Thursday, December 15, 2016

Puff Pastry-Pecan Mini Tarts Topped with Caramelized Pecan Halves

Make your holidays sweeter with these mini pecan pies
Deliciously small and perfectly unshareable!
This post is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry. All opinions are mine.
Thank you for your support!
Who says that dessert should be shared?!? Oh no. Sometimes it's nice to selfishly enjoy every last, tiny little crumb of it. Especially when it's as yummy and cute as these mini pecan pies.
They are the perfectly unshareable, two-bite size dessert. All, just for you!
But here is a warning. These are so good it might be hard to stop and only have one. So when you are serving them at your next holiday party (I know you will once you see how easy and quick the recipe is) make sure to bake enough. Because everyone will want to go for seconds.

This recipe has it all. Not just the small size that will save you from the messy pie-slicing at the table.
But also, the gooey and moist, the rich and nutty flavor of the classic pecan pie. With a touch of orange zest, and a dash of cinnamon, which will make your kitchen smell like the holidays.
For the top, not just your average nuts. Oh no, but golden and crunchy, sugar-coated caramelized pecans.
And that is not all! The best part?!? 

Drumroll please ...
These mini pecan tarts are ready in a breeze. I'm serious! These are quick and easy to make. And that is thanks to Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry. You can have the same flaky and buttery crust as homemade, but ready in no time. I promise, no sweating around the kitchen to whip these babies up.
And you will thank me for this, because we all know that cooking a complicated holiday meal for family and friends can be very time consuming.

If you have ever made caramel, or any form of melted sugar, you know what the worse part of the job is. And I don't mean the extra pound you might put on devouring your sugary creation. Nope, not that :)
I'm thinking about the messy pan with solidified sugar that looks permanently attached. Before you go crazy and throw away your pan, here is a super useful tip. That requires no soaking, no scrubbing and absolutely no scratching the pan...
Listen up because it's easy: fill the pan with at least half an inch of water and bring to a simmer. Once you see the first bubbles, gently mix the water with your dirty spoon or spatula, and make sure to dissolve all the sugar from the edges. Pour the water down the drain, and rinse. Your pan and spoon are now perfectly clean :)

Now, let's get baking!

  1. YIELD: 
    12 mini tarts
    • 1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (half of a 17.3 oz package), thawed*
    • 1/4 cup (50 gr) of sugar 
    • 36 pecan halves (about 3/4 cup, 75 gr)
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 cup packed (100 gr) of brown sugar
    • 1/2  teaspoon of vanilla extract 
    • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoon (15 gr) of unsalted butter, melted
    • a pinch of salt
    • zest of 1 orange
    • about 3/4 cup (75 gr) of chopped pecans 
    • *Remove the puff pastry from the freezer, and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes 


time: about 1 hour

1. While the puff pastry is thawing at room temperature, caramelize the pecan halves.
Evenly spread 1/4 cup of sugar in a non-stick large skillet (the pan needs to be large enough to make a thin layer of sugar).
Melt the sugar over high-medium heat for about 2 minutes, until golden.
The sugar melts starting from the edges. Tilt the skillet to make the sugar melt evenly, or use a silicone spatula to move the sugar if needed. 
Turn off the heat when just golden (watch closely because it will turn from golden to burnt in no time).  And quickly mix in the pecan halves.
Immediately move the pecans covered in sugar to a piece of parchment paper and spread them out right away, so they will not clump together.

 Set aside to cool down.
 2. Heat the oven to 375° F (190° C). 
Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. 
Roll the 9x9 inch (23x23 cm) pastry sheet in one direction to make a 9x12 inch (23x30 cm) rectangle.
Use a 3 inch (7.5 cm) cookie cutter to cut the pastry into twelve circles. Mine has fluted edges to make a cuter edge to the pies.
Grease your tartlet molds with butter. My pan has 12 cavities, each 2.5 inch (6.35 cm) on top, with a 1/4 cup capacity.  
Gently press the pastry disks  into the 12 tartlet molds.
Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork. And set aside.
3. In a large bowl mix the egg with the brown sugar until creamy.
Add the melted butter, the salt, the orange zest, the vanilla extract and the cinnamon. Mix again.

Add some chopped pecans (NOT caramelized) to the bottom of the tartlet shells. 
Spoon the mixture evenly in the 12 tarts. Do not over fill!
Top with three caramelized pecan halves.
Bake at 375°F (190° C) for 25 minutes, or until the filling is mostly set and the pastry golden.
If the edges start to brown before the end, cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.

These can be stored for a few days in an air tight container.
You can warm up before serving if you'd like.

Happy Holidays!


  1. Love all your recipes have done roses several times now to make this. Thanks

  2. Holy moly! I just gained 12 lbs. reading this scrumptious looking recipe. The good news is I didn't. mind. a. bit. 😇

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  6. Love the color combination of Puff pastry . I will definitely try this at home. Have you tried Pakistani Cooking Recipes I love all Pakistani Recipes and mostly the appetizers by zarnak sidhwa recipes

  7. Always looking for great pecan recipes and came across this one today. I really like the orange zest addition. Can't wait to try. Seems like a nice alternative to sitting down to a full slice of pecan pie. Thank you for sharing this recipe!