Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Toasted Pecan Pie Cups

Image courtesy of Bon Appetit

Happy Thanksgiving Amateur Foodie Fans! We know, we've not been the best at blogging. We'll try to do better. Please stick with us!

Since we're talking baking, this post is just Michelle. Zack would like to mention that he enjoyed the result of this effort immensely.

Last year, I played around with Pumpkin Pie Cups. This year, I wanted to experiment a little more with mini pies. You can definitely just do this as one regular size pie and save yourself a TON of time. We attended the second annual Darktoberfest, and I didn't want people to have to mess with cutting slices of pie while juggling their stouts and porters.

In our haste to get to the party, I forgot to snap a picture of the finished pies, so I'm using the original image from the Bon Appetit recipe. We halved the recipe, since we're only making mini pies. 

Alright, so on to the good stuff.

Here's what you need:
2 mini muffin tins
biscuit cutter
1 box pre-made pie crust (2 crusts)
1 1/2 cups pecans, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/8 cup (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Here's what you do:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray your mini muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside.

Spread 1 cup of the whole pecans on a cookie sheet. We put our silpat underneath, but you can spread a bit of parchment paper under them as well. Roast the pecans for 10 minutes in the oven.

While your pecans are toasting, spread out your pre-made crusts on a clean counter top and roll thinner with a rolling pin. Using a biscuit cutter, cut rounds and gently press down into the muffin tins. Here's what I learned from this process. Pecan pie is much stickier than pumpkin pie, so you really need to be sure that the crusts go all the way up to the top of the muffin cups. If the filling spills over, you're going to have a VERY hard time getting them out of the tins.

Once you get the first round cut, ball the dough back up and roll out again, until you can't possibly get any more rounds out of if. If your dough gets too warm and sticky, try sprinkling with flour, or put it back in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool down. 

Your pecans should be finished, so remove from the from the oven and let them cool. You can't really tell from the picture, but they've darkened and are very aromatic and lovely.

Put your mini crusts in the oven to crisp up for about 10 minutes.

While those are baking, get started on the rest of your filling. If you have a food processor, pulse the 1 cup of toasted pecans up so that they are small pieces. If you don't have a food processor (i.e. me), just chop, chop, chop the nuts until they are very fine.

Chop the reserved 1/2 cup of pecans roughly so that they are still pretty big chunks.

Whisk the eggs in a mixer until they start to froth.

Add the sugar to the mix.

Melt your butter in the microwave for 15 seconds, then add that.

Next, add the vanilla.

Finally, add in the corn syrup.

Let that whip together for a couple minutes to make sure that the sugar dissolves.

Once all of the ingredients are combined, add the finely chopped toasted pecans into the mixer.

Your pie crusts should be ready, so pull them out of the oven. You'll notice not all of my cups reached the top. I fixed this after the first round. Be sure that your crusts go over the lip of the tin!

Add a few of the roughly chopped pecans to the bottom of each cup.

I used a mini measuring cup to fill the cups. Just pour a bit of the mixture into each cup. This is a messy process, but try to be as neat as you can. It will save clean-up later!

Bake until tops are puffed up and set. This took about 20 minutes for me. If you're making a full pie, I would let it bake for an hour and check it. 

Using a chopstick and tongs, I gently poked the edge of the crust to release the cups from the tin.


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