Maple Custards with Sugared Pecans

One of Jose Andres's favorite American sweets is pecan pie. "We love nuts in Spain too, but I confess I find pecan pie a little heavy. This version is my attempt to lighten it up a little." This twist was inspired by tocino de cielo, a rich, eggy cousin of flan.


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  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12
  • Time(Other): plus 6 hr chilling
KEY: Baking, Christmas, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving, Spanish, Desserts, Puddings & Custards, Make Ahead, Staff Favorites

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  • 3 1/4 cups pure maple syrup
  • 16 large egg yolks
  • 4 large whole eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups pecan halves (1/2 pound)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Salt
  • Boiling water
  • Whipped cream, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Spoon 1 teaspoon of maple syrup into each of twelve 1/2-cup ramekins, swirling to coat the bottoms. Arrange the ramekins in a large roasting pan.

  2. In a large stainless steel bowl, whisk the yolks with the whole eggs until blended. Whisk in the remaining 3 cups of maple syrup. Pour the mixture into the ramekins. Carefully pour enough very hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 55 minutes, or until the custards are just set.

  3. Using tongs, immediately remove the ramekins from the hot water and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the custards for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the pecans and stir to coat with the butter. Cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Put the sugar in a large bowl. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pecans to the bowl with the sugar and toss to coat. Transfer the nuts to a baking sheet, shaking off any excess sugar. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Let cool.

  5. Carefully run a thin knife around each custard. Dip each ramekin in a bowl of boiling water, then quickly invert the custard onto a plate. Spoon whipped cream over the custards, garnish with the sugared pecans and serve.

Make Ahead

The custards can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. The sugared pecans can be stored overnight in an airtight container.

Suggested Pairing

Golden-hued wines made from the Moscatel grape have a nectarlike texture and notes of honey, nuts and spices that complement the custard like no other wine.

Contributed By Photo © Akiko Ida & Pierre Javelle Published December 2006

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