Maple and Pecan Crème Tart

Maple and Pecan Creme Tart

Maple and Pecan Crème Tart

Maple syrup is a wonder of the culinary world.  This tart brings together the joy of a cheesecake with the earthy spiciness of maple syrup with a pecan pastry base.  I have stipulated reduced fat cream cheese and sour cream as I think it lightens the dish and stops it from being overpoweringly rich, please do use full fat if that is your preference.

For Pecan pastry:
300 grams pecan, toasted until dark but not burnt
250 grams butter, cold, cubed
300 grams plain flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
A generous pinch each of salt, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180°C

Once the pecans are toasted, use a food processor to crumble them into a fine breadcrumb consistency.
Use a knife to cut the butter into the flour and pecan crumble, then add the spices, sugar and egg. 

Only work the pastry for a few minutes - just until it starts to come together, then chill for 20 minutes.
Roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper.  Grease a 28cm a tart tin well, then lay the pastry into the tin, pressing it gently into the edges. 

Blind bake in a moderately hot oven until just starting to become golden, then remove and prepare the filling.Maple and Pecan Creme Tart

For the Maple Crème Filling:
250mls maple syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
200mls reduced fat sour cream
400 grams reduced fat cream cheese
4 eggs
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
¼  teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons Amaretto or Frangelico

In a small pan, warm through the maple syrup with the brown sugar and the scraped vanilla bean.  Cook until the maple syrup darkens and the flavour intensifies.

In a large bowl, whip the sour cream with the cream cheese, vanilla seeds, liqueur, nutmeg and eggs until smooth. Remove the vanilla bean from the reduced maple syrup, then carefully drizzle half  the reduced syrup in to the cheese mixture, whisking constantly.
Once combined, pour into the prepared tart base and bake in a low oven  - 150°C  - for 45 minutes, or until just set  - but still a little wobbly in the middle.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and chill, the tart will firm up once chilled. 

Before serving, add piped whipped cream swirls, then pour on the reserved maple syrup reduction (if he syrup has solidified, just warm up again on the stove or in the microwave for a few seconds).  Add some salted-candied pecans and if you fancy a few shavings of dark chocolate.

Adding pecans dipped in salted caramel to the top of the tart is not essential, but it is delicious.  

If you have a little extra pastry, but into maple leaf shapes with a cookie cutter and add to the tart as decoration, with a little gold glitter or other decoration...scrummy!

Maple and Pecan Creme Tart