Sunday, December 13, 2015

Fancy Cookies: Tassies

My family refers to tassies as "little pecan pies". I've made these cookies with several nut varieties, but the shells make a great crust for lots of fillings including pastry cream, pumpkin filling or even savory seasoned eggs.

The trickiest part of these cookies is making uniform shells. I divide the dough into eight equal pieces, then roll each dough piece into three balls. Each dough ball gets pressed into the well of a mini muffin tin.

Pressing the pastry into cups is much easier with the use of a tart tamper. This simple tool helps spread the dough evenly in the cup. It's a cheap investment and works with both a mini and regular muffin tins, depending on the size of your tarts.

For these tassies, I used hicans, a cross between a hickory nut and a pecan. Feel free to use the nut you prefer: pecans, walnuts, pistachios, macadamia, filberts or a mix. These cookies hold well in the freezer - just place in an airtight container and consume within six months.

Begin by making pastry: combine cream cheese, butter and flour.

Form dough into a flattened circle, wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

While the dough rests, prepare the nuts. These delicious hicans grow well in Ohio.

Divide dough into eight wedges. Form each wedge
into three balls for a total of 24 balls.

Drop pastry into the wells of a mini muffin pans.

A tart tamper makes quick work of forming the shells.

Just coat the end in flour, then push into dough ball.

The dough will be pushed around the tamper, lining the well.

Two pans done in a couple minutes!

Make the filling. I like using a measuring cup with a spout to help fill the cups.

Fill the cups with about 1 Tbsp. filling and bake.

Little pecan (hican) pies!

Pecan Tassies
Makes 24
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook

1/2 cup butter, softened
3oz full fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (or substitute your favorite nut)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Make pastry: Beat 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese until combined. Stir in flour. Form into a ball, flatten slightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Divide pastry into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into three balls for a total of 24 pastry balls. Place one each in the wells of a mini muffin pan. Using a tart tamper, or your fingers, push pastry into the bottom and up the sides of the well.

Make filling: Combine egg, brown sugar and melted butter. Stir in nuts. Spoon or pour about 1 Tbsp. filling into each pastry cup. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. Cool slightly in pan. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

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