If this recipe sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a long-overdue update to an older recipe on this site that has always been good, but is now great. I tweaked the recipe a bit, and updated the pictures.
But the basic idea – a soft crust filled with a rich, deeply sweet (thanks to dates and molasses) filling, and a crunchy topper of raw pecans – remains. You know what they say about things that aren’t broken…
When I first posted this tart, in 2014, I was embarking on my first holiday season as newlywed. We’d just gotten married and then returned from our “minimoon“, as the kids call it, in Puerto Rico, where it rained nearly the whole time, but we didn’t care, because it just meant an excuse to nap and watch Law and Order.
Ooh, remember the days when you could nap, and watch TV in the afternoon? (Me either.)
Despite the rain, being anywhere warm, for any amount of time, during the 6-8 months of the year when Chicago makes leaving your house nothing short of pure misery, was wonderful.
To return to the single digit temperatures was a rude awakening to begin with and then – don’t ask my why I remember this – there was some kind of freak accident-slash-planned-maintenance-that-they-forgot-to-warn-us-about with the gas lines that resulted in no heat or hot water for almost 24 hours.
Delightful! Or, as I said, back then:
“…for someone who likes baking with a gas stove or, you know, generally not dying of exposure, it was kind of a bummer.”
I had made this tart before the house started to sprout icicles inside (KIDDING. Mostly.) and used the lack of heat as an excuse to eat practically the whole thing. To stay warm, of course.
This year, it’s less chilly, and we have a working furnace (thank goodness), but I can assure you: this tart tastes just as good in normal, sane temperatures as it does when you’re huddled under an electric blanket with your laptop perched on your lap (as much for the warmth of the machine as to get some work done), and two hoodies on.
We enjoyed this tart this year after a (toasty warm) Thanksgiving dinner, and I must say, it was kind of one of the highlights for me.
I think I described this gluten free pecan tart best in a single word in my original post: creamysilkysweetbutnottoosweetmildlycaramelydeeprichperfection.
You know what I’m saying.
- 1 grain-free pie crust
- 8 large medjool dates soaked in hot water to soften if necessary, and pitted
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons molasses
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (or grassfed butter), melted and slightly cooled
- 1 cup pecan halves (raw)
- Prepare the crust dough and put it into a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes, then preheat the oven to 350F.
- Once preheated, transfer from the fridge to the oven without letting it warm to room temperature and bake for 10 minutes until the edges begin to turn slightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside; do not turn off the oven.
- In the bowl of a food processor, puree the dates, eggs and molasses until the dates are liquified.
- Add the salt, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and pulse a few times to combine.
- With the processor running, add the melted butter in a thin stream.
- Pour the batter into the pre-baked crust and gently smooth into an even layer. Arrange the pecan halves in a single layer on top of the batter.
- In the oven that is still heated to 350F, bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust has turned a deep golden brown and the batter has turned from shiny to matte. A tester may not come out completely clean, but it should only have a few crumbs on it at most.
- Remove from oven and let it cool and set on a wire rack before removing it from the pan to slice and serve.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to a month.