Maple Cream Tart

maple cream tart, just baked

Sometimes things just work out for the best. Just as I was about to declare Thanksgiving ruined — my third corn syrup-less pecan pie tasted just as curdled and watery and messy as my first — I took a stab at yet another recipe, making a most-delectable discovery in the process: maple cream tart, a recipe Food52 adapted from NYC’s Left Bank.

I am in awe of this tart’s texture. The absence of eggs makes it exceptionally light yet somehow it tastes as smooth and creamy as an untorched crème brûlée. For maple syrup lovers, nothing could be more delicious, and best of all, it’s a cinch to assemble. The custard, as promised, comes together in two minutes and while the tart shell requires a blind baking, the assembled tart bakes in just twenty-five minutes.

I know it’s very late in the game to start switching up dessert menus, but if you’re still looking for something to serve or perhaps to bring to a Thanksgiving feast, this one is just as festive as any of the classics. For me, it’s even better and will always be considered the tart that saved Thanksgiving 2012. Gobble Gobble.

maple cream tart ingredients

maple cream tart custard

rolling out tart dough

tart, ready to be blind baked

dried beans for blind baking

tart, ready for oven

Maple Cream Tart

Source: Food52

Note: While reading the comments section on Food52, I discovered that some people found the tart to be too sweet. For me (and Ben, who is usually more cautious of sweets than I), it couldn’t have been more delicious, but if you are sensitive to sweets, this one might not be for you. A dollop of crème fraiche or Greek yogurt would definitely help offset the sweetness.

Also: I had made a double batch of my favorite tart dough for all of the pecan pie experiments I was undertaking, so that’s what I used and that’s what I’ve enclosed here, but if you want a press-in-the-pan crust, check out Food52’s recipe.

Tart Shell:
Double recipe for two 9-inch tarts

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 T. sugar
¼ tsp. table salt
8 T. unsalted butter
¼ C. + 1 T. ice water

1. Whisk flour, sugar and salt together. Cut butter into flour and using the back of a fork or a pastry cutter, incorporate butter into flour mixture until butter is in small pieces. (This can be done in the food processor, too — that’s what I do these days.) Add ice water and continue to stir with fork until mixture comes together to form a mass. Add more ice water if necessary, one tablespoon at a time. Gently form mass into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight. (Dough can be frozen, too.)

Maple Cream Filling:

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (preferably grade B — I only had grade A, so that’s what I used)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Creme fraiche or Greek yogurt, for serving

1. Roll dough out into an 11-inch circle. Carefully transfer dough to tart pan. (I always fold the dough in half and in half again to make for an easy transfer.) Press dough against bottom of pan and into sides, making sure the dough on the bottom and sides is even. (See photo.)

2. Prick with a fork and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

3. Line the tart dough with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights (or dried beans or rice). Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the pie weights and parchment, and place back in the oven to cook until the bottom is dry, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

4. Lower the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, maple syrup, cream, and flour until smooth. Pour this mixture into the cooled tart crust. (Note: My tart shell shrunk a little bit, so I did not pour all of the custard into the shell. It is a nicely behaved custard in that it doesn’t rise way up and spill all over the place, but I was happy that I, for once, showed restraint and did not pour all of it in because I do think it could have caused a mess. Just use your judgement.) Bake until the maple cream just sets — it should still jiggle a little — 20 to 25 minutes. (Mine took 25 minutes.) Let cool. Serve sliced with dollops of crème fraiche or Greek yogurt. (Store in fridge if making a day in advance. Bring to room temperature briefly before serving.)

maple cream tart, just baked


    • says

      Margherita — I hope I get to you in time — the top actually is not hard at all. It looks kind of crispy in the photos, but it’s really soft. The texture is like an untorched creme brulee. I hope that makes sense. Torching it, however, might be a brilliant idea!

  1. says

    It’s never too late to change things up. For those of us who are incredibly indecisive there is still PLENTY of time. right? Well for me at least since we are celebrating on Saturday. I’m now debating between this and a quince crostata. hmmm. I’m already making some pumpkin squares that I saw in the blog world. This just sounds so damn good. Oh my goodness. I thought about making pecan pie but you can’t find corn syrup here and I guessed it would be impossible without. Although I do have a friend who says she made a good one, I’ll ask her for her secret.

    Happy turkey and stuffing day!

  2. says

    WOW, first of all let me say that I am beyond impressed that you would try to make a recipe three times! That is commitment!

    I think your maple concoction is perfect! We are not making dessert this year, but I am pinning your version for the future… luscious!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • says

      SallyBr — or stupidity? :) The cost of throwing away all of those pecans and butter was a little painful. Next time I try that experiment, I will make crustless versions…not sure why I didn’t think of that sooner.

