Maple Pecan Pies With Low-Fat Maple Cream

Pecan pie…..the quintessential Southern dessert, is a culinary delight that most of us love but reserve for special occasions. In her quest to create lighter versions of favorite Southern desserts,  my food savvy friend Iris O’ Brien (read her profile here) has shared a twist on pecan pie that is not only rich and satisfying–but lovely as well. Stay tuned for more of Iris’s wonderful creations in future editions of Family Savvy.

Iris maple pecan pies


Maple Pecan Pies with Low Fat Maple Cream

2 cups pecan halves
1 cup maple syrup, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 tablespoons butter
4 medium eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fat free half and half
8 pecan sandie cookies, coarsely crumbled

Place pecans in a large skillet over medium-low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes; set aside. Place 1 cup maple syrup and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; cook 7 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl; whisk in the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Gradually whisk
1/4th of the hot maple syrup mixture into the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining  maple syrup mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly 10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the pecans, reserving 8 pecans; set aside and cool.

In a large cold metal bowl, whip fat free half and half with electric beaters until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup.

Layer 8 clear (6-ounce) dessert dishes with 1 tablespoon crumbled cookies. Top each with 2 tablespoons maple cream and 1/4 cup pecan mixture. Repeat layers with 1 tablespoon crumbled cookies and 2 tablespoons maple cream. Top each evenly with a dollop of maple cream. Garnish with remaining pecan halves.

Yield: 8 desserts