Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays - Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites

I think that if you are born below the Mason Dixon Line you are required to enjoy pecan pie. I will admit that I am very particular when it comes to this sweet treat. I do not care for a pecan pie that has a thick layer of sticky filling that tastes like pure syrup. I also do not care for mine warm with ice cream on top - it's too melty and the pie crust gets smooshy. I like mine with a crispy flaky shell, a filling overloaded with pecans, and the temperature that's not too cold and not too hot. The only exception to these rules is a slice of chocolate chip pecan pie right off the grill at Camelia Grill. Now that is a taste of heaven.

I set out Saturday to make two desserts for our Pre-Thanksgiving feast. One was the Pumpkin Pie Spectacular out of this month's Southern Living and the other was Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites from last year's November issue of Southern Living. The pumpkin pie fell short of "Spectacular" in my opinion. I think I baked it too long and the pumpkin filling overcooked, but it said it needed to cook forever! Really it was about an hour and fifteen minutes, but still that is a serious oven commitment when you have a turkey and sides to bake. On the other hand the Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites were delish and sooooooo easy to do. I highly recommend them as gifts or as the perfect treat to take with you to your next holiday party. I cannot emphasize how incredibly easy there were to make. I was only supposed to veer off my personal trainer imposed diet for Saturday evening, but just between you and me, I ate one Sunday morning - they were even better the next day!

Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites
Yield: Makes about 6 dozen
3 cups chopped pecans
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 (2.1-oz.) packages frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.
2. Stir together sugar and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Stir in pecans, eggs, and next 3 ingredients.
3. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoonful pecan mixture into each pastry shell, and place on 2 large baking sheets.
4. Bake at 350º for 20 to 22 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks, and let cool completely (about 30 minutes). Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Mini Pecan Pies: Substitute 1 1/2 (8-oz.) packages frozen tart shells for frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells. Prepare recipe as directed through Step 2. Spoon about 1/4 cup pecan mixture into each tart shell. Place tart shells on a large baking sheet. Proceed with recipe as directed in Step 4, increasing bake time to 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Garnish with currants, if desired. Makes 1 dozen. Prep: 15 min., Bake: 30 min.

I made these according to the "mini pecan pie" directions because we didn't need 6 dozen and those little tart shells get expensive. I found the exact mini pie shells the recipe references in the freezer section at the Bi-Lo. They were VIP brand mini pie shells. I don't recall the brand they carried that had the mini-phyllo shells, but they had those as well. Sometimes it can be difficulty to find these products, so shop in advance just in case. And DON'T use the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry shells. I made that mistake last year!!!

And just in case you're ever in New Orleans and ordering a slice, you would ask for "pecawn pie." We don't say it like Paula Dean does!!!

1 comment:

  1. I am from south LA and LOVE anything with pecans! This recipe sounds great...can't wait to try it for Thanksgiving. I grew up eating sweet dough pie ( a cajun thing I think) and pecan pie. I live in Texas now and get tired of hearing people say "pea-can" pie. Makes me nuts (no pun intended).
    Have an awesome day!



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