Sweet potato pecan tart

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Recipes by Karen Gros | 0 comments

Sweet potato pecan tart

Do you love pecan pie, but not the gooey corn syrup that makes up the conventional filling?  I used to eat the pecans off my mom’s pecan pies (to her fury!), but even with the monumental sweet tooth that I had as a child, that filling was just too rich and too sweet.  Our sweet potato pecan tart offers just the right balance of sweet and substance, topped with golden buttery pecans.  Gluten-intolerant?  No problem.  The tart is made with a buttery almond crust.


Funny enough, it was at Killer Shrimp in Los Angeles 20 years ago where I first ate what was called, “sweet potato Bourbon pecan pie.” This recipe was inspired by that one, as well as my mom’s pecan pie ~ using sweet potato for the filling as a way to eschew overly the sweet and unhealthy corn syrup. It’s wholesome and delicious, and enhanced with a little maple syrup, provides just the right balance of sweetness and substance. Grade B is actually less sweet, stronger tasting, and more nutritious than Grade A syrup, but either may be used. The topping marries pecans with good old-fashioned Ozarks sorghum molasses.

Recipe by Karen Gros.

Makes one 10-inch tart. Serves 8-12

1 recipe sweet almond pastry crust
2 cups cooked sweet potato (see below for cooking method)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites (reserved from pastry recipe)
½ cup Grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground clove
½ teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon (Source: The Spice Boat)
Pinch of ground cardamom (Source: The Spice Boat)
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups pecan halves, toasted for 5 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F. oven
1 whole egg
¼ cup sorghum molasses, such as Bekemeier’s (do not use blackstrap molasses)
Pinch of salt

Maple whipped cream, optional, garnish:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Prepare the pastry crust as directed in the following recipe. Make a homemade foil ring to avoid over-browning the edge of the tart crust: Start with a square piece of foil that just extends beyond your tart pan. Fold the sheet evenly in quarters, and cut a circle out of the center. Open it up, and fit it to your tart pan; trim as necessary so that the pie filling will be completely exposed, while the crust edge will be covered.
  2. Wash & scrub two medium sweet potatoes, and wrap individually in foil. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake in a non-preheated oven set to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until very tender when pierced with a skewer. Remove from oven, open the foil to cool enough to handle; spoon flesh out of skins, reserving two cups for tart.
  3. Melt two tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat; cook the sweet potato, stirring often, for about 5 to 10 minutes to eliminate any excess moisture. Place the sweet potato, eggs, egg whites, maple syrup, extract, spices, salt, and melted butter in the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture becomes creamy and completely smooth, stopping to scrape as necessary. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Pour sweet potato mixture into the prepared tart crust. Secure the homemade foil ring, and bake for 20 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven, and set aside while preparing pecans.
  5. Lightly beat the whole egg together with the sorghum and pinch of salt, and toss with the pecans. Gently pour the pecans atop the tart. Using two forks, gently arrange them evenly in a single layer. Secure the foil ring, and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or so, until tart is set and slightly puffed.
  6. Serve at room temperature, with a dollop of maple whipped cream, if desired.

Do ahead: Cooked sweet potato may be used immediately upon cooking (once cool enough to handle); or it may be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen in an airtight container for 6 months. Tart may be made the night before and kept at room temperature, covered with a dishtowel.


sweet potato pecan tart served1