Pecan Tarts: possibly utter failure!

In the past I have made a Pecan Pie Bar found in a magazine ad recipe. They are very well received when I make them. They have more of a traditional pecan pie topping made with corn syrup. This recipe for Pecan Tarts I have found among my mother’s recipe cards. It appealed to me because it does not use corn syrup in the filling. These are the cute little pecan pie-looking cookies. They are also known as Pecan Tassies and there are all kinds of recipes all over the internet. The newspaper clipping that my mom saved adds a note at the end: “By all means spray the tins with Pam for easy removal.”

A year or so ago I purchased a set of mini muffin tins to replace the ones I had that were beginning to rust. These cost me all of a $1 at a tag sale, (Garage Sale for those of us from the Midwest.) This will be the first time use of these pans.

This is a cream cheese short-crust filled with a pecan butterscotch/caramel filling. A short crust is made without a leavening agent. For the crust:

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 6 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups flour

Blend butter and cream cheese and add in flour. Work with hands to bring together as a dough, then chill. The recipe clipping does not say how long to chill so I will put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

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I think I have come up with a nifty way to shape these into the muffin tins: the small end of my mortar, or is it the pestle. Be right back while I “google” it. ….(a few seconds passing)… It’s the pestle!

I also decide to divide the dough into exactly 36 pieces. The recipe said it made 3-4 dozen.

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Now for the filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

I mix this all together with my KitchenAid. Did I tell you the story of this Mixer? It is one I will always cherish. It was a time when I was going through my divorce, being a single parent with middle school aged children, working per diem, and just trying to adjust. Suddenly there appeared a large box delivered to my door. This was the KitchenAid Mixer. Just there. It wasn’t my birthday or any other special day. It came from my brother-in-law and sister. When I called her she said it was her husband’s idea as he thought I could use something nice. Bless him! So whenever I think of one of the most thoughtful things that someone has done for me, this is the event that comes to mind.

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The recipe clipping said to sprinkle the pecans in the tart shells, add some filling, then sprinkle more pecans on top.  I just put all the pecans in the mixture.

Bake this for 15 minutes at 350, reduce heat to 250 and bake another 10 minutes.

Ugly, ugly, ugly!

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I clearly filled them too full. I use a soup spoon to lift them out of the tins after running a knife around the edges. They are underbaked. The Great British Baking Show judges would be very disappointed and I would not get to be Star Baker! (Possibly the soggy bottom!)

I continue with the third pan after scrubbing it and spraying the entire top with cooking spray. I try not to fill these as full. Meanwhile I rack my brain to figure out how to save the first two pans. I decide to put them back in the oven to continue baking for 5 minutes. This may be salvation.

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the bottoms are now baked

Second batch looks a little prettier, or less ugly, whichever your perspective. I also put them back in the oven for five more minutes on a baking sheet. Here they are, for better or for worse. They taste like pecan pies.

So this was an experience for sure. If using this recipe again I will divide it into 48 pieces, use a teaspoon to fill the tart shells, and leave them in the oven at 350 for the full 25 minutes, if not 30.

I like pecan pie. Maybe my next effort will be a cranberry-pecan pie, or the buttermilk pecan pie. That is a good one as it has the crunch of the pecans with the creaminess of a custard.

Happy Baking to all, and be sure to have fun in the kitchen!

 

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