Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pecan Pie Tarts

Pecan pie tarts, aka "pecan tarts" in my family, are a tradition on my dad's side of the family. My grandmother makes the best. When we went GF, that was one thing I wanted to make taste the same. It took a few tries on the crust, but I finally got a perfect tart crust. It has the perfect texture, taste and look for these delicious treasures. It would probably work well as a pie crust for the whole pecan pie, and maybe even other flavors, but I haven't tried that yet.

I'll share with you that I was making these in a rush the other night. My kitchen was back in commission and we were leaving for the weekend. My first batch got medicated. Yes, you read it right. I was rushing to get them made before we went caroling and I started the filling (the crust was already chilled). I got the sudden feeling that I was coming down with something and so started whipping up my "immune booster" concoction. I ended up adding a dropper of Umcka into the filling bowl instead of my medicine cup. Oops. Thankfully I didn't have many ingredients in there yet, but what a waste of eggs and syrup! I didn't know how Umcka would flavor the filling once it was heated, so I started over, making the filling and sticking it in the fridge. I didn't get the tarts made until late that night, hence the lighting in these photos. And by the way, I thankfully didn't get sick. Either my concoction worked really well, and quickly at that, or it was exhaustion. Imagine that.

(Printable Recipe)

Pecan tart crust dough
Prep time: 5 min., Chill time: 1 hour
1 3 oz. pkg cream cheese
1/2 stick gluten-free margarine (I normally don't ever use margarine, preferring butter, but in this case margarine works better)
1 c. Gluten-Free Pantry pie crust mix

Cream together cream cheese and margarine, then add pie crust mix. Mix very well and then form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill one hour. Shape into 1-inch balls and press into miniature muffin/cupcake pans.

If you have a tart shell press it will make it much easier. Simply put the balls into the pan and then put plastic wrap over it, and push down on the press. Make sure you don't get the bottom too thin. If it looks too thin, add a little more dough to the bottom.

For the pecan filling, I follow the dark Karo recipe on the bottle, reducing the bake time and using pecan pieces instead of halves. It's the one my family has used for pecan pie for generations. I ignore my fears of GMOs and too much high fructose corn syrup (although Karo claims no HCFS, just the regular corn syrup, which is somewhat better, right????) when I use things like this. Some things are worth the occasional splurge. Dark Karo is one of them.

Pecan pie filling
Prep time: 5 min.
1 c. Karo Dark corn syrup
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. pecan pieces (not chopped fine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After getting the tart shells pressed, add the pie filling.

Bake on top rack if you have a gas oven, and bake for about 25 minutes. Check at 25 minutes. The filling temperature should be around 200 degrees. I use a meat thermometer, not my candy one, to check this.

Cool in pans on wire racks and then store in single layers in airtight container lined with wax paper. If you won't be eating them all up within a day or two, you'll want to put them in the refrigerator.



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