From Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering


My recipe is adapted from wheat recipes that often use macadamia nuts and corn syrup. Since I am in NH, I use grade B maple syrup and the taste is wonderful!  You can also use British Lyles Golden Syrup which I always used in England for pecan pies etc. and put on my toasted, buttered crumpets.  It’s made from cane sugar and is very tasty. Golden syrup is also safe for those that are corn intolerant as well as gluten intolerant.  I also adapt this to a maple bourbon pecan tart, rather than standard pecan tart.                                                                                                                               

The outcome is very rich and very crumbly! The crumbliness of the shortbread base of the gluten-free version is due to butter, shortbread texture etc., not being gluten-free. The base of my regular wheat flour version also crumbles when fresh. This recipe holds together better when moistness of the pecan topping is absorbed by the shortbread base.

Using an 8×8 pan (Easily double to 9 x 13 inch.)


-6 tbsp (1.5 oz) powdered sugar

-1.5 sticks of butter (6 oz) (earth balance is a good butter substitute, coconut oil does give a coconutty flavor)

-1.5 c (7 oz) my gluten free flour mix or 1+1/3 c/ 7 oz King Arthur gluten-free flour. (King Arthur Flour is just plain flour blend, no xg or baking powder).

-½ tsp xanthan gum

 -pinch of salt



-3/4 cup of pecans or other nuts, coarsely chopped.  If you decide to use macadamias or cashews that are salted, rinse them in warm water and toast in 350* oven for 10 minutes to re crisp.

-1/2 c (4oz) lightly packed dark brown sugar – you can use light brown sugar, it’s not such a rich flavor, but saves you buying 1 lb of dark brown sugar.

-1/2 stick, (2 oz) butter

-2 tbsp cream (try milk/creamer substitute, not as rich but still good)

-3 tbsp maple syrup 

  1. Mix gluten-free flour, powdered sugar, salt and xanthan gum in a food processor or in a bowl. Add butter and run the food processor until fine breadcrumbs form. Or rub butter in by hand in a bowl. Grease an 8×8 inch pan, especially up the sides.  Sprinkle mix evenly over the base of the pan and press down. It looks like a lot of base but it does shrink as it cooks. 
  2. Bake in preheated 350* oven for 35 -45 minutes, until the base is light golden brown. Don’t let it overbrown, it will taste unpleasant. You might need to adjust the time the second time around.  I find if gluten-free baked goods are not cooked sufficiently, then they do taste ‘floury’. If it puffs, press dough down with clean cloth. 
  3. While the crust is baking and nearly cooked. Gently melt butter, sugar, cream and maple syrup together in a non stick pan until sugar is totally dissolved, stir in nuts.  Do not let the mix burn. 
  4. Remove pan from oven, pour nut/butter mix evenly over base and bake in oven for 10 minutes.  The filling will be bubbling.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  I like to run a thin knife around the edge of the pan while the filling is still hot/warm to loosen caramel and make it easier to remove. 
  6. Cut into small fingers.


Chef Oonagh has a Culinary Arts degree and prior to the gluten-free diet and her son’s diagnosis with celiac disease, she always cooked from scratch with real ingredients. “Like” Chef Oonagh on Facebook at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh. Connect, watch and learn from Chef Oonagh’s gluten-free cooking classes on Curious.com.


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