Healthy date and maple "pecan pie" tart (or sort of a turtle sundae)


Dates, pecans, and a little maple syrup with a splash of lemon and orange zest...what's not to love? Except maybe the delectable temptation just when everyone's in post-holiday cleanse mode again. I feel a little guilty posting sweet treats given the timing. Yet one of my New Year resolutions--AGAIN--is to let go of (at least some) guilt. You can see the conflict.

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Actually, this recipe is pretty wholesome, and fits in moderation with my personal reset guidelines. Maybe it'll be acceptable within your limitations, too; if not now, then soon. It's a simple oat and olive oil crust, a date paste with a splash or real maple syrup balanced with a sprinkling or lemon juice and zest, and topped with coarsely chopped pecans...then, if you want to be really decadent, and you don't have to, a drizzle of melted dark chocolate.

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Getting down to making these has been an obsession for a little while, since I discovered I LOVE eating pecans smushed on top of dates. Tastes like pecan pie...yum. That simple combo is satisfying enough, but with a little kitchen play you can also make a tart, tartlets, or mini tartlets, either in a tartlet or a muffin pan. AND, if any of those sound at all appealing to you, what I really think you have to do (and I really HAVE to find a place for this, soon), is forego the crust and make turtle sundaes with the date "jam", pecans, and chocolate drizzle. That would include ice cream of some sort, though, and maybe isn't quite in keeping with your January plans.

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That's all really have to say about this recipe--it's easy, versatile, and SO GOOD.

baby_new_yearSpeaking of SO GOOD, I can't conclude this post without mentioning how my very good, so big by was BRILLIANT on his first flights, to and from CT over New Year for my sister's wedding. He slept, cooed, nursed, and chatted both ways with the bare minimum of fussing. It was an adventure still, especially the enormous runny blowout just before takeoff on the flight out (Dave had to speedily and messily change him on the floor in the back of the plane). Today my Little Monkey smilingly spectated mom's 2nd 5K post-delivery, another good run that happily surprised me. Coming back to fitness is provin to be more fun and less disheartening than I feared, sleep deprivation at all. I think maybe being a Mom toughens a girl up. Enough to let go of a bit of guilt over a cookie now and then. :)

Date and maple "pecan pie" tart

  • 1 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • dash salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 cups dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • splash lemon or orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
  • Optional: dark chocolate, melted, to drizzle over top
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. In a food processor, combine oats, olive oil, salt and juice. Press into a prepared 8-inch pie plate or in a muffin or tartlet pan, lined with baking cups. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine dates, water, maple syrup, lemon or orange juice and zest in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; cook approximately minutes or until most liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently until mixture looks like jam. Cool.
  4. Pour date mixture over crust and top with nuts. Bake for 20 minutes for large tart or 10 minutes for tartlets. When cool, drizzle with melted dark chocolate.