Adapted from Carole Walter, Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets
Makes 4 dozen tassies.
For the cream cheese pastry:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups all purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups lightly packed very fresh dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups coarsely chopped lightly toasted pecans, divided
Step 1: For the cream cheese pastry: mix together using a pastry blender the butter and cream cheese until thoroughly blended.
Step 2: Add in 1 cup of the flour and the salt, working with the pastry blender until almost incorporated. Mix in another 1/2 cup flour, working until the flour is almost incorporated. Complete the process by adding in another 1/2 cup flour. Do not overwork.
Step 3: With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a mound, then divide in half and form two 5 inch rectangles. Wrap with plastic. Chill for at least 4 hours or up to 3 day
Step 4: Divide each rectangle of pastry into 24 1-inch squares. Roll each square into a ball and place into mini-muffin tins. Mold the dough into each hole, pressing it up the sides. Chill while preparing the filling.
Step 5 Position the shelves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 325F.
Step 6: For the filling: Place the eggs, brown sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
Step 7: Distribute 1 cup of the pecans among the pastry lined muffin cups. Empty the filling into a measuring cup with a spout and pour the mixture into the tins, filling them no more than 2/3 full. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1 cup nuts.
Step 8: Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown around the edges. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back towards the end of baking time. Let stand 5 minutes. using the tip of a paring knife, run the blade carefully around the edges of the muffin cups to loosen the tassies. When the tassies are cool enough to handle, remove them from the pan and set on cooling racks. (Note: The tassies can either be either be eased out with the tip of the knife or inverted onto the cooling rack.)