Wednesday, September 12, 2012
These are what I've been looking for. The Pecan Bars I posted a few weeks ago got a lot of attention, but they weren't right. They were expensive to make, and had too much sugar and fat. Remember, nine sticks of butter total?? Sure, they were tasty -- hard not to be with butter, sugar, pecans, and chocolate -- but food should leave you craving a little more, not feeling weighed down and in need of a cleansing fast. These tassies are little bites of pecan pie. What appeals to you more? The plentitude of big bars dipped in chocolate, or petite one-bite tassies? In terms of taste, the tassies win hands-down and more closely resemble pecan pie.
From Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich
Makes 24 small pastries
For the pastry
1¼ cups (5.625 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbs sugar
⅛ tsp salt
8 tbs (1 stick)unsalted butter, cold
4 oz cream cheese, cold
For the filling
1 large egg white
¾ cup (5.25 ounces) lightly packed light brown or muscovado sugar
1 tbs unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup (2.625 ounces) pecans, coarsely chopped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 miniature muffin pans with 12 cups each
Stand mixer with paddle attachment or food processor
Make the Dough
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix briefly to distribute the ingredients. Cut the butter into 8 pieces and add them to the bowl. Mix on low speed until most of the mixture resembles very coarse bread crumbs with a few larger pieces of butter the size of hazelnuts. Cut the cream cheese into 1-inch cubes and add them to the bowl. Mix on medium-low speech until the mixture is damp and shaggy looking and holds together when pressed with your fingers, 30 to 60 seconds. Dump the dough onto the work surface, scraping the bowl. Knead two or three times to incorporate any loose pieces. There should be large streaks of cream cheese.
Divide the dough in half, pressing each into a square patty about 4 inches. Wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Grease the muffin cups.
Remove 1 piece of dough from the refrigerator. If the dough is rock-hard, let it sit until it is pliable enough to roll, but not too soft. On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 9-by-11-inch rectangle a scant ⅛ inch thick. With a pastry wheel or a knife, trim the dough to even the edges. Cut the dough crosswise into quarters and then lengthwise into thirds to make 12 squares. Gently fit a square of dough into each cup, allowing the sides to pleat naturally. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Set aside.
Make the Filling
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg white until foamy. Stir in the brown sugar, butter, pecans, vanilla, and salt. Divide the filling among the pastries, using a scant 1 teaspoon for each.
Bake for 15 or 20 minutes, or until the pastry is well-brown on the edges and underneath (lift one out with the point of a knife to check). Transfer in the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the tassies from the pan and let them cool completely on the rack before storing. May be kept in an airtight container for about 3 days.