I have an attention span problem, particularly when it comes to baking. I can't seem to remake a recipe twice most of the time (there are, of course, exceptions). Once I make a recipe, I taste it, I photograph it, I share it, and then I store it away and move on past it to the next recipe. I can get irritated if I have to remake a recipe multiple times when I could be trying something new.
So a few weeks ago I was asked to make pecan pie for a family friend, I looked at it as more of a challenge. I've made pecan pie multiple times and I was frankly bored (not wanting to make an all butter pie crust might have had something to do with it too). I remembered an old episode of Martha Stewart when she made lemon tassies, and thought I'd try the same with pecans.
Tassies are, essentially, a miniature pie or tart. Perhaps not the most creative way I could have gone, but these tassies were delicious. The crust has cream cheese, which is a common ingredient I've noticed in most tassie recipes, and so is soft and flaky. The filling is like one big mouthful of pecan pie. They may not have the wow factor or the homeyness of a classic pecan pie, but they've got all the flavor and are (okay, marginally) healthier. And besides, it's built-in quantity control: you'll thank me later.
Extra note: as you may or may not have noticed, I'm giving my blog a bit of a makeover. It's taking some time since I'm attempting some HTML of my own and it's been a while, but there will be gradual changes made over the next few days.
Adapted from BBC Good Food
Makes 12 tassies
50g (1/2 cup) pecans
50g (1/4 cup) cream cheese (I used spreadable because it was what I had on hand and it worked fine)
50g (1/4 cup) butter, softened
50g (2/5 cup) plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
85g (2/3 cup) pecans
50g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 180C/356F.
To make the pastry, grind the pecans in a food processor, then pulse in the remaining ingredients until the dough starts to cling together. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together with your hands, then divide the dough into 12 small balls. Using your fingers, press each dough ball into the bottom and up the sides of a mini muffin tin. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
To make the filling, toast the pecans in a dry frying pan for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Reserve 12 whole pecans for topping the tassies and roughly chop the rest. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, egg yolk, maple syrup, vanilla, butter and salt until well combined. Stir in the chopped pecans.
Blind bake the chilled pastry cases for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Spoon about 1-2 tsps of the filling into each pastry case and top each one with a whole pecan. Bake for 15-20 minutes (mine took 20) or until the crust is golden and filling has puffed and set. Cool slightly, then serve.