Walnut Maple Pie

Where my parents live in Sacramento, their house is surrounded by huge walnut trees. The housing development is in what was formerly a commercial walnut orchard. When I was younger, the trees blanketed the neighborhood with shade in the blazing hot valley summers, and in the fall, all of us kids spent weekends picking walnuts. We harvested 500 lbs of walnuts a year, just from our five trees. These days the trees are getting old, two of them are already gone and the other three are just hanging in there, not really producing much. Still, we have a special affinity for walnuts. Growing up, pretty much any recipe calling for pecans we would just substitute walnuts. Which is how I first started making walnut pie. At its simplest, it’s just a pecan pie for which you swap out the pecans for walnuts. But walnuts can be a little more bitter than pecans, so for this particular version, I’ve decided to use a dark maple syrup instead of the more commonly used corn syrup. The sweet maple flavor helps to balance whatever bitter edge the walnuts may have. Like our pecan pie, this walnut maple pie is not overly sweet. I’m quite pleased with it (my parents both call it a winner!) and hope you will be too.

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Walnut Maple Pie Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 8 servings.

Use a dark maple syrup (US grade B) for this recipe if you can. It has a much stronger maple taste than Grade A.

Ingredients

  • 1 9-inch pie shell, frozen for at least 30 minutes (see pie crust recipe)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped walnuts
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup maple syrup (grade B)
  • 1 Tbsp dark rum (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Method

1 Preheat oven to 375°F. In a bowl, mix together the beaten eggs, maple syrup, rum (if using), vanilla extract, melted butter. Sprinkle with flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk until smooth.

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2 Spread the chopped walnuts over the bottom of a prepared pie shell. Pour the maple syrup egg mixture over the walnuts. Place in the preheated oven on the middle rack. Place a cookie sheet on the rack underneath to catch any drippings from the pie crust.

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3 Bake at 375°F for 40-45 minutes. After about 20 minutes (about halfway through the baking), you may want to tent the pie crust edges with foil, or use a pie protector, so that the edges don't get burnt.

By the way, don't worry if the surface of the pie "cracks" while cooking. The pie filling will puff up while hot (because of the eggs), and then deflate while it cools.

4 Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving.

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40 Comments

  1. Amber

    Yay! A few years ago, I had my first walnut pie at a friend’s house. I’ve been looking for a good recipe ever since. Can’t wait to see the look on Brendan’s face when I make this! :) Thanks!!

  2. lynn @ the actor's diet

    this looks terrific – i would throw in some chocolate chips too….

  3. Christine

    What a delicious idea! I can’t wait to make this. Now quick! Go out and plant a replacement walnut tree for the old, ailing ones. Plant them for the next generation!

  4. Carol

    You have totally simplified my life! I have a recipe for pecan pie (I too substitute walnuts) but it calls for carmellized brown sugar and sweet cream, etc. and is so finicky.Many thanks!

  5. Katrina

    This pie sounds delightful!

  6. Tracy

    This is the second nut pie I’ve found in the last week that I want to make. I wonder if a little coconut would taste okay in there too.

  7. Michael

    This looks awesome, Elise – thanks!

  8. Jen

    I’ve been wanting to make a maple dessert for thanksgiving and this looks perfect! Thinking about maybe trying to convert it into square/bar cookie form though, since I’m not supposed to bring a pie. Hm…

  9. Mary

    Beautiful pie – lovely to break from the traditional pecan and use walnuts – how lovely for your parents to have all those walnut trees
    Mary x

  10. Dawn

    If you want to reduce the bitterness of the walnuts, just blanch them in boiling water for 3 mins, drain and dry on paper towels. Then use them as above.

  11. Audry

    If you soak the walnuts over night and dehydrate them (for any use, not just pie) not only do they become more nutritious, but they lose that bitterness.

  12. Sylvia

    I’ve made this many times and I love it! However, at $13 for 24oz of maple syrup, I use light corn syrup and ½ tsp(or to taste) maple extract.

  13. Chit

    Hi Elise,

    Where I come from maple syrup is rare and outrageously expensive…what can I substitute maple syrup with? I would love to bake this recipe. Thanks…

    Chit from the Philippines

    Hi Chit, you could use a cup of light or dark corn syrup with a tablespoon of molasses. You need the molasses for the flavor. ~Elise

  14. jenny

    How do I find out what grade is my syrup? I’m using Kirkland Signature Maple Syrup. Does anyone know what grade is this? Thanks. Also thanks to Dawn and Audry for the useful tips.

  15. Rosalee

    I absolutely (((((LOVE)))))) Amber’s suggestion about chocolate chips as part of this pie, but please make them semi sweet
    :-)

  16. Kurt

    If you soak the walnuts in cold water for 30 minutes it reduces the bitterness. You can dry them on a cookie sheet at 350.

