Pecan Kumquat Tarts spring from salad, parking shortage

Kumquat pecan tarts

These lovely bits of sweet and citrus began with a recipe from Tartine, a bakery in San Francisco we were unable to visit last time we were there because there was no place to park, a problem the wonderful city is still figuring out how to manage. They also arrived because of a salad Michelle told Steve about some time ago. Steve remembers it had lentils and/or cabbage and citrus, but as she described its potential deliciousness, Michelle took exception to the inclusion of raw citrus peel. Asked what he thought about the dinner salad, Steve (who has been known to eat lemon wedges, peel and all, as a snack) suggested substituting kumquats, little sweet-tangy globes that have been called “the little gems of the citrus family.”


A couple of weeks later at the grocery Steve spied organic kumquats and remembered Michelle’s salad, so he bought some. Returning home, he presented them to Michelle—who had moved on to other culinary thoughts and completely forgotten what and where the recipe might be. (It can be argued that Michelle looks at too many recipes.)

Kumquat pecan tarts

While Steve would have been happy to snack on the kumquats, Michelle decided she might be able to use them in some fashion. That led to the first Tartine cookbook, which led to a nut and kumquat pie, which led to these delightful tarts. We found them similar to pecan pie, but with a great citrus tang that cuts the sweetness. Perhaps there will come a day when Michelle remembers her kumquat salad. But until then, we’ll be quite happy with these tarts.

Kumquat pecan tarts


(adapted, barely, from Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson’s Tartine)

  • ten 3-3/4″ tart shells, partially baked*
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. corn syrup
  • 2 TB bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 TB butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 c. pecan halves
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced kumquats

Combine sugar, syrups, bourbon and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to combine. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring. Let cool to room temperature. (If you don’t let it cool, the eggs will curdle when you add them.)

Add vanilla and eggs and stir well. Then stir in pecans and kumquat slices.

Place the tart shells on a baking sheet covered with foil. Fill shells with pecan mixture, making sure to evenly distribute the kumquat slices.

Bake in a 350° F oven for about 30-35 minutes until filling has just set. Cool on a rack before removing from pans.

*Unless you roll the dough incredibly thinly, this will take about 1-1/2 batches of Steve’s pâte brisée. The original recipe is for a 10″ tart. You can do that. Just cook it longer.


    • I have to say, this was the best sweet I’ve made in a long time. Usually I lose interest quickly and am thinking about the next thing. But with these I keep thinking: OMG there are more in the freezer!!

  1. Bil of Bil's

    As a kid, I thought kumquats were like jewels. At Christmas they would be scattered throughout a basket of fruit that would come in the mail. How about making the Shaker Lemon Pie by substituting kumquats for the lemons? Not completely unlike a Meyer lemon. BTW, I bet your tarts were delicious.

  2. I like kumquats, partly because they look so cute! What an interesting flavour combination. I’ll have them opped with some lightly spiked orange liqueur cream or creme fraiche , please?

  3. Of course you turn a beautiful salad memory from California into an elegant and gorgeous tart. Greg will love the pecans in these and Shanna the kumquats (good Steve came across some – so hard to find) and bourbon. Michelle, these tarts could turn anyone into a bourbon-loving Kentuckian. 🙂 We will try this soon; ironically, I received my first Tartine book in the mail last week from a fellow blogger! The only problem with these muffins is that they are small, so I would probably not eat just one and go for a good three or four.

    Michelle, I recently had lemons candied in lemoncello on a tart, spring salad made for me by a friend. They were not overly sweet and so delicious. Candied kumquats… hmmmm.

    • Yeah, it is a problem with pecan pies. I really like them, but better in tart form where the filling is really thin. The kumquats fixed everything that’s often wrong with them. (The recipe did suggest as a substitute lots of orange zest.)

  4. These pictures are beautiful! I’m a big of Tartine’s bread book (I’ve made their country loaf, brioche, pizza and a salad) and if this is any indication, I think it need to buy the others.

  5. Ah, Michelle, I know the conundrum of loving a recipe, making mental notes of ingredients and snapping them up when they cross one’s path only to forget where that lovely recipe was from… I am still wrecking my brain where I had seen gum arabicum used in something amazing! Great tartelettes and totally, ways to dangerous for me right now. Happy Easter, Nicole

    • I can’t take any credit for it, except for finding the recipe! I’d never in a million years have thought of it myself. So good. And I think there are two in the freezer. At least for now…

  6. These must have been soooo delicious! Kumquats are hard to find and so expensive in Barcelona, so much so that the few times I’ve ever bumped into them, the price made me do a double take and double think… 😦

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