A long time ago — long before I’d begun acquiring my people — I acquired this fancy little gadget, which my friend ordered from a man in Philadelphia who was handy at carving fancy little gadgets. I think she ordered one for me so I would stop badgering her into baking me batches and batches of my at-the-time most favorite dessert: Pecan Tassies. Lois looked relieved when she shoved her gift across the table toward me. “And here’s the recipe,” she added. Despite the period at the end of her sentence, I couldn’t help but hear the unspoken, “Now, quit bugging me.” We’re still friends. But I’ve had to make my own Pecan Tassies ever since.
You don’t need the gadget, really. The dough for these little tartlets is delightfully forgiving. You can manhandle it all you want and you’re not going to tear it. So if you don’t know any woodcarvers in Philadelphia, just roll a little ball of dough, drop it in a mini muffin tin, and press with your thumb to form a little cup. Or if you want to make it a little easier on yourself, you can slip a sandwich bag or a bit of plastic wrap around the lid of a small water bottle (with the bottle still attached) and use that to squish your dough into submission.
But I know you want to at least see my do-dad:
- 2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
- 6 ounces of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 3 TBSP melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Blend dough ingredients until well-mixed. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for at least one hour. When your hour is up, take about a quarter of the dough out of the fridge at a time, leaving the rest to chill until you need it. Pinch off a portion at a time, roll in little balls, and press into mini muffin tins, which you have prepared by greasing or spraying with Pam.
Mix filling ingredients in another bowl. Spoon filling into pie crusts until 2/3 full (any more and you will have a very hard time getting these out of the tins later).
Bake 18-20 minutes @ 350 or until crusts are golden and the filling has puffed up.