  17. jjmcgaffey

    Jenny – at least in the picture on the web, Kirkland Signature is Grade A (which is what I would expect) – it says on the label, right under the word Maple. Grade A is thinner, clearer, with a milder maple flavor – most of what’s offered as maple syrup is Grade A (there are sub-grades, Light Amber, Medium Amber, Dark Amber). Grade B is darker, less translucent, and has a stronger, broader flavor (sort of like molasses and ‘robust’ molasses – yellow label and green label). Personally I prefer Grade B for everything, including on pancakes – but then I cook with blackstrap molasses, too.

    You can find Grade B maple syrup in places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods – I’m not aware that Costco has it. But even at TJs, there are 4-5 Grade As and maybe one or two Grade Bs – just read the label, it’s nearly always on there. If there’s nothing about a grade, I’d assume Grade A.

  18. Tina

    For Jenny: Generally, unless it is specified on the syrup bottle, it is Grade A Light or extra light amber. Grade B is a little harder to find, but definitely worth looking for, especially for baking. The lighter grades don’t retain their flavor well when you cook with them.

    Elise, the pie looks divine…I’ve never seen a walnut I didn’t like! I bet it would be even better with black walnuts!

  19. Sarah

    Thanks for the recipe and to everyone that posted bits, I have made notes of them all especially the addition of chocolate chips and blanching of the walnuts first. I am putting it on my list of things to bake for my family.

  20. Betsy

    Mmmmm. Hazelnuts/filberts would be yummy too.

  21. mantha

    Oh heaven — maple walnut anything! We had maple walnut ice cream as kids in New England — have not seen it in years, This pie looks beautiful, and I can really taste it already. Thanks for the recipe!

  22. Connie / Marinating Online

    I have a big bag of walnuts and this looks perfect for t-day. Thanks for the recipe.

  23. Jay Geneske @ Local Me

    I’m amazed by this. Do you think someone could add bourbon or whiskey in place of the rum? Perhaps give it a smoky feel? Can’t wait to make this dish. Seasonal, (mostly) local, delicious.

    Sure, you could easily swap out the rum for whisky. ~Elise

  24. Beth

    Oh that looks amazing. I’m not a huge fan of pecans, but I lurve walnuts.

  25. April was in CT now CA

    I’ve put this on my menu for Thanksgiving! I think I’m going to do half walnuts and half pecans because I’ve got a lot of each. Thanks so much for sharing, it looks scrumptious!

  26. naz

    Can I make this using another type of base i.e not a pastry base? Thanks

    Your guess is as good as mine. ~Elise

  27. Alison@cookingwithfriends

    I really love the Maple syrup idea instead of corn syrup. I’ll have to give that a try. Yum! I hope you have a wonder and full Thanksgiving!

  28. Jackie

    I remember when there were walnut groves in that area. My mother had relatives there and we visited when I was a kid. The walnuts were a novelty to us since we had a yard in what had once been a pecan orchard.

  29. Becki's Whole Life

    I made your pie crust last night and it was not only very tasty and flaky, but it was so easy to work with…awesome!

    Maple and walnut together in a pie sounds delish. I am making pecan pie for Thanksgiving, but this is kind of making me wish that I had some walnuts to make this. Yum, great recipe!

  30. Noodle

    Elise,
    Of the 5 pie crust recipes that you have, which one did you use for this pie?

    Thanks.

    The all-butter crust. ~Elise

  31. Natalie

    This pie is really tasty! Not too sweet and all the good flavors of walnut. The recipe could be adjusted to make a tad more filling. It rises a little while baking, but doesn’t quite fill the plate. It also is kind of loose and falls apart while you’re eating it, but again, I don’t mind looks when it tastes so great!

  32. Amy

    I made this pie for our work Thanksgiving potluck and pie baking contest and I won! Thanks so much for sharing a great recipe. :)

  33. Radka

    I am about to bake the Walnut Maple pie. I don’t have to prebake the pie shell, do I? Thank you.

    No, you do not need to prebake the shell. ~Elise

  34. Tessa

    Do you think this would be better the next day? As in, bake it the day before one plans on serving it? Some things really settle into their flavors the second day but the egg/custard makes me unsure….

    Thanks for the simple recipe! Perfect for my thanksgiving celebration here in France!

    Tessa

    I don’t know. I found it good both days. ~Elise

  35. Masdevallia

    This was the best pie on our Thanksgiving table this year. Out of three deserts, it was TOPS! Thanks!

  36. Melissa

    I’ve never been much of a fan of Walnuts, but this pie is heavenly!!! The smell was driving me nuts, it was so good! lol I changed it up a little and made a pâte sucrée crust. Soooo delicious, will definetely be making this pie again! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  37. Kamala

    Loved it! I used half grade B maple syrup and 1/2 dark corn starch bc I ran out of the former. Also added a dash of maple extract from whole foods which I love! Got loads of compliments!

  38. Steve

    Making this tonight and have been looking forward to doing so for the last few weeks! It looks delicious…

  39. Barbara

    Elise: I come to your blog every holiday at the last minute when I decide that what I was making won’t be enough and I need one more thing! God bless you for always having that perfect recipe to add to my holiday meal! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  40. Laura (Tampa BookWorm)

    One year I accidentally used walnuts once instead of pecans for a pecan pie and it turned out really well. I love the idea of maple syrup though. Will have to try this!

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