Make pastry: Cream softened butter butter, softened cream cheese and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium mixing bowl. Gradually beat in flour on medium speed, just until combined - do not overbeat. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, until firm. Do not skip chilling.
Prep: Once pastry is ready, heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 24-count miniature muffin pan.
Assemble pastry: Roll chilled pastry into 24 balls, place into prepare pan. Press into bottom of muffin cups and up the sides, making sure bottom is not too thin. Place pan back into refrigerator.
Make filling: In medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients for filling EXCEPT for chopped pecans. Once fully combined, stir through nuts.
Assemble: Remove miniature muffin pan from refrigerator. Using a piping bag or a zip-top bag with corner snipped off, OR a teaspoon, fill each pastry shell with pecan filling - make sure filling goes all the way to the top for the best look and taste (leftover filling can be baked in lightly greased ramekin).
Bake: Bake tassies in hot oven for 25-30 minutes, until filling is puffed up and set, and pastry cases are golden brown on the outside.
Cool: Once ready, remove muffin pan from oven and place on cooling rack on counter for 5 minutes. Then, remove Tassies to cooling rack immediately and allow to cool completely.
Bourbon: This just adds a little depth to the flavor of the filling, it’s just a small amount and you can skip it if you don’t have it on hand/don’t use alcohol.
Maple syrup: Real maple syrup tastes best to me, but you can use maple flavored syrup if that’s what you have on hand.
Brown sugar: I use light brown sugar here. Feel free to use half light brow and half dark brown if you want a richer/heavier molasses taste.
Butter: If you choose to use margarine instead of butter, please make sure to use stick margarine and NOT a spreadable product.
Pecans: I highly recommend chopping the pecans finely, it yields the best consistency for the filling.
I do find it a lot easier to get the filling into the pastry shells with a piping bag or zip-top bag. No need to use a tip, just snip off an edge large enough for the chopped nuts to easily pass through. It works fine with a spoon if you don’t want to bother with the bag, it’s just a little messy.
Bake the tassies long enough for the filling to be nicely domed and set, and for the pastry cases to be golden brown on the outside. Do not pull them from the oven too soon, or they’ll collapse.
Short-term: Keep loosely covered with a paper towel on the counter for up to one day.A few days: Keep in an airtight container OR tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 4 days.Freezer: Bake as directed, then cool completely. Place Tassies on a lined baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and freeze until sold, about 2-3 hours. Then, place in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.To defrost, just unpack and place them on a rack on the counter until fully defrosted.
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