I’m a child of the south and IMO there is not a better desert in the world, especially around the holiday season, than a pecan pie. And not only is it a delicious and elegant dessert, its darned easy to make. And that ranks high on the list in my book of recipes.
I have a llama trek scheduled for tomorrow, and so today I am preparing the picnic lunch. I cook a 4 course lunch that I call “trail gourmet”; starting with an appetizer, followed by a soup, then a sandwich buffet with a side salad, and finishing with a home cooked dessert. It’s now the first of October and the leaves are starting to turn. It’s a great time to serve some of my favorite fall recipes.
I have adapted the traditional pecan pie into an individual tart. I always have to be careful in choosing and preparing my trek lunches so that they can survive being carried 4 miles on the back of a llama. Mostly I have been successful. I have had the occasional batch of cupcakes get turned on their heads, but I still continue to whip them up from time to time.
These pecans tarts never fail to impress. They do look really amazing, but they are so, so easy to make. The ingredient list is short:
2/3 Cups chopped pecans
1 Cup packed brown sugar
2/3 Cups light colored corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs and 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 9” inch pastry crusts
I must confess. I have never made pie crust from scratch in my life. I think Pillsbury does just fine with their refrigerated rolled crusts. But if you are a traditionalist, by all means, make your own crusts.
You can make these in any tart tins that you may have on hand, but since I want these to be ruggedly transportable, I use 3” aluminum disposable tart tins. They also fit perfectly in a standard muffin tin. You need to experiment with dough cutters you have on hand to find just the perfect size for your tart tin. My goldfish glass works perfectly with its 3 ¾” rim.
Place the crusts in the tins and ease them into place.
Next—divide the pecans evenly among the tart cups.
Lightly whip the 2 eggs and 2 egg whites with a wire whisk and then add the brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and salt. Stir well with the whisk until it is well mixed and the sugar is dissolved. Spoon about ¼ cup of filling into each tart. You don’t want the filling to overflow the pie crust.
To make these little pies look really special, I like to decorate them with little pastry cut outs.
Here, I am using a maple leaf design. You can find these wonderful pie press cutters online. The ones I have are made by Paula Deen. William Sonoma has them as well. They generally come in sets of 4 with different holiday designs.
Look for ones with the spring plunger. It makes a world of difference when you are trying to pop the little pieces of dough out of the cutters without mangling the designs.
It also helps to dip the cutter into flour first.
I place one leaf on each little pie. Here they are ready for baking.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the pastry is lightly brown and the filling is puffy.
Don’t be alarmed if the tarts come out of the oven looking like erupting volcanoes. As the lava cools, the tops level back out and the major earthquakes disappear.
Remove the tarts from the muffin tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Once prepared these tarts can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
Now just wait for the compliments. Yum.