I don’t know what it is about following a recipe that really goes against my being. I look at different recipes every day yet when it comes to making a dish I rarely follow a recipe to a tee. Maybe it’s because my dad always said that recipes are just guidelines and that you can put your own spin on things. I’ve always been the type of person to shy away from the norm. I’m quirky. Definitely a weirdo. I’m not your typical girl-next-door.
Maybe that’s why after scouring the internet for a Pecan Pie Tart recipe I decided just to wing it. How bad could they turn out? As I’m writing this I haven’t even MADE the tarts yet. Just the dough and it is having a wee rest in the fridge at the moment. It’s hard work being dough.
Last week we had dinner with some friends and I was in a baking mood and made my first ever pecan-style pie, adapted and inspired by this recipe by Handle the Heat. I say “style” because it doesn’t have any pecans in it. I had hazelnuts and walnuts at home so that’s what I used. I was also drawn to this particular recipe because it had whiskey in it. Because hell, it’s always time for a whiskey in my books. It turned out surprisingly well for my first one and I thought for tonight’s’ Movember fundraising efforts at work that mini versions would be nice.
Mini Nut Pies
Start with the pie dough since it will need to rest before rolling out. In a medium bowl stir 2 cups all purpose flour and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add 1 cup of COLD cubed butter. Cut with a pastry cutter or fork until it forms into pea sized bits. In a separate bowl beat 1 egg, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of COLD water. The cold ingredients will make for a flakier crust. Add the wet ingredients into the butter/flour mixture and mix with a fork until just combined. Form into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
1 cup chopped hazelnuts and walnuts
12 spoon fulls of chocolate chips
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 shot rye whiskey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ between 2 sheets of wax paper. Make sure you use lots of flour dusted on the dough to make for easier rolling. You can use a circle cookie cutter (or coffee mug like I used) to cut out 12 circles. You might have to re-roll some of the trimmings to make enough for the tarts. They should be slightly bigger than each of the muffin spots so you have a bit of crust. Press the dough into the muffin pan and use a fork to make some holes in each little pie crust. Fill 3/4 of each pie with the nuts and chocolate chips. In a bowl whisk the sugars, corn syrup, eggs, rye, sea salt and vanilla. Fill each mini pie with the mixture until almost full. Pop into the oven for 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.I literally just took these babies out of the oven and they look pretty good to me. Hopefully my staff enjoy them tonight! Every dollar helps us get closer to our goal!