I modified my week’s menu plan yet again to change one of the snacks I made for Knit Night tonight.  Danny came home yesterday and requested pecan pie for an office farewell and I decided to take the plunge and try out an idea that’s been in my head for a while — mini pecan pie tarts.  I used this Bakerella post for inspiration, but since I love my mom’s pecan pie filling recipe and didn’t have any pastry shells in the freezer I improvised.

My improvised version used one pie filling recipe and enough pie crust for two 9″ (single crust) pies.  I used this recipe for pate brisse, which is my all-time favorite, go-to pie crust recipe.  I don’t have tart pans, mini or otherwise, so I used my mini muffin tins and regular muffin tins.  In retrospect I probably should have only filled the regular muffin tin cups about halfway or so, as it is they ended up as sort of “deep dish” tarts and the filling stayed gooey-er than I would have liked.  All of the tarts ended up looking sort of like the eggs in the movie Alien after they’ve hatched, but I blame that on my infernal fan oven — things bake too quickly on top and too slowly in the middle, and there’s really nothing I can do about it.  Sigh.  I thought the mini tarts held up better, but they definitely had a higher pastry-to-filling ratio.  This is probably because for the mini ones I divided the dough for one pie recipe into 24 pieces and smushed it into the cups instead of rolling it out.  Next time I might try rolling the dough partway out (which is what I did for the regular muffin cups) to make it just a little bit thinner.

Below is the recipe I got from my mom for pecan pie filling — it makes enough filling for one 9″ pie or 24 mini-muffin tarts plus 8 “deep dish” muffin-tin tarts.  I would note that if you’re making the mini pies, as Bakerella notes in her tutorial, you’ll want to chop the pecans instead of leaving them in big pieces.

Pecan Pie Filling

3 eggs

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 cup corn syrup

dash vanilla

1 cup pecan halves or broken pieces

Beat eggs, sugar, salt, margarine and syrup with hand beater.  Stir in pecans.

I also made these Black Bottom Cupcakes.  These came out beautifully, and taste absolutely divine.  I think I could have easily gotten 13 or maybe even 14 cupcakes out of the recipe, but my muffin tins seem to be a bit smaller than the norm.  One note of caution — if your muffin tin isn’t nonstick, spray the top of the pan with cooking spray of some sort.  The tops of my cupcakes stuck and had to be pried up with a butter knife, resulting in one or two casualties.