Maple Pecan Tart – Healthy Seasonal Recipes


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.

Pecan tart with foliage

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.

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!

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

ingredients with labels

Pecans

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.

Dried Cherries

I really love the contrast of the tart cherries with the rich nut flavor. If you cannot find them use dried cranberries.

Maple Syrup

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.

Rum

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.

Additional Ingredients

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

spray the tart pan with cooking spray

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.

making the crust in the food processor

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.
forming the tart shell, doking before baking it and then brushing it with flour to fill any cracks and the docking holes.

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.

making the tart filling

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.
tart with filling, and adding the pecan halves on top for decoration

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.

side view of the tart on a tart stand with fall floral arrangement in background

FAQs and Expert Tips

What’s the difference between a pie and a tart?

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.

Does my tart need to be refrigerated?

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.

close up of the tart from overhead before it has been cut

Additional Holiday Dessert Recipes To Try

a slice of pecan tart on a table with foliage, nuts and dried cherries

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! ~Katie

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Description

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Nutrition

  • 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

About the Author

Katie Webster

Katie Webster studied art and photography at Skidmore College and is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. She has been a professional recipe developer since 2001 when she first started working in the test kitchen at EatingWell magazine. Her recipes have been featured in numerous magazines including Shape, Fitness, Parents and several Edible Communities publications among others. Her cookbook, Maple {Quirk Books} was published in 2015. She launched Healthy Seasonal Recipes in 2009. She lives in Vermont with her husband, two teenage daughters and two yellow labs. In her free time, you can find her at the gym, cooking, stacking firewood, making maple syrup, and tending to her overgrown perennial garden.



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