Pecan pie is always a favorite around Thanksgiving and the holidays, and this is a great alternative to a traditional pie recipe. It still has the rich caramel flavor, but the crisp, buttery crust is enhanced with ground pecans and the filling has notes of maple, bourbon, and vanilla. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, and just enjoy it on its own.
1 cup (5 ounces/ 141 grams) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (1 ¾ ounces/48 grams) packed light brown sugar
¼ cup (1 ounce/30 grams) coarsely chopped pecans, toasted*,
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons/ 1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces/113grams)
2/3 cup (4.7 ounces/135 grams) packed light brown sugar
¼ cup (3 ounces/82 grams) light corn syrup
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/40 grams) pure maple syrup (dark amber if possible)
4 tablespoons (2ounces/56 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup (3 ounces/90 grams) pecans, chopped coarse, plus 14 whole pecan halves for decorating
1 -2 tablespoons of maple syrup for glazing the finished tart
FOR THE CRUST:
1. Grease or lightly spray an oblong tart pan (14”x4.5”) or four 4-inch fluted tart pans with removable bottoms; set aside.
2. Process the four, brown sugar, nuts, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle butter pieces over the top and pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, 8-10 pulses.
3. Sprinkle mixture evenly into prepared pan(s). Mixture will be dry and crumbly, press crumbs into an even layer over bottom and up the sides using the bottom of a dry measuring cup. (it helps to start with the edges using thumb and fingers to press dough in firmly, and then pat bottom down with measuring cup)
4. Wrap tart in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 week.
5. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350°F. Remove tart from freezer and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Press a double layer of aluminum foil into the frozen tart shell, over the edges, and fill with pie weights. Bake until tart shell in golden brown and set, 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Carefully remove foil and pie weights and let shell cool slightly while preparing filling.
FOR THE FILLING:
Whisk sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, melted butter, bourbon, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Whisk in eggs to combine. Stir in half the chopped walnuts, and then sprinkle remaining chopped nuts over filling. Arrange 14 pecan halves, down the center of the tart shell.
1. Bake tart on rimmed baking sheet until filling is set and nuts begin to brown, 20-25 minutes, rotating tart halfway through baking. Move pan to wire rack and brush the center nuts with maple syrup. Let tart cool completely, about 1 hour.
2. To serve, remove outer ring from tart pan, and slide a thin metal spatula between tart and tart pan bottom, and carefully slide tart onto serving platter or plate.