Bourbon-scented Pecan Tart {ModBak}

Having just made sweet tart dough, the first recipe in the Sweet Tarts and Pies section of The Modern Baker, I obviously had to make something to go in it. Looking through the book, this recipe immediately caught my eye. First of all because I love pecan pie and this recipe, with its hint of bourbon, sounded really good. Also, I knew I had almost all the ingredients I needed to make it. And the one I didn’t have? Well, it’s always nice to have an excuse to buy a bottle of Maker’s Mark, isn’t it?

If you’ve never made a pecan pie or tart before, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. I began by heating dark corn syrup and sugar over medium heat.

After the sugar mixture came to a boil, I took it off the heat and added butter and let it melt without stirring.

While the butter was melting, I whisked eggs, salt, and bourbon in a bowl, then I slowly whisked in the syrup.

Nick cautions against overmixing at this point, which would cause the filling to be cloudy instead of clear. He also says to allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes, then skim off the foam. I did this, then stirred in the pecans and dumped the whole thing into the tart pan.


If the filling resembles the proverbial 10 pounds of taters in a five-pound sack, it’s because I made a nine-inch tart crust (the recipe calls for an 11-inch pan) but didn’t scale back the filling. I thought I would have some filling left over, but I was able to squeeze it all in the pan without any overflow.

I baked the tart in a 350°F oven for 35 minutes, until the filling was set and little bubbles were breaking on the surface. I took the tart out of the oven and allowed it to cool — more or less — in the pan.

Oh, who am I kidding? As soon as that bad boy was cool enough to handle without burning myself, I got it out of the pan and onto a plate.

And it wasn’t long after that until I was slicing into it for a taste.

Boys and girls, this is what happens if you cut a pie while it is still too warm

 I wrecked that beautiful tart, and I didn’t care. I had to try it. And let me tell you, it was worth it. This was easily the best pecan tart/pie I have ever tasted. The filling was sweet, rich, and buttery. But what really set it apart was the bourbon.

There is only a tablespoon-and-a-half of bourbon in the whole tart, and you might be tempted to skip it if you don’t drink bourbon or have any on hand. That would be a huge mistake. Without the bourbon, this would be just another delicious pecan tart. The bourbon — which is very subtle, more of a sense than a taste (I can see why Nick calls it “bourbon-scented”) — elevates this tart to a class of its own.  It adds richness, depth, and an aroma that will keep you shoveling this rich tart in your mouth long after you’re full.

Unless you have a strong aversion to bourbon and rich desserts, I guarantee you will love this recipe. But a word of caution: if you bring this tart to your next holiday meal, you’d better bring two. And you should probably plan on bringing it every year.


  1. July 27, 2011 at 11:59 am

    […] Talk about saving the best for last. This is the final recipe I made from the Sweet Tarts & Pies section of The Modern Baker, and what a way to finish! I would have to put this recipe in the top 3 for this section, right up there with the Pumpkin Pecan and Bourbon-scented Pecan Tarts. […]

  2. April 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    […] recipe to see how it would stack up to mom’s normal, back-of-the-can recipe. Having made the bourbon-scented pecan tart, which blew my old pecan pie recipe out of the water, I couldn’t wait to see what Nick would […]

  3. April 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    […] Baker was another easy and delicious tart. I had sweet tart dough left over from when I made the bourbon-scented pecan tart the other night, so this tart came together really quickly. In fact, I mixed this recipe up this […]

  4. Kayte said,

    April 13, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Great photos…and Mark would love that explosion of nuts and filling you have in that 9″ pan…oh, yes, this is one of his favorites. I guess I will go out and score some liquor today. This looks fabulous!

    • gaaarp said,

      April 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      Thanks. I’m sure Mark will love it. You might just, too. Definitely worth a trip to the liquor store.

  5. Heather said,

    April 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Wow, your pictures are amazing! It really looks beautiful and delicious. I think it would be the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving – a nice change from pecan pie – but not so different that you’d miss the pie. I’m going to have to bookmark it and wait patiently. I simply can’t have that in my house unless I have a lot of people here to eat it.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 13, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      This will definitely replace pecan pie on our Thanksgiving table. But I can tell you, there’s no way I’m waiting until then to make this again!

  6. Renee said,

    April 12, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Oh this tart looks so good!! It looks perfect for dessert, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. Did you eat anything else today? 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      April 12, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      I’ve been very restrained. Other than the first day, I have limited myself to one piece per day. And I even shared it with my family.

  7. Abby said,

    April 12, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Love this post! And I agree…this tart was so so so good.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 12, 2011 at 9:44 pm

      Thanks. Writing it made me hungry. I think there’s one piece left, but not for long.

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