Apple-Cranberry Pecan Tart Recipe

Give this naturally sweetened tart recipe a try and relish in the taste of a sweet and the thought of eating something healthy.

Winter 2013-2014

  • Photo by Karen K. Will

Yield: 1 Pie

I love baking, and baked goods have always brought me joy in the kitchen. Some of my favorite recipes have been easy to change with healthy subs; others have required rounds and rounds of “do-overs.” This is one of my new favorite recipes. Keep in mind, this goodie isn’t as sweet (cloying, really) as it would have been made with traditional ingredients. I think you will love it all the same.



• 1/4 cup organic pecans
• 1-1/4 cup organic whole-wheat pastry flour
• 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold organic unsalted butter, cubed
• 5 tablespoons ice water


• 1 cup organic pecans
• 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
• 4 tablespoons dried cranberries or cherries, divided
• 6 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, cold and sliced
• 1 large organic egg
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or flour
• 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
• 1/2 cup organic apricot jam, divided
• 2 large or 3 small organic Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced


To prepare the crust:

1. Place the pecans in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and process for 10 seconds.

2. Add the butter and pulse a few times. Add the cold water and pulse until dough sticks together.

3. Turn out onto a work surface, press together and form a ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use, at least 30 minutes.  

4. Turn the disk out onto a large square of floured parchment paper (it’s helpful to tape it to your work surface). Using a rolling pin, roll out the crust to fit a two-piece 11-inch tart pan, about 1/8-inch thick.

5. Transfer the crust to the tart pan by inverting the pan over the crust, then picking up the parchment paper and flipping it over. Carefully peel off the paper. Press the dough up the sides of the pan; fold the overhanging dough back onto itself to 1/4 inch above the edge of the pan.  

6. Place the crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling. 

To prepare the filling:

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine the pecans, sugar, and 2 tablespoons cranberries in a food processor; pulse until finely ground.

3. Add the butter, egg, salt, starch or flour, and almond extract; process until thoroughly combined into a paste.

To assemble:

1. Spread the jam over the tart shell, reserving 2 tablespoons. Using an offset spatula spread the filling mixture over the jam. Place shell in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

2. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons cranberries evenly over the filling. Arrange the apple slices over the tart, fanning them out in two layers. 

3. Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until crust is golden brown and the nut cream is puffed.

4. Transfer the pan to cool on a wire rack.

5. When cool, transfer to a serving plate. Heat the remaining jam and brush over the top of the tart.


The filling and crust will be much darker in color than the picture shows.

Arrowroot starch: A grain-free thickener; use like cornstarch or flour to lightly thicken or bind ingredients. 

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