Gluten Free Maple Caramel Pecan Pie Tarts

Everyone loves pecan pie, at least that’s what I thought as a kid. It’s warm, it’s gooey, and it’s fantastic under a pile of whipped cream.

As a kid, my dad always bought my mom those little mini pecan pie tarts from Swiss Colony for Christmas. They were intended as a gift for her, but fortunately for me, she didn’t mind sharing.

I loved eating them when they first came out of the microwave. The microwaved boiling molten center burned my tongue, but combined with the ice cold canned whipped cream, it provided a textual experience like no other.

But then I remember the first time my husband made me a real pecan pie in college and I was like, “Woah!” Gone were the needs for extremes between hot and cold when you had the actual satisfying crunch of real pecans in a fresh baked pie that hadn’t been flash frozen and reheated!

Large pies are good, but considering I just cook for me and my husband, I don’t want to make a whole pie, so it’s back to the tarts! The first time I made these in our new oven, I WAY overcooked them to the point where they had no moisture. At all.

Fortunately, my husband came up with the idea of filling the cups with caramel, and honestly, are there any better fall flavors than maple and caramel? So now I make the tarts, he whips up some caramel, and then we top them with a roasted pecan half for a delicious, crunchy aesthetic!

Ingredients

Crust

-1 + 1/3 cup almond flour
-2 tsp coconut flour
-2 tbsp cold butter
-1 egg
-1-2 tsp water (if dough is too dry)

Filling

-6 tbsp softened butter
-1 tsp brown sugar
-2 tbsp heavy cream
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp maple extract (can also use molasses!)
-1 egg
-1 cup pecans

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a mini muffin pan with coconut oil or butter.
  2. Mix the flours and butter together until a dough forms. Add the egg and pulse until it becomes a dough. If it’s too dry and doesn’t come together, add water a 1/2 tsp at a time until it comes together.
  3. Press the dough into the mini muffin pans, starting at the bottom and spreading it up the sides. Prick it with a fork (or use pie balls if you have them!) and then bake for 10 minutes.
  4. While those are baking, make the filling by mixing the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Then add the heavy cream, extracts, brown sugar, and the egg. Beat together until combined, but not overmixed.
  5. Stir in the pecans in the spatula and then spoon into the crust shells. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Once they’re golden brown on the sides, they should be done!
  6. Let cool and make the caramel sauce. You can also use store bought caramel sauce if you wish! Drizzle it over the tops just before serving and then top them with a roasted pecan half, chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut, or whatever you prefer!
  7. These keep in the fridge for up to a week, but they probably won’t last that long!

How To Make The Caramel

Ingredients

-2 tbsp butter
-4 tbsp heavy cream
-2 tbsp brown sugar
-1 tbsp vodka or bourbon (can use vanilla extract for a non-alcoholic version, but the alcohol does cook off!)

Steps

  1. In a medium-sized skillet, melt together the vodka and brown sugar over medium heat until the brown sugar starts to form like a candy coating. Imagine peanut brittle, but thinner.
  2. Add butter and stir over heat until most of the water and the butter has evaporated.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, add cream, and continue to stir until reduced to caramel consistency.

How To Roast the Pecans

Ingredients

-16 pecans
-1/2 tbsp coconut oil
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp sugar

Steps

  1. Mix the salt, cinnamon, and sugar in a small bowl and then set aside.
  2. Grease the bottom of a small glass pan and then set aside.
  3. Mix the pecans with the coconut oil until greased, then lay them out in the pan. Sprinkle with the salt, cinnamon, and sugar mixture you just created. If you want to throw some cloves and nutmeg in there too, you’re more than welcome to!
  4. Bake at 300 for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and flip them over, then roast them for 2-3 minutes more to prevent overcooking. Every recipe says “until fragrant” but since we can’t smell, you’re just going to have to use a lot of trial and error until it’s done to your liking!

Enjoy!

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