Friday, November 20, 2009

Butter Pecan Tartlets

I thought I had posted these before but in doublechecking the recipes I would need, I didn't see them so here they are. These are the Butter Pecan Tartlets from Land O Lakes Treasury of Country Recipes. I must say I've gotten a few good recipes from this book that have really stuck with me through the years. Maybe because back in the early days I had such few cookbooks that I was forced to try the recipes I did have instead of being distracted and overwhelmed by a plethora of choices or maybe because they really are just that good.

These make a great dessert party food for a crowd. They're easy to make, look pretty and are easy to eat with little fuss. The butter tart shell dough is easy to work with and the filling couldn't be easier to throw together. Make sure you toast the pecans to bring out their flavor before using. I start with whole pecans and pick through them to get the ones that stayed whole out of the package. Those are the ones I use to top each tart shell. The broken ones go into the nut grinder to be used in the filling itself. These are like mini pecan pies but better because it's mostly real pecans and not that gelatinous filling most pecan pies seem to have (shudder). I double the tart shell recipe for 1 filling recipe. Don't overbake or else the tart shells become hard. And it's okay to substitute vanilla extract for the almond extract. I don't like the taste almond extract brings to a recipe so I always substitute vanilla extract instead.

Tart Shells
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup butter
1/3 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup chopped pecans

36 pecan halves

1. Heat oven to 400˚F.
2. In a large mixer bowl, combine all tart shell ingredients. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until mixture is crumbly (2 to 3 minutes).
3. Press 1 tablespoon mixture in cups of mini muffin pans to form 36 (1 ¾” to 2”) shells. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until very lightly browned. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temp to 350˚F.
4. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, combine all filling ingredients except chopped pecans and pecan halves. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil (4 to 5 minutes).
5. Remove from heat; stir in chopped pecans. Spoon into baked shells. Top each with a pecan half. Bake for 5 minutes. Cool; remove from pans.

Yield: 36 tarts with double tart shell recipe

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