My Maple Frangipane Pecan Pie recipe is a delicious tart filled with a rich pecan frangipane flavored with vanilla bean, bourbon, and maple. If you’re asked to bring a dessert this Thanksgiving, bring this one, it’s a new holiday tradition waiting to happen!
This maple frangipane pecan pie is for you pecan pie lovers who want to mix it up a bit this season.
I love the flavor of pecan pie (who doesn’t?) but could never quite get into the ultra sweet gelatinous texture. So I gave my favorite frangipane filling a pecan twist, flavored it with vanilla bean and bourbon, and spread it into a flaky, buttery pie crust. Of course I topped the whole thing off with more pecans brushed with maple syrup. I’m telling you the result is pure pecan loving heaven, that fluffy frangipane filling is lightyears ahead of the competition. It’s…seriously really good.
What is frangipane?
Frangipane is a traditional French pastry filling usually made with ground almonds. You might know it best as the irresistible filling inside almond croissants from the bakery. It also features in my White Peach Frangipane Galette, and my Ranier Cherry Almond Tart. The texture of frangipane is moist, soft, and a little chewy, and perfect as a filling for a tart or pastry. It’s dense and rich without being cloyingly sweet and heavy.
A few simple swaps resulted in an absolutely delicious pecan version of a frangipane filling that I’m LOVING as an alternative to the traditional corn-syrup based pecan pie.
Since almond frangipane usually gets a nice boost of flavor from almond extract in addition to the nuts themselves, I added some vanilla bean paste (you can use vanilla extract, too), a couple teaspoons of bourbon, and a generous (but not overwhelming) dash of salt to this version.
I toast my pecans before blending them into the pecan pie filling, which really brings out their natural nutty, caramel-y flavor.
How to toast nuts
Toasting any kind of nut explodes their flavor and crunch, and it’s so easy, you can’t afford not to do it:
- Preheat your oven to 350F
- Lay out your nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Roast for about 10-15 minutes, giving the nuts a shake or stir every 5 minutes.
- Let cool before using, they’ll crisp up as they cool.
The pecan halves that top the pie are left raw, because they get toasted as the pie bakes. The whole surface is brushed with maple syrup both before going in the oven, and again after it comes out. The syrup gives the top a really nice sweet glaze and glossy shine, plus added flavor.
I love this maple frangipane pecan tart served warm, and it’s just about perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. For perfectly neat slices, however, I recommend cooling the tart completely, even overnight.
This maple frangipane pecan pie is ideal for making ahead
- Let the pie cool completely after baking. Loosely cover with foil and keep on the counter for up to 12 hours. For longer storage, refrigerate.
- The cooked pecan pie can be frozen, just let it cool completely, then wrap in plastic, then in foil, and freeze for up to a month.
Other holiday desserts to wow everybody
- Cranberry Gingersnap Pie ~ you’ve gotta see this one to believe it!
- Black Bottom Bourbon Pecan Pie ~ because everything’s better with chocolate.
- Libby’s New Fashioned Pumpkin Pie ~ the first innovation in the beloved recipe on the can in 75 years!
- Maple Walnut Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting ~ for some people, cake is the ONLY dessert that matters.
A note about tart pans
Tart pans with removable bottoms are great to have in the kitchen. I think they make a more elegant presentation than a regular pie, and tarts are a lot easier to slice and serve, too, thanks to the removable bottom.
I recommend a 9 or 10 inch size, like this one.
Maple Frangipane Pecan Pie
- 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom
For the pie crust (makes 2 crusts)
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup ice water
For the frangipane filling
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 2 tsp bourbon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups ground toasted pecans, see note about making them below
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 70 or so pecan halves, for topping
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, for brushing
To make the pie crust
- Place the cold butter, flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food process and pulse until there are no large chunks of butter. Slowly add the ice water and pulse until the dough comes together.
- Remove the dough from the food processor to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic, and place one in the fridge to chill for at least an hour or so. (Freeze the extra crust for later.)
- Remove the chilled dough from the fridge, and roll out on a lightly floured surface until you have a roughly circular shape about 14 inches or so in diameter.
- Lay the rolled out dough into a 10 inch tart pan with a removeable bottom, and gently press the dough into the pan, pinching off any extra that comes up over the sides of the pan. Place in the fridge to chill again while you make the pie filling.
To make the frangipane filling
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Cream the butter and dark brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, or with electric beaters, for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, and continue to mix until combined.
- Mix in the vanilla, bourbon, and salt.
- Add the toasted pecan meal and the flour, and blend until everything is evenly incorporated. If you are using an electric mixer, I like to give everything one last mix by hand with a spoon or a spatula to make sure all the ingredients at the bottom of the bowl have been evenly combined.
- Spread the filling into the chilled tart crust. Top with the pecan halves, and brush the surface of the tart lightly with maple syrup.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, tenting loosely with aluminum foil towards the end of baking if it seems like it is browning too much. I covered mine with foil for the last 10 minutes or so. The tart should be puffed up, a rich brown color, and not wobbly in the middle at all.
- Once out of the oven, allow to cool slightly and then brush again with maple syrup. Serve warm or allow to cool overnight for easier slicing.