    • says

      Lucy T — I am dying to try this too! If I hadn’t had extra dough on hand, I was going to make this very crust. I’ve had it bookmarked, too. If you make it, will you report back? Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. D. says

    I’m wondering what happens with the beans or dried rice you use as a pie weight after baking. It’s not possible to still cook them, is it? Do you throw it away or is there anything I can still use them for?

    • says

      D — I have had these beans for probably 5 years. I just store them in a ziplock bag once they have cooled down and reuse them when I need to. I have never tried cooking them, but I imagine at this point it would not turn out well. After one blind baking, they might be able to be reused? I can’t say for sure, but I suspect it alters the flavor/consistency.

  4. dalton says

    Ummm. This looks ridiculous. I saw it too late for Thanksgiving, but I am already trying to scheme up a dinner party I can throw in the next few weeks just so I have an excuse to make this tart. I cannot wait!! Hope all had a great thanksgiving with your family!! How did the kids like all of the turkey day food? Mine enjoyed it, but were more interested in the post dinner pie…..

    • says

      Dalton — it has been too long! Graham gobbled up everything; Ella turned her nose at everything but the bread and then ate salmon salad instead…she’s such a pill. I hope you like this tart…I think it is just delectable!

  5. says

    For sure for sure I will report back when I make the brown butter crust. I’m just indecisive over what to fill it with for the first try. Too many choices! Delicious choices.

    Hope you and yours had a great thanksgiving!

  6. wanda says

    I’m going to do a trial run of this – looks great! Being from the South, I’m going to use cane syrup (made every year by Marvin, an 85 year old Southern gentleman) rather than maple. I always use pennies to do blind baked crusts :)

  7. says

    I finally ended up making it today with some Saskatoon berries (local but frozen, they’re not in season now) and a ricotta cream filling (pics here). The crust was so tasty. It really is kind of magical how it comes together.

    Now that I’ve baked it blind and filled it I feel more ready to experiment with it. I think maple cream must be next! Lemon curd would be great too…

    • says

      Amazing! I really need to make this soon. I commented on your beautiful tart post, but I am curious about your ricotta cream (baked or not?) and am drooling over the whole ensemble. It just looks and sounds so delicious!

  8. says

    Thanks for your comment, Alexandra! I’ll just answer you here because your site is much more fun. :) Unbaked filling. I was really lazy and just mixed a cup of ricotta with about an 1/8 cup of powdered sugar and a heaping teaspoon of lemon zest. Then topped with berries (which were mixed with a tsp lemon juice and a tablespoon more powdered sugar and a few drops of Cassis). Then I filled the already-baked tart with those. I think a mascarpone filling would have been even nicer but I didn’t have any on hand. I’ll see how it stood up today but we had another piece of the tart for a late dessert last night and the shell was not soggy at all.
    Can’t wait to see what you do with it!

    • says

      Thank you, Lucy T…it is so much fun! That filling sounds heavenly, seriously. Love the idea of lemon zest. That would complement any berry. And the addition of Cassis with the berries sounds completely delicious. That is a nice way to make any tart feel a little more special, which is the goal this time of year. Mascarpone also sounds delicious, but honestly, I think your ricotta cream sounds more so. Can’t wait to try it and the brown butter tart shell. Thanks!

  9. lauren says

    Well, I’m a little late to the game on this, but I just baked this beautiful tart and topped it with roasted blueberries that have been tossed with juice from a blood orange and little sugar. They’ve sunk into the top quarter inch of the cream and now I’m cooling the whole thing in the fridge to see how it sets up together!

    Let’s hope the local potluck enjoys it! :^)

  10. johnnyD says

    If you are looking for the perfect corn syrup-free pecan pie, check out Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe…and it’s sweetened with maple syrup. Delicious!

    • says

      Johnny — thanks so much for the tip! All of my attempts failed. I thought I was close with one, but it ended up a curdled mess. Will definitely find the CI recipe and give it a go. Thanks!

  11. BeccaJ says

    So I’ve made versions of this TWICE now to practice for Thanksgiving. First off, the crust is amazing! I made leaves out of the scraps for a garnish and could not stop eating them plain.

    On to the filling. The first time I made it exactly according to your recipe and I really liked it (like you, I only had Grade A syrup in the fridge), but the husband wasn’t wowed.

    The second time, I reduced the brown sugar to about 2/3, used Grade B, and then after chilling, covered in sugar in the raw and bruleed with the torch. Try this! The burnt sugar tones cut the sweetness a bit and give it that brulee crunch. This will definitely be on the Thanksgiving table. Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Yay! So happy to hear this, Becca! Such a great idea to torch the surface! Because, that’s the best part — when the top gets a little golden — and it’s hard to achieve that with the oven alone. Thanks so much for writing in, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

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