This is an easy recipe for mini pecan pies or pecan tartlets. The mini pie crust and filling can be made days in advance and assembled at the last minute. Or, you can fully prepare the mini pies, freeze them and then reheat them as needed. Whatever you decide, you’ll enjoy all the goodness of a traditional pecan pie in a mini form, complete with crunchy pecans and a buttery crust.
Baking purists will note that there is a technical difference between tarts and pies; I acknowledge that. But they are close enough cousins (dough formed in a shallow baking dish and filled with either a sweet or savory filling) that I am using the term interchangeably. And I know that no one from my family, when served one of my delicious mini pecan pies, will decline because I should’ve called them pecan tartlets!
OK, we need to get a couple of other things out of the way before going any further. Do you say Pee-Can or Puh-Cahn? It is an annual argument in our home; I am in the Puh-Cahn camp while my kids swear it is Pee-Can. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving or Christmas without that running argument going on in the background. But whether you say Puh-Cahn or Pee-Can, if you are a pecan pie lover, you will enjoy these little bites of pecan-deliciousness.
Ice Cream on your Mini Pecan Pie: Yes or No?
I’m firmly in the “no thank-you” tent, but mom is in the ‘absolutely’ camp and can swear that it works perfectly well on the mini version of the pecan pie as well!
At the end of the day, I am a traditionalist in most things. As it relates to pies, I do love a traditional 9″ round pie. But there are times when it’s OK to think outside of the
pie box. And I am all about a mini dessert; in my perfect world, all desserts would be bite-sized so that I could have a little taste of everything!
So, let’s talk about why you may want to make little pies for the holidays as opposed to traditional-sized pies.
- You can offer your guests a variety of choices on your holiday season dessert table.
- These mini pecan pies are the perfect size for a crowd, no need to slice numerous pies
- And, If you are having a small group, you can bake just a few instead of a whole pie.
- Leftovers are much easier to manage in mini pie form. These are easily frozen and reheated as needed while it is harder to freeze and reheat a traditional-sized pie.
- For those of us who are decision-making challenged, we can have it all! You don’t need to choose between pumpkin, pecan or apple pies!
- If you are having a small group, you can bake just a few instead of a whole pie.
- Perfect for sharing with neighbors and friends!
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Swap Maple Syrup for Corn Syrup!
You heard me right…keep that corn syrup in the pantry and bring out the more flavorful Maple Syrup for just a little twist on the classic pecan pie recipe. But, do yourself a favor and get the REAL maple syrup, none of that fake maple pancake topping stuff. The flavor of the REAL is just so divine in these mini pecan pies.
How to Make the Crusts for the Pecan Tartlet
I use a Williams-Sonoma Tartlet pan that I love but is not sold anymore! 🤷🏼♀️ Go Figure!
If I didn’t have that pan, I think I’d give these silicone mini tart molds a try. Not only are they reasonably priced, but they have excellent reviews in terms of the tartlets releasing easily. Turn them out 3-4 minutes after you remove them from the oven.
You could also use a cupcake pan, but I think it’s harder to get a nice edge and to get them to release easily. Use a good release spray. I swear by Bak-Klene.
For the cupcake pan or the mini tart molds, use a round cookie cutter, upside-down cup, or something similar to cut the dough and then form it into the mold.
Shortbread Crust for these Mini Pecan Pies
I opted for a pecan shortbread crust for these tartlets instead of the flaky crust associated with traditional pies to switch things up. As such, it’s a little thicker, a little heartier than your traditional pie crust.
- 1/2 heaping cup chopped pecans
- 2 1/2 (360g) cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (110g) powdered sugar or 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 stick/1 cup/230g cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup (125g) pecan pieces.
- 2 1/2 T (36 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup (50 g) dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp (4g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup (120g) pure maple syrup
- Process pecans in a food processor until fine.
- Add flour, sugar, and salt and process for a few seconds until dry ingredients are just combined.
- Add butter and pulse until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces, about 15 - 20 pulses.
- Add egg and vanilla and keep pulsing until the dough is no longer dry and starts to clump together for about 10-15 seconds. Do not process to the point that a large ball of dough is formed. Instead, the dough should still be crumbly with some large clumps. You can test by taking a piece of dough and pressing it between your thumbs. The dough should stick without feeling dry or crumbly.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough. Form two balls. The dough should come together easily and should not be sticky. Flatten the balls slightly with your hands to form a thick disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You can refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for up to a month. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easier rolling.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4" thickness and cut it into circles to fit your tart/mini pie pan. Repeat with the other dough disc.
- If not using a silicon mold, spray your mini tart well with a good release spray. I swear by Bak-Klene.
- Press the dough into each mini tart well.
- Prick the bottom of each tart with a fork.
- If you are using individual mini tart plans, place them on a baking sheet.
- Freeze tart dough for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°
- Remove tarts from the freezer and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until slightly brown at the edges.
- Let cool for 3-4 minutes and remove from tart pans. If you let them cool in the pans they are hard to get out.
- You can freeze these tart/mini pie shells in an airtight container for up to two months.
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Lay the individual mini pies/tarts on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Sprinkle chopped pecans over the bottom of mini pies, set aside the remaining pecans.
- Whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and flour together in a medium bowl until combined and thick.
- Whisk in the vanilla extract, salt, eggs, and pure maple syrup until fully incorporated.
- Using a tablespoon or small measuring cup, add the filling mixture evenly over the pecans, being careful to keep it inside the crust edges.
- Sprinkle remaining pecan pieces over the pies. You could reserve some pecan halves to top the mini-pies.
- Bake mini pies for 9 minutes.
You can freeze the baked tart shells and defrost them before filling them.
You could also bake the filled mini pies/tarts in advance and freeze them. Bring them back to room temperature and then bake the mini pies for 4-5 minutes at 350° to reheat and refresh.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 21 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 194Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 170mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 3g
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