any of the remining maple mixture over the tart.
Bake the tart until it no longer jiggles when gently shaken, the top is lightly cracked, and the filling is set up. This should take 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool the tart competely, for at least 1 hour, and remove the sides of the pan.
FAQs and Expert Tips
A tart is made in a tart pan with a removable side and short 1-inch or so side crust. The crust is short and cookie-like and pressed into the pan. Pie is made in a pie plate or pie pan with the crust rolled out and then transferred to the pan. The crust is deeper. Pies often have a top crust, crumb top or decoratvie top. Tarts do not always have top crust, but if they do they are most commonly lattice type crusts.
The tart can be kept at room temperature for 24 hours after baking. After that, cover and keep in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Additional Holiday Dessert Recipes To Try
Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!
Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
Maple Pecan Tart
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
Pecan Pie gets a healthy make-over and is turned into a No-Corn Syrup Maple Pecan Tart with dried cherries. It has a Whole-grain nut crust, sweetened with natural maple syrup. Plus cherries and rum are added in for a fun twist on the classic.
- 2 cups pecan halves, divided
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or organic canola oil
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- ½ cup maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Amber
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons dark rum
- ½ cup dried cherries
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom on a baking sheet and coat lightly with cooking spray.
- Place ½ cup pecans and sugar in a food processor fitted with steel blade attachment. Process until the pecans are the consistency of rough meal. Add whole-wheat pastry flour, 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and ¼ teaspoon salt and pulse until combined. Stir 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and canola oil in a small bowl. With the food processor motor running, drizzle yolk mixture through the feed tube and process until completely mixed in. Drizzle in water with the motor running and then pulse just until mixture clumps together.
- Turn mixture out into the prepared pan; spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and up sides to form a thin crust. Prick all over with a fork and transfer to the oven. Bake, pressing down with the back of a fork only if it starts to puff, until dry and slightly golden along the edges, 10 to 13 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, rum, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, the remaining 2 eggs and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a medium bowl. Set aside ¼ cup of the maple mixture for glazing the pecans for the top of the tart. Chop 1/2 cup of the pecan halves and add to the medium bowl with the larger amount of maple mixture. Stir in the cherries. Mix the reserved ¼ cup maple mixture in a small bowl with the remaining 1 cup of the pecan halves for the pecans for the top of the tart.
- Remove the tart crust from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. While the crust is hot, brush the remaining 1/2 teaspoon flour over the crust with a pastry brush to fill in any holes or cracks. Spread the cherry and chopped pecan mixture in the baked crust. Arrange pecan halves decoratively over the top of the tart. Drizzle any remaining maple mixture over the tart. Bake the tart until it no longer jiggles when gently shaken, the top is lightly crackled and the filling is set-up, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely, at least 1 hour and remove the sides of the pan.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Category: dessert
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/10 tart
- Calories: 320
- Sugar: 27 g
- Sodium: 135 mg
- Fat: 19 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 40 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 4.6 g
Keywords: maple pecan tart,pecan tart without corn syrup,pecan cherry tart
Hi! Would I be able to substitute dried cranberries for the cherries?
Hi Riva, Yes you can! I hope you enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving.
What a beautiful tart! The presentation is stunning plus it’s got my favorite flavors.
This looks perfect! I would take this over traditional pecan pie ANY DAY!
I absolutely love pecan pie but I hate the corn syrup too! I’ll definitely have to share this with my mom…she’s the pecan pie baker of the family 🙂
I am not a huge fan of pecan pie because it is so sweet! Now I really want to try this, because I do love pecans!
This looks like the absolute perfect dessert for Thanksgiving! Can’t wait to try it!
I made this with black walnuts that we harvested and cracked, and our own maple syrup. I used bourbon instead of rum, just because, and cheated by using a store bought graham cracker crust. It was a hit at a local fundraiser for our volunteer fire dept. Thanks!!
I don’t have a tart pan. Can I use a regular pie pan for this? It sounds delicious and I will use it for this Thanksgiving!
Hi Barb! Happy Thanksgiving. I haven’t tried it myself, but I can make an educated guess for you. The crust in this recipe is really meant for a tart pan, it is more like a cookie than pie dough. What you can try is use a recipe for a more traditional pie shell. And then use the filling and it should work okay. If you’re using a smaller pie shell (like in a metal or disposable pie pan) then the filling will fit. But if you’re using a 9-inch pyrex pie plate you’ll maybe want to have close to double the filling.
I agree with you, Katie. I’m not a big fan of corn syrup either. I grew up in the South and pecan pie was everywhere this time of year. As I’ve gotten older and developed an appreciation for healthier foods and I love that you substituted maple syrup. I love this recipe! Thanks for sharing it!
My mom is from Texas (I think I have told you that before) so pecans are huge for me, and Pecan pie was always a part of the holidays for us. Did you ever have shoofly pie? She made that a lot too. Here in VT we have ‘sugar pie’ made with maple syrup. It makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it! lol!
I’ve never had shoofly pie before. That is so cool that you guys make your own maple syrup! It’s really my most favorite sweetener.
WOW looks and sounds amazing…do you have nut facts for this? I think I’ll have to make for the thanksgiving table but my trainer may disagree! LOL
Yes, as a matter of fact. Because this was published in EW, they did the analysis. So this is what they printed for this recipe. Keep in mind it makes 10 slices. Here is info for each slice: 353 calories; 22 g fat ( 4 g sat , 11 g mono ); 65 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrates; 20 g added sugars; 5 g protein; 2 g fiber; 136 mg sodium; 157 mg potassium.
Loving this healthier version of pecan pie — plus — it’s totally gorgeous!!!
Thank you Rachel. Glad you stopped by.
Oh my!! Yum!! How could you possibly say no to this?!? Love the addition of maple syrup, cherries, and the rum! I would never have thought of that. Oh how I wish I could smell the pie baking in the oven… In other words, I must make this ASAP ^_^. Stunning photos, Katie!
Thank you Min. Yes the smell is pretty great. I hope you like it.
This flavor combo sounds divine!
Thanks so much Deanna. How can you go wrong really when it comes to maple. ha ha.
This looks great. I don’t have any Canola oil, do you think I could use Coconut oil?
Thanks, can’t wait to try this.
Absolutely. It would be great, just melt it if it is solid.
This is my dream pecan pie recipe. (Even though it’s technically a tart!) I wonder if it would be good with bourbon, too.
Thanks so much Marygrace! That’s a really nice compliment. I think Bourbon would be so happy to be invited to this party!