Thursday, February 11, 2010

anna's pecan tartlets

Anna introduced me to these pecan tartlets, probably by bringing them to the office and tempting me into eating them for breakfast. They are so cute, and they wrap up everything that's good about pecan pie in about three bites: delicious, flaky crust; gooey insides; a meringue-y, crackly shell, and an extra bite of pecan that's like the cherry on top. (Well, a pecan doesn't taste at all like a cherry, but you catch my drift.) They are simple to make, and they're elegant to serve at parties. Just look!

Anna says there are special tartlet pans that are a little deeper and have straighter sides, but I improvised successfully with a mini-muffin pan. You divide the dough into little balls, one per mini-muffin cup, and press it down into the cup and up the sides to form the crust. You really want to make a deep indentation (without gouging through the bottom, of course) because that gives more room for the filling. I found that the handle of my lemon reamer worked perfectly.

You'd think these would be fussy to make, but they're shockingly easy, and Anna says I can tell you how.

Anna's Pecan Tartlets
Makes 24
1 stick butter
3 ounces cream cheese
1 cup (4.25 ounces) flour
1 egg
1 cup (7 ounces) brown sugar
2 ounces pecans, divided (about 1/4 cup chopped for the filling, plus 24 half-pecans, one for the top of each tart)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Combine the butter, cream cheese, and flour until it is the texture of pie dough. (I think I used my Kitchen Aid - I'm trying to remember. Again, it wasn't too fussy, so non te preoccupi.) Divide the mixture in half. With each half, make 12 little balls. If you're anal, you can weigh them to make sure they're identical, but just making them roughly the same size should do the trick. Place one ball in each mini-muffin cup and spread the dough across the bottom and up the sides of the cup. You really want to make sure to go all the way up the sides; this will hold in the filling better and make a deeper indentation for the filling. They will pop right out once baked, so don't worry about smushing the dough against the sides of the tin.

For the filling, stir together the egg, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup chopped pecans until combined. Just use a spoon! It doesn't even require a mixer. Spoon filling into each mini-muffin cup. You should have just enough to fill 24 cups. Top each with a half-pecan. I picked through my pecans and set aside the pretty ones for the topping and used the less-pretty ones to chop up for the filling.

Bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then carefully pop the tartlets out. They should come out easily. Finish cooling completely on a wire rack. Try not to eat them all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE pecan tartlets!!! Small ones especially cause I can eat 10 at once...