can you believe thanksgiving is next week? I know I can't. this year has simultaneously been forever long and gone in a blink of an eye. anyway, it's officially "pie season" and you know I had to get a pie recipe up on the blog. well, this isn't exactly a pie. its a tart. a deliciously rich chocolate bourbon maple pecan tart to be exact. it's easy, decadent and is the perfect way to end a holiday meal.
add this to your grocery list:
most of these ingredients could already be in your pantry and fridge. if not, add these to your list
- raw pecans
- granulated sugar
- maple sugar
- all purpose flour
- unsalted butter
- maple syrup
- cornmeal (optional swap with all purpose flour)
- vanilla extract
- dark chocolate (60-70%)
- bourbon (optional)
- heavy whipping cream or vanilla ice cream
from these ingredients you will make a buttery pecan crust, chocolate bourbon maple filling and vanilla whipped cream. if you wanted to skip the homemade pie crust, pick up a pre-made pie crust or pre made pie dough at the store. you can make this chocolate bourbon maple pecan tart as easy as you want!
let's talk about the flavors:
thanks to the maple syrup and maple sugar, this tart isn't as cloyingly sweet as traditional pecan pie. in fact, depending on the chocolate and sugar you use, it can also be called refined sugar free. needless to say, this tart is:
- sweet, but not overly sweet
- soft, almost creamy filling
pecan pies are a little hard to describe. they're more akin to sugar pies than anything else. most often they're described as too sweet. this version utilizes dark chocolate, maple syrup and sugar to cut down on this problem. this tart is more grown up, deeper sweet version.
homemade vs store bought pie crust:
ok, folks. here me out- I still get nervous making pie crusts. sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. I developed this recipe with this buttery pecan crust in mind. however, the pictures you see are using a store bought crust. long story short, the first photos did not turn out well at all. because of that, I reshot the tart the next weekend in between other projects. it was a last minute decision so the crust was a store bought version I thawed from the fridge that morning. while frustrating, it was a great opportunity to try both ways!
are we doing bourbon, or what?!
so here's the truth- bourbon and pecans are MADE for each other. its a southern thing and its delicious. I tested the recipe with and without. honestly, they're both delicious. they both bring something unique and wonderful to the literal dessert table. for a more traditional pecan pie, leave the bourbon out. personally, I loved the version with the bourbon. but, then I really love bourbon!
tips for this delicious tart
what's the best pan to use?
for the photos I used a 9" removable bottom tart pan. this recipe works great with a 9-10" tart pan. this can be removable bottom or not. totally up to you! the recipe for the crust can easily fit a pie pan as well. if making in a deeper dish, pie pan instead of tart, increase the maple syrup to 1 c and increase the amount of pecans by about 1/4-1/3 c for a total of 1 3/4c - slightly under 2 cups.
do I have to use homemade pie crust?
no you do not. you can easily use any store bought or pre-made pie dough you want. simply prepare the crust to the point of adding the filling. the crust will do better with blind baking for this type of filling.
how small should I chop the pecans and chocolate?
for the pecans: coarsely chopped is perfectly fine. in fact, you can even use the pre chopped ones from the store and save yourself a little time!
for the chocolate: you should pay closer attention to how you chop the chocolate. the chocolate should be more finely chopped. the pieces should be even in the shape, size and thickness. this is because you want the chocolate to melt into the filling.
how to I know when the tart is done baking?
start checking the tart about 5 minutes before the earliest baking time listed in the recipe. gently giggle the tart pan. the edges should be puffed and set. the center will giggle a little. it shouldn't slosh and it should wiggle a bit. the center will set more as it cools.
how soon can I cut into the tart?
let the tart cool to room temperature. serve the same day, the tart can sit out for several hours. if serving at a later time, fully wrap the entire tart/pie in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. the tart can be served at room temperature or warm.
what can I serve on top?
if you're eating this tart, let's gild the lily! top this with fresh whipped cream or a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream.
