Pumpkin pie and pecan pie are every bit as important and anticipated as the turkey is on Thanksgiving Day. Because pecans are harvested from late September through November, they are the perfect nut for the holidays. In fact, pumpkin pie and pecan pie are ranked #1 and 2 respectively as the most popular Thanksgiving desserts. I did not make or serve either this year though. I did variations of the them instead. I had some mini pumpkin bundt cakes (I bought these) and I made some pecan pie tartlets, along with my tiffin cakes A Chocolate Tiffin Cake and some of my famous caramels Video #18 – Making Caramels with Priscilla rather than big pies. I did this for a couple of reasons. We had a small gathering and a lot of food. So I chose to make smaller desserts instead of big desserts to allow everyone to sample little bits of different items. I also made extras of everything to add to my church coffee cart on the following Sunday as well.
Pecan pie has been around since the French inhabited Louisiana, in the 19th century. Pecans are native to North America and were originally grown in the areas watered by the Mississippi River, but after the Civil War farmers brought pecan trees down to Georgia and now pecans are a major staple to the agricultural business of Georgia. Pecans were very popular among the Native American Quinipissa and Tangipahoa tribes.
The word pecan is derived from the French word pacane, which means nut. Because the word pecan derived from the French pacane, many people think that it was the French who invented pecan pie, but there is no evidence to support this theory. It seems pecan pie is 100% an American creation.
People have been baking with pecans since the 1800’s. The earliest rendition of what is considered pecan pie was created by a Texan woman in 1898. Originally, the pie was a simple pie known as a sugar pie. But as with anything, this simple pie has evolved into many different variations. Some recipes are very simple and some are more complicated. Some popular versions today include bourbon, whiskey, shredded coconut, and chocolate. I think I have made all of these variations at some point. You can use Karo syrup, molasses or brown sugar as the base of this deliciously sweet pies too. People who live south of the Mason-Dixon line prefer their pecan pie a little sweeter than those who live north of the divide. I guess I am more a Northerner than a Southerner when it comes to pecan pies. I do not like them overly sweet. Pecan pie is the official state dessert of Texas.
The only difference between making these as individual tartlets vs a whole pie was the size of the pan I used. This time I used my mini muffin pans instead of my tart pans.
Bourbon Pecan Pie
2 sticks of cold butter, cubed
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
Pulse the butter, flour and sugar together in a food processor until it resembles a fine sand. Then add the eggs and mix together until it forms into a ball. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour before using.
Preheat the oven to 350* F or 175* C.
Once my dough was ready, I formed it into small balls and placed them into the muffin pans and pressed them firmly to fit the pan.
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 TBSP bourbon
3 TBSP melted butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups pecan halves
whipped cream for topping
Combine all the ingredients together and then carefully fill the dough cups with about 1 TBSP of filling.
Top each cup with a pecan half and bake for about 30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the center is cooked.
Allow the tartlets to cool completely before adding the whipped cream topping. if you like, you can add a little dash of bourbon to the whipped cream too.
When I took them into church on Sunday, I heard someone say, “You made these? They look so professional”. I certainly hope so, if not, I didn’t learn very much in all my many years of culinary school and restaurants and catering. 🙂
Life is short. Make sure you enjoy the sweet things in life. Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til Next time. Happy Holidays.