Happy almost Thanksgiving! I’ll be celebrating the holiday in earnest this week on the blog (minus drunk uncle Gary and the inevitable family drama) with delicious healthy recipes for your Thanksgiving dinner and beyond.
Now, onto the good stuff: the food. These Salted Caramel Pecan Pie tarts are a riff on one of my favorite Thanksgiving desserts, Pecan Pie. While the base of a pecan pie is actually quite healthy – the pecans – in traditional recipes, those innocuous nuts are doused in both cane sugar and corn syrup. This version of healthy pecan pie uses a simple almond meal shortbread to create a buttery, grain free crust. Atop that is the recipe’s secret, superstar ingredient: the caramel sauce.
The caramel sauce uses only dates, almond butter, vanilla and coconut oil to make something that tastes exactly like refined sugar laden caramel. I love using my Vitamix to make this, as it creates a truly silky smooth result, but if you don’t have one, I recommend using a food processor: a normal blender won’t work nearly as well.
The trick is starting on the lowest possible setting, then letting it go around a bit, scraping down the sides if necessary, until it begins to become creamy.
Then you can turn up the speed for the final few seconds, resulting in an ooey-gooey, perfect healthy caramel.
A sprinkle of Maldon sea salt takes these truly over the edge: all of the flavors of the nutty, buttery base with the toasted pecans and the sweet, gooey caramel sauce are enhanced and highlighted by those crunchy little white nuggets on top.
Topped it with cream and voila: a Pecan Pie Tart that even guests who hate traditional healthy food won’t be able to get enough of. I’m absolutely obsessed with these, and I’m sure you will be too. They also come together surprisingly quickly, and there’s something so fun and cute about perfectly portioned tarts (I’ve always preferred them to pies myself).
Remember to stay tuned for the rest of the week for more awesome Thanksgiving recipes, and don’t forget to enter to win your own Vitamix (details are at the beginning of the post). Enjoy the healthy pecan pie goodness!
This post is brought to you by Vitamix, one of my beloved brand partners. I only work with brands I truly love and adore; thank you so much for supporting the companies that make Sprouted Routes possible.Print
- 1.5 cups almond meal or almond flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2.5 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups dates, pitted and soaked in boiling water for 10 – 20 min, then drained
- 4 tsp coconut oil or ghee
- 6 tbsp unsalted almond butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups raw pecans
- Sprinkle of Maldon sea salt
- Whipped cream of choice (I used coconut), to serve
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix together all ingredients, pressing together with your hands, until it can be pressed into a ball. Let sit in fridge for 10 minutes, then distribute evenly between 12 baking cup-lined muffin tins, pressing the dough firmly down in the base. Use your thumbs to create an indent in the middle of each muffin tin, so that it resembles a traditional tart shape. Place muffin tin in freezer for 10 minutes, then bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely (at least 15 minutes) before adding caramel/pecan topping.
- Spread the pecans in a thin layer on a baking sheet and pop into the oven after you take the shortbread out. Let toast until fragrant and golden brown, usually about 10 – 15 minutes, then remove from oven.
- Load all ingredients into Vitamix or food processor. If using Vitamix, start on the lowest setting and blend until all ingredients are combined, then go up to 4 or 5, scraping down the sides, until the caramel is creamy. If using a food processor, process until creamy.
- Mix together toasted pecans and caramel sauce, then press into muffin tins, pushing the caramel/pecan mixture down to really fill the space. Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt, then let firm up in for 10 minutes in the freezer before topping with whipped cream of choice and serving. Makes 12 tarts.
These will keep, fully assembled, for up to 4 days in the fridge. Wait until just before serving to top with whipped cream.