Sunday, June 8, 2008
I have wanted to make Pecan Tassies for a very long time now, but for the life of me I can't figure out why I waited until a day when the heat index hit 105 for me to get around to it. This was not a day to stand around the kitchen fussing with crust and filling and mini-muffin pans with the oven running, but that's what I was doing.
The crust was extremely easy -- butter, cream cheese and flour mixed (but not over-mixed), then chilled. I did that while Chris made pancakes this morning and while the temperature was a reasonable 75, granted, that reasonable 75 was at 8 am, but it was at least reasonable.
I put off the rest of the tassie adventure until much later in the afternoon when the temperature had surpassed anything close to reasonable -- I guess I figured with it that hot outside running the oven couldn't make that much of a difference. *sigh*
Before attempting the tassies I figured I would love them. Pecans, sweet syrupy filling, crust... yeah, my kind of thing. While making the tassies I figured I was going to hate them because they were a pain to make. I couldn't figure out how much dough to use for each one, which means some of the tassies have tall, thick crusts, and others don't. I also ended up throwing away at least half of my brown sugar syrup mixture which really annoyed me considering how much groceries cost these days.
I took them out of the oven after the recommended time, then went and ate dinner (grilled pizza -- yum!!!) After dinner I took the tassies out of the pans and realized they needed to bake a bit longer. *grumble* After all that, and seeing the rough appearance of my tassies, I expected to hate them. Luckily I didn't.
The crust is not sweet at all, in fact, it's just a touch tangy from the cream cheese. The filling isn't quite the same as pecan pie filling, but it's super sweet and a little goes a long way. And of course, toasted pecans in all of that makes for a yummy, delicious treat. I wouldn't really recommend making them on a hot summer day, but I would definitely recommend making them.
Cream Cheese Pastry:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
2 cups all purpose flour (you'll need more to use to roll them out later)
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 cups lightly packed, dark brown sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely chopped, lightly toasted pecans
To make the pastry: cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth -- about 2 minutes. Slowly add the 2 cups of flour until incorporated -- be careful not to overmix the dough. Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325.
Divide the chilled dough into 24 1-inch squares. Roll each square into a ball and place into mini-muffin tins. Mold the dough into each hole, pressing it up the sides. Put the pans into the fridge while preparing the filling.
To make the filling: whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, butter, salt and vanilla until well blended.
Distribute 1 cup of the pecans among the pastry-lined muffin cups. Empty the filling into a measuring cup with a spout and pour the mixture into the tins, filling them no more than 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1 cup nuts.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back toward the end of the baking time. Let stand 5 minutes. Using your finger and a fork, run the blade carefully around the edges of muffin cups to lossen them.