love tarts? check these out:
- cranberry curd gingersnap tart
- bergamot lemon + earl grey tart
- black cocoa + rose water strawberry tart
chocolate bourbon maple pecan tart
- food processor
- 9-10" tart pan with removeable bottom (alternatively, a pie pan)
- pie weights
- parchment paper
- medium sauce pan
buttery pecan crust
- 1/2 c finely ground pecans
- 2 tbsp (25g) sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 c (150g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, cold and evenly cubed
- egg yolk
- 2-3 tbsp ice cold water
chocolate bourbon maple pecan filling
- 3/4 c pure maple syrup
- 1/4 c maple sugar sub with light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 tbsp cornmeal sub with all purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp bourbon (about generous shot's worth)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 c coarsely chopped pecans
- 3-4 oz. evenly chopped dark chocolate ( 50-70% depending on your personal tastes)
vanilla whipped cream
- 1 c heavy cream
- 1/4 c (50g) granulated or maple sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
buttery pecan crust
- If you want to use store bought pie crust (as pictured), simply follow the instructions on the package. Prepare the crust according to the "blind bake" instructions in the desired tart or pie pan of choice. In a food processor, pulse pecans, sugar and salt until fine like flour. Don't over do it or you'll end up with pecan butter! Pulse in flour until well combined with the pecans.Scatter about 2-3 tbsp worth of butter into the pecan flour. Carefully cover the butter pieces with the flour mixture to coat. Be careful of the processor blade. Add the next 2-3 tbsp butter. Repeat until all the butter has been added. Cover the food processor and pulse to incorporate the butter. Some butter may work its way to the bottom or up the sides. Scrape down and around as needed with a spatula or spoon. Pulse unitl the mixture resembles wet coarse sand.
- In a seperate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk with 2 tbsp ice cold water. Scatter the egg mixture into the dry mix. Pulse until the dough just comes together. If needed, add up to 1 tsp at a time (up to 1 tbsp) ice cold water.
- Dump the dough onto a parchment paper or into a bowl. Gently shape into a ball. Flatten into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours or up to overnight.
chocolate maple pecan tart
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Remove the pie crust from the fridge. Roll out the crust on a lightly floured surface to about 11" round and 1/8" thick. If the dough begins to stick, return to the fridge or freezer to chill for 15-20 minutes.Once rolled out, fit the dough into your tart or pie pan. Press into the pan along the bottom and sides. Build up a thicker crust around the edges by folding some of the excess onto itself. Depending on the size of the pan, you may have some dough left over. Simply remove from the pie. These pieces can be coated in cinnamon sugar and baked later!
- Place the prepared unbaked tart crust in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Remove the chilled crust from the freezer. Place a piece of parchement paper, cut bigger than the tart on top of the chill dough. Press down onto the bottom and across to the sides. Dump pie weights or dry beans or rice onto the parchment paper. Blind bake the crust at 375 F for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool on a cooling rack while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperatue to 350 F.
- In a medium sauce pan, add the maple syrup and maple sugar. Heat over low- medium heat. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, add in the butter. Whisk until fully dissolved. Whisk in the cornmeal, vanilla extract, salt and bourbon. Whisk until fully incorporated. Remove the filling from the heat to cool to room temperature. While the filling cools, chop the chocolate and pecans.
- Once the filling has cooled to room temperature. Whisk in the eggs until fully combined. The filling should be smooth and viscous. Add the pecans and chocolate into the cooled pie crust. Alternate layer of chocolate and pecans to ensure an even amount across the tart. Pour the filling on top of the chocolate and pecans. Bake the tart (or pie) in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the center gives a slight giggle, with set edges. The filling will be golden brown across the top. Remove the tart or pie from the oven to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Slice and serve with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
fresh whipped cream
- Using an electric mixer with whisk or beater attachments, whip the heavy cream until very soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Whip on medium- high speed until medium-firm peaks form. Dollop onto tart.