Continuing with the Valentine heart theme, I topped these pecan tarts with heart-shaped pastry cutouts. Any shape cutout will do, depending on the occasion, so maybe small snowflakes would be great for winter and little flowers for spring. Individual, bite-size treats are so hard to resist since you can count exactly the number of portions you take, and can decide to stop at one, two or three tarts. For myself, I think I had more than that in one sitting—so much for portion control.
I used the same pecan filling as before. As each tart mold was smaller than a regular slice of pie, I used pre-chopped pecans and further chopped them even more finely. As for the pastry, I increased the proportions of my basic pastry recipe to 1.5 so I would have enough for the generous amount of filling yielded from one recipe of pecan filling. Steps in making the basic pastry are included in this earlier post.
I rolled out the pastry in sections on a sheet of wax paper. To shape the tarts, I first used a round cookie cutter to cut out circles, and then fit each of the circles onto mini tart molds. To remove the excess pastry, I pressed my rolling pin over the edges of the tart mold. Doing so makes a clean indentation of the tart edges and makes for easy removal of the excess pastry. It’s the same way I shaped these tarts I made earlier.
I used a small ice cream scoop to measure out the filling and fill the tart molds.
It would have been perfectly fine to bake these tarts as they are without any topping.
But then again, I thought I would bake them with hearts in keeping with the Valentine mode.
After baking in a 350 F oven for about 25 minutes, I transferred the pecan tarts onto a cooling rack.
Once cool enough to the touch, I removed the tarts from the molds by simply inverting them. The tarts slipped right out of the molds without any effort at all. I used to think I needed non-stick tart molds, but these were just regular molds that I didn’t even prep or grease, and cost a lot less than non-stick.
The crust of these pecan tarts came out flaky with a subtle flavor that nicely complemented the delicious pecan filling. I made 15 tarts that were quickly consumed, literally within minutes of them being ready. I could have made more had I used up all the pecan filling and pastry. I just refrigerated the unused filling and pastry and made more tarts the following day.
The feedback I got was, these pecan tarts are now my family’s favorite. I’m just not sure how reliable that feedback is, since whatever happens to be in front of them always seems to be the latest favorite.
Actually, I was really planning on bringing some pecan tarts to work, but they just didn’t quite make it. The treats I bring to work don’t last very long either. I once brought half a cake and left it in the kitchen. I came back for some coffee not one hour later only to find nothing but crumbs remaining. And this was before noon.
Lesson learned, make a lot of anything if planning on bringing it somewhere else. Till next time, happy baking!
Prep time: 1 hr 15 mins
Bake time: 25 – 30 mins
Total time: 1 hr 40 mins
- Basic Pastry (see below)
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- In a glass bowl, microwave the butter for about 30 seconds or until melted.
- Add all ingredients, except pecans, and mix well.
- Stir in pecans.
- Pour filling into prepared tart molds. If desired, use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes to top each tart.
- Bake at 350 F for 25 – 30 minutes or until set.
- Transfer tarts to cooling rack.
- Once cool, remove tarts from tart molds
Basic Pastry Recipe
Yield: 18 – 24 mini tarts
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup shortening
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 10 – 12 tablespoons cold water
- You can either use a food processor to cut the shortening and butter into the flour and salt, or if you don’t have one, you can also use a pastry blender.
- Mix flour and salt in food processor bowl.
- Add shortening and butter and pulse for a few seconds, just until the shortening and butter are evenly distributed and particles are the size of small peas.
- Add water a tablespoon at a time and pulse about 2 seconds after each addition. Once all the water is added, pulse until the pastry forms a ball. Use only enough water to form a ball. Do not over mix as this will result in a tough crust.
- If using a pastry blender, after cutting the shortening and butter into the flour and salt, add water a tablespoon at a time and toss the mixture with a fork. After adding all the water, the pastry should come together to form a ball.
- Wrap the pastry ball in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Or if making ahead of time, store the wrapped pastry in an airtight container and then refrigerate.
Basic Pastry Recipe
Pecan Tarts Recipe