Maple Cream Tart

November 17, 2012

In Cooking from Every Angle, we hear from our fearless leaders: Food52 co-founders Amanda & Merrill.

Today: Amanda goes monochromatic with this Maple Cream Tart.

Maple Cream Tart

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I'm sure you don't need another Thanksgiving dessert recipe to add to your list, and yet I must contribute just one more. This one, this maple cream tart, will go toe to toe with your pumpkin pie, and put any other dessert on the canvas.

It's the Tom Wolfe of tarts, nattily dressed in a single color. Its maple cream is gently sweet and as serene as its dune palette. The tart has a press-in crust (ideal for the holidays when counter space is at a premium) and a filling that can be whisked together in 2 minutes.

Make it the day before. Chill it in the fridge. Embrace its serenity.

Maple Cream Tart minus a slice

Maple Cream Tart

Adapted from Left Bank in New York City

Makes one 9-inch tart

Tart Pastry:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Maple Cream Filling:

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (preferably grade B)
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Creme fraiche or Greek yogurt, for serving

See the recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


Alexandra S. November 20, 2012
Made this this afternoon — Amazing! Thanksgiving has been saved. I just tossed my third corn syrup-less pecan pie in the trash. Maple Cream Tart it will be. Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks so much for all of the wonderful recipes.
Amanda H. November 20, 2012
Fantastic -- and thanks for letting me know! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Vicky K. November 20, 2012
Seriously irresponsible "food". I can't justify feeding myself or my family pure butter and sugar.
Amanda H. November 20, 2012
The best part is that you don't have to -- this recipe is here for people who want and enjoy desserts like this.
Rosie'sJoy November 20, 2012
Oh my God, I made this last night while my eldest was doing his homework! It is so easy and the taste is incredible. I did add some Maple Extract to enhance the maple syrup taste. Exquisite!
Orange N. November 20, 2012
Exceptionally good but exceptionally sweet! Served with unsweetened whipped cream which balanced the sweetness nicely.
Amanda H. November 26, 2012
Yes, and maybe something even tangier, like creme fraiche or yogurt. Thanks for trying the recipe!
BlueKaleRoad November 19, 2012
Just last night I made my list of pies...and now I've added this one. There's always room for more pie and I can't resist anything maple. Thanks for sharing it! Happy Thanksgiving!
Sarag November 19, 2012
If a recipe is difficult I always try to break it down to... So why do I want to mess with this lovely and straightforward recipe? Probably because I should be waxing the table or dusting the chandelier or polishing serving pieces.... I agree with that spongey belly comment., which makes me think of pecan pie....which makes me think this maple cream could be the innards of a great pecan pie....or maybe the pecans get toasted and ground up ad incorporated in the crust? Or maybe I just stick with the carefully selected dessert menu I already crafted and save this tart to bake in all its glorious simplicity at Christmas.
Christian R. November 19, 2012
I think I'll choose this over the pumpkin pie. Just for a change.
Audrey November 18, 2012
Made this yesterday-- it is incredibly beautiful, came together so easily and was absolutely lovely. The filling was tooth-achingly sweet, though, so I wonder whether my maple syrup was to blame. I used grade A, since it was what I had on hand-- perhaps others might be sure to stick with grade B! (I don't know if that could really have an effect on the sweetness of the filling, but just a note.)
Amanda H. November 18, 2012
This is interesting -- we didn't find ours that sweet but we did use Grade B. I'd be surprised if there was that much difference between the types of syrup, but perhaps there is!
Audrey November 22, 2012
Remade with grade B-- and problem solved. Perfectly balanced. That'll teach me to veer off-course from a pastry recipe!
Amanda H. November 22, 2012
Am so relieved to hear this -- and, wow, thanks for trying it a second time! Happy Thanksgiving!
thebookelf November 18, 2012
wow! no egg!
Cpprbull November 18, 2012
Oh, man...I'm makin' this Wednesday.
SusanMurie November 18, 2012
I wonder if coconut milk would work instead of cream. I'd like to make a vegan version for my daughter.
SusanMurie November 18, 2012
I meant coconut cream. Anyone know if it would substitute well for the cream?
Amanda H. November 26, 2012
I don't know off hand if it would work 1:1 -- but seems worth trying. I'd worry about how the flour would behave as a thickener, once the coconut milk/cream gets hot. If you try this, please report back!
SusanMurie November 28, 2012
Will do!
SusanMurie December 27, 2012
I made the vegan version for Christmas and it came out beautifully. It was a big hit with everyone vegan and non-vegan alike. I served it with a choice of plain whipped heavy cream or Rice Whip. The texture of the pie was similar to pecan pie filling but more smooth and light, less sweet, with a nice maple flavor. I also made the same crust recipe but with coconut oil (which is solid at room temp). Thanks for the great recipe. So simple and so good.
SusanMurie December 27, 2012
I used coconut milk from the can that I shook to blend the thick and thin parts of it. That has the consistency of heavy cream. Coconut milk from a carton which is for drinking would not work. All measurements were the same as the original recipe.
Lisakb November 18, 2012
You had me at MAPLE CREAM! I loved maple sugar candy when I was a kid; now I only use Grade B maple syrup (on and in everything) because it has such a rich flavor.
As for pecan is my husband's favorite, and we found an amazing lightened version on the Eating Well website last year. It has a press in pan crust, is a bit thinner, and adds dried cherries to cut the sweetness (you don't really taste them, but it works!) I have also tried subbing melted dark choc. for the cherries, which is also excellent! (I didn't really like the cherries with the chocolate, though I love the choc. covered dried cherries from Trader Joe's.) You can find the pie recipe at: Happy Turkey Day!
lorigoldsby November 18, 2012
I'm glad you didn't submit this to the pies and tarts contest...I'm looking forward to trying it...think it will look lovely next to my tangerine almond tart!
Amanda H. November 26, 2012
They would be great together -- like this idea!
witloof November 18, 2012
Yes oh yes oh yes. I don't like pumpkin pie and pecan always seems like waaay too much after Thanksgiving dinner. This looks perfect.

Speaking of which, do you think this crust would work with pecan pie, just in case I can't persuade my peeps to switch?
Amanda H. November 18, 2012
Yes, it's pretty classic crust so should work with pecan pie. Good luck persuading!
jenniebgood November 18, 2012
This looks wonderful Amanda. The slice in the pic is showing just the tiniest bit of soft creamy underbelly and is making my mouth water! I love the simplicity of it.
Amanda H. November 18, 2012
That's what we liked about it, too. Just really pure and straightforward, and if you like maple syrup, it's a lovely expression of it.