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Pecan Tartlets

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Yields 12 tartlets.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 41

This miniaturized version of pecan pie is neither cloyingly sweet nor overly gooey. It’s simply crunchy toasted pecans sprinkled over a mouthwatering brown sugar filling. Since these tarts only require 1/3 of the dough recipe, it's easy to double or triple the tarts, or you can also bake one batch each of Pumpkin Tartlets and Gingery Cranberry-Pear Tartlets.

  • 1/3 recipe of Sweet Tartlet Dough
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 Tbs. melted unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) broken pecans, lightly toasted in a 325°F oven for 8 to 10 min.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Lightly spray a standard-size 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil (not necessary for nonstick tins). Using the score lines as a guide, cut off 12 1-inch pieces of dough (reserve the rest of the dough for another use). Roll each piece into a ball in your palms (lightly flour your hands, if necessary). Put one ball in the center of each muffin cup.

If you have a wooden tart tamper, flour it lightly. Press the wider end onto a ball of dough until the dough thins out and begins coming up the sides of the cup, and then twist the tamper slightly to release it. Use the tamper’s narrower end to push the dough halfway up the sides and to smooth out the dough where the sides meet the bottom. If you don’t have a tart tamper, use a narrow, flat-bottomed glass or your fingers, lightly floured, to press the dough into the cups.

Tilt the muffin tin to see if the dough reaches the same level in all the cups; also check for any holes in the dough (this could cause the tartlet to stick to the pan). Rub your thumb around the rim of the dough in each cup for a clean, smooth edge. Slightly less than 1/2 inch of each cup should be exposed. Chill for at least 10 minutes to firm the dough.

In a medium bowl, blend the eggs and cream. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, along with the corn syrup and melted butter; don’t overmix. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer the filling to a measuring cup with a spout and pour into the dough-lined muffin cups. Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the tops.

Bake until the pastry is golden brown, 28 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the tartlets to loosen and then let them cool until they’re firm enough to handle, about another 15 minutes. Using the tip of a small knife, gently lift the tartlets from the pan and set them on a wire rack to cool.

Make Ahead Tips

You can fill and bake the tartlets up to four weeks ahead and freeze them. Put the cooled tartlets on a shallow pan and freeze until firm, then layer them between waxed paper in an airtight container. Baked tartlets will also hold for three days in the fridge, wrapped in waxed paper and then foil (not plastic wrap). To refresh, bake the tartlets at 325°F until warm, 5 to 7 min. if refrigerated; 12 to 15 min. if frozen.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per tartlet; Calories (kcal): 230; Fat (g): fat g 14; Fat Calories (kcal): 130; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 5; Protein (g): protein g 3; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 24; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 75; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 65; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I have been making these for holiday feasts for several years and they disappear quickly! I usually make extra pecan tarts and a batch of all-fruit mince filling. Dee-lish and fairly simple once the tarts are shaped.

I've been making these for years. Fabulous. And people love that they can choose the filling, pecan, pumpkin or cranberry-pear. And the crust is easy!!

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