Finally I am onto posting about the things I baked at Christmas! I made these for my mom because she loves pecan tarts/pies/whatever. The crust is a cream cheese dough and it's not really sweet at all. I wasn't sure if this was a good thing (because it paired well with the sweet filling) or a bad thing (because it wasn't like the crusts I'm used to?) But after eating many a pecan tassie, I've decided it's a very good thing. The cream cheese dough is deliciously delicious and a bit flakey. I think I was expecting a more firm/crispy crust but the cream cheese crust is a bit softer. I'll be making these again as they are quite addictive.
The recipe might seem a bit intimidating or time consuming but it's really not that bad. Just make the dough one day, refrigerate, and do everything the next day. I love love loved that I didn't have to roll out dough and cut out little circles. It was so easy to just roll out balls of dough and push them into the mini muffin tin. A bonus is that they freeze amazingly well.
If this sounds good, you might also like:
Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits
Hello Dolly Bars
Apple Pie with Brown Sugar Streusel Topping
Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Adapted from Great Cookies
Makes 4 dozen 1 3/4" tassies.
1 recipe cream cheese pastry (recipe follows)
2 large eggs
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely chopped lightly toasted pecans, divided
1. Divide each rectangle of pastry 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. Chill while preparing the filling.
2. Preheat the oven to 325F.
3. Place the eggs, brown sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
4. 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 full. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1 cup nuts.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown around the edges. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back towards the end of baking time. Let stand 5 minutes. using the tip of a paring knife, run the blade carefully around the edges of the muffin cups to loosen the tassies. When the tassies are cool enough to handle, remove them from the pan and set on cooling racks. The tassies can either be eased out with the tip of the knife. If you only have one mini muffin pan like me, repeat process with the second pan.
Cream Cheese Pastry
The original recipe suggests you do everything by hand but that's not so fun for me so I modified that and did it in my stand mixer.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1/4 tsp salt
1. Using a stand mixer and the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and blended.
2. Mix in 1 cup of the flour and the salt, working until almost incorporated. Mix in another 1/2 cup flour, working until the flour is almost incorporated. Complete the process by kneading in another 1/2 cup flour. Be careful not to overwork.
3. With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a mound, then divide in half and form two 5 inch rectangles. Wrap with plastic. Chill for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.