Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Pecan Tassies

Pecan pie is such a big thing this time of year.  I'm more of a fruit pie person but I still like just a bite of pecan pie.  When I was a kid, my stepdad's mom used to make a cookie called pecan tassies (she also made apricot-coconut tassies as well, another recipe I'm itching to try).  Pecan tassies are like mini pecan pies.  You make little crusts in mini muffin tins or molds and fill them with a filling of your choice, in this case, pecan filling.  Bake them and voila - mini bite size pies.  I can't believe I didn't try this sooner.  The possibilities for tassies are endless, or as endless as pies! This brought back a favorite holiday cookie from my childhood.  I used a recipe from my favorite Baked Explorations cookbook, from that fabulous Brooklyn bakery.  It was delicious - a bite of heaven!  This is a true Southern holiday cookie classic.

Pecan Tassies (recipe from Baked Explorations)
2 sticks unsalted butter
6 oz cream cheese
1 T sugar
2 cups all purpose flour

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 T vanilla extract
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped coarsely

In the basin of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until lump free.  Add the sugar and beat to combine.  Then add the flour one half cup at a time, beating until a dough is just formed.  You could also do this by hand, like when making an old-style pie.  Pinch off walnut sized pieces of dough and roll into balls.  Set aside.  You will get about 40 balls.  Place each ball in a mini muffin tin and use your fingers to press each ball into the sizes of the muffin mold.  I used silicon muffin tins, which make it much easier to get them out when they are done baking. After making the shells, chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling by whisking the two eggs and adding the brown sugar until completely combined.  Add the vanilla and salt and whisk again.  Then add 1/2 a cup of the chopped pecans.  Spoon the filling into the tassie shells and top with the remaining half a cup of chopped pecans.

Bake in an oven preheated to 350 for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven to 250 and bake another 10-15 minutes until the filling is set.  Allow to cool for thirty minutes before removing from the silicon mini muffin molds.


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