I’m pretty sure I mentioned these mini chocolate pecan tarts before. I actually called them pies, but since I there is no top crust and I used the leftover pate sucrée to make them, I think it’s more accurate to call them tarts. What is the difference between a pie and a tart anyway?
Well a pie is a sweet or savory dish with a crust and a filling. The crust is usually made with three simple ingredients: flour, fat (lard, butter, shortening), water. Okay and maybe salt. The end result is a crisp flaky crust. The sides of the crust are sloped and the sides are sloped.
Whereas a tart is a sweet or savory dish with a shallow crust and a only a bottom crust. The crust on a tart is more crumbly, usually made from pastry dough and the sides are not sloped, but fluted.
Whew we got a little side tracked there, back to these mini pecan tarts. Since it’s usually just me and Patrick, I thought that it would be too much to make a whole pie or tart unless I’m going to a party. Thus I decided, why not make mini tarts? Then it occurred to me that I don’t have a pie pan that makes the perfect amount of pie for two nor did I have little tart pans like the ones I drool over in any and all baking stores that I go to. Instead, I thought, well I have a cupcake tin. Why not use that? So I used some leftover pate sucrée to make mini tarts in my cupcake tin. They came out really nicely and I thought they were adorable. Maybe its because they were mini? These turned out to be the perfect size for personal tarts, so you have have your own tart as well as share the extras. For this post, I made the filling chocolate pecan, which as I mentioned earlier, is currently my new favorite pie. I made this pecan pie based on a recipe from Food and Wine and since it was such a big hit at our friendsgiving, I decided to make it my go to pecan pie recipe. Of course, I shouldn’t make them too often since they probably aren’t as good for my waistline as they are for my tastebuds, but hey, they’re definitely a great indulgent treat. I took some of these to work and all my co-workers loved them, plus I think it really cuts down on the mess since you don’t have to slice them and worry about the crust crumbling under the knife. Definitely one of the benefits of these tarts is that you can eat one and not feel too guilty. Additionally, they’re pretty portable. Okay not really, you’ll end up leaving a trail of delicious buttery crumbs, but hey it’s easier to eat a mini tart then a slice of tart. At least that’s what I think. There must be a study somewhere…
Anyway, let’s get started!
Ingredients:Pate Sucrée -1 3/4 cups all purpose flour -8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces -2 tbsp plus 2 tsp chilled shortening* -1/4 cup sugar -2 egg yolks -1/4 teaspoon water -4 drops vanilla Filling -2 eggs -1/2 cup brown sugar -1/4 cup light corn syrup -4 tbsp butter, melted -1/4 tsp salt -1 cup pecans, roasted and chopped plus 12 whole pecan halves -1 cup chocolate chips
- Combine flour, butter, shortening, and sugar in medium mixing bowl until the butter and shortening is about the size of small peas. Add yolks, water and vanilla and continue mixing until dough is crumbly. Turn dough out onto work surface and gather into ball. Divide the dough into two parts. Flatten each part into a disc. Wrap tightly in plastic. Freeze 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.
- While the dough chills, make the filling. Beat together the brown sugar, corn syrup, salt and eggs in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a skillet until foamy and golden brown or melt in the microwave for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the melted butter into the sugar mixture and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and spreading the pecans in a single layer on a sheet pan, roast for 5 to 10 minutes while the oven is preheating. Once the pecans are roasted, let them cool before reserving 12 whole pecan halves and roughly chopping the rest.
- Roll out one disc of dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out dough circles using a cookie cutter slightly larger than the cups in the cupcake tin. Carefully press the dough into the pan, making sure to keep the edges straight. Use the excess dough to patch and cracks.
- Sprinkle a layer of chopped pecans in the bottom of each dough lined cup, sprinkle chocolate chips on top and then some more pecans. The chocolate nut mixture to reach about 2/3 up the cup. Pour the melted butter mixture over the pecans and chocolate until the filling reaches about a half centimeter below the top of the crust. Top with the whole pecan halves and bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling no longer jiggles.
These were so cute and delicious. I will definitely be making them again. Well considering that I already made these twice now, there is no doubt that I will be making these again. What I like about the mini tarts is that you can make multiple little pies, so you can have more than one flavor and not feel too much of glutton. In fact I just made a batch of these mini tarts and made different fillings (apple tart, pear tart, pumpkin pie, chocolate pecan and chocolate cream pie). All in one batch. You just have to make sure you make the right amount of filling (usually cutting in it half if you want 6 mini pies, or thirds if you want 4 mini pies, etc. etc.) You might have some leftover filling, but at least you can use them to make mini pies again!
I hope you like this post, I’ve been kind of obsessed with the mini pies/mini everything (did you see my mini quiches?), my cupcake tin/muffin tin is getting a tough work out.
Hugs and puppies!