Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cookie Craze Day 4: {Pecan Tarts}

Before I get to the good stuff, I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for your patience! I know I didn't get to post nearly as much as I wanted in November, but an interesting tidbit you might not know about me is that I am a serious procrastinator. I made the (poor) choice to leave my online classes for the end of the semester. Basically, I spent 2.5 weeks in Ohio, enjoying my family and friends, and doing absolutely NO schoolwork. So, I pretty much crammed an entire semester worth of work into 5 days...Needless to say, Shelby hasn't seen much action! But, now, it's all behind me, and I can get back to what I do best.


Do you see those babies up there? Those are the Holy Grail of cooking in my world. They are my Mom's recipe books, and have been a part of my cooking life for as long as I can remember. In fact, the white one, with the linoleum cover is even older than I am! My Mom made it for a home economics project when she was in 7th grade!!! That would be 1970, my friends! It's lasted this long because there are some really great little diddies inside, including these fabulous pecan tarts I'm about to feature today. My nephew, Josh, who is currently spending 2 years in Guatemala serving a mission for the LDS church, absolutely LOVES these cookies, and tells me they taste like mini pecan pies! They are always a hit at all family parties, and I promise you won't be disappointed if you make them!

Hallelujahs:Delicious, A LOT less work than an actual pecan pie
Hellfires:They do make a nice mess of your kitchen!

Pecan Tarts

1/2 lb butter (2 sticks)
6 oz cream cheese
1 1/4 cups flour

2 eggs
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
2 tbs melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

-Combine butter and cream cheese until evenly incorporated, and fluffy.
-Add flour and mix.
-Now the original recipe calls for this little number to be chilled for an hour before rolling, but I'm NEVER patient enough for that. To remedy it, I use COLD butter and cream cheese from the outset. If your dough is too sticky to roll, pop it in the freezer (covered) for 15 minutes and come back to it.
-Roll the dough into 1/2-1 inch balls, and place into tart pan. My little man LOVES to roll dough of any sort!
-Next, you're going to press the balls into crust shapes. At home, I have a pampered chef tart shaper that I use (it was like $2) and it makes this process go SUPER fast, but my Mom's house is LOW TECH, and she prefers her thumbs!
-Now, make the filling.
-First, you're going to chop your nuts. These should not be as fine as the consistency for the Russian Teacakes posted a few weeks ago. You want them a little bit chunkier.
-Again, at home, I'd use my magic bullet, but since my Mom prefers the LOW TECH route, we used this, which I'm pretty sure was manufactured in the 1940's!:
-Here's a close up of the pecans, so you can get a feel for the consistency:
-Combine brown sugar, melted butter eggs and vanilla. Then, add nuts. In following the low tech theme, do this by hand.
-Now, you're going to fill the tart crusts you made earlier, you want to fill them a little less than 2/3 full. If you over fill them, they will pop when you bake them.
-Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350*. Remove when the crusts are just barely golden brown.
-I know that's a large gap in terms of baking times, but it seems like it's different everytime I make them. So, keep an eye on them. Pull them out when the crusts are barely golden.
-Here is a close up of the bottom of the crust so you can see it. It will still be soft, but will set as it cools.
-Let them cool, and dust them with powdered sugar. If you overfilled, or if for some other mysterious reason the tops broke open, don't worry. Just top them with a pecan half or hershey's kiss, and add more powdered sugar. No one will ever be the wiser.
-Also, if you happen to have extra crust dough, I like to let Landon roll them out, add brown sugar and cinnamon, along with some Christmas sprinkles, roll 'em up, slice 'em, and bake 'em. It makes him SUPER happy to help!

1 comment:

  1. Kelley-Jo these are the best when made together. I had fun with you and Landon and reading about my "Low Tech" style was too funny. Mom