Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassies

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.

Tassies in Pans
Mini-muffin tin on the left, and fluted tartlet pan on the right.
The crust is great, flaky and just slightly tangy due to the cream cheese.  Like all mini-tarts, they take a little bit of time to put together rather than one large tart or pie.  I used a mini-muffin pan, and also a fluted square tartlet pan (the push-up bottoms make for easy removal).  The square wells are a little bigger than the recipe calls for, so I cut the dough into nine squares instead of a dozen for that pan.  The baking times stay the same.  The filling is whipped up in a flash.  I top each tassie with a whole pecan for garnish, and for more crunch and pecan flavor.  This version, it's a keeper.

Pecan Tassies
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.


  1. These pecan tassies have my name written all over them ;)
    They are so small and cute ....i want to eat every single one in that

    1. Don't let the size fool you -- 2 or 3 fill you up! :)

  2. Oh Shirley, these look so crazy-good! I, too, only started having pecan pies in recent years and they sure are great! I developed the Pecan Tartlet for a baby shower that I catered back in the Spring. For 80 people, I was definitely not going to make a bunch of pies or mini pies and have to slice them up. Like your Pecan Tassies, mine are easy to just pop in your mouth for that nostalgic flavor and crunch of a pecan pie :-) Here's the recipe if you'd like to try them out:

    I went over to your Pecan Bars post and ooh! They look GOOD. But ooh, NINE sticks of butter! Oy :-( Although I know I shouldn't, I will probably try those out, too! Perhaps I'll cut the recipe in half.

    Thank you so much for sharing about your pecan adventures!

    1. Thanks, Hester! If you make the Pecan Bars, you might want to have 80 people waiting to eat them. They are so rich and heavy, and the recipe makes a lot. Your tartlets look real good, perfect for a baby shower.

  3. I love baking pan with the little squares--I want one like that! I made tassies for Christmas one year and they were so good. I should really make them again this year!

    1. Looks like King Arthur no longer carries it, but it's available here:

      Tassies are so great for Christmas!

  4. Oh these look good and I am in agreement with you on the wanting not to feel weighed down

  5. How cute! I would have to make more, cause it would be difficult to stop eating them..

    1. You could double the recipe, but it might surprise you how filling they are too. The one- or two-bite size is perfect for the level of richness.

  6. Wow that looks so delicious!

  7. You always ALWAYS make good stuff, Shirley. Now this looks more appealing than 9 sticks of butter. But I'd still like to eat those bars... cannot bake the whole thing because I'd end up finishing most of it, but your baked goods always make me wish I'm your neighbor! Anyhow, I love you recreated another dessert with pecan! I know I'd love this!

    1. Not always, but thanks. I wish you were my neighbor! You'd get lots of baked goods, and I'd have lots of awesome Japanese food. :)


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