Mini Maple Pecan Pies

I’m from the Pacific Northwest, and pecan pies were just not a “thing”. At least, not in my family. In fact, desserts were not a thing. We had pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, cake for birthdays and Christmas, and that was pretty much it.

Somewhere along the line I was introduced to those cute little pecan tassies and fell in love, but still hadn’t tackled an actual pie until . . . well . . . a month ago. Don’t wait until you’re in your sixties to try one; think of all the sweet, gooey goodness you will have missed.

My first attempt was lovely. And runny! Not acceptable. But oh, did it taste good.

I switched to mini pies because I like to fuss, and that gave me more rolling, crimping, and decorating opportunities. My first batch was chewy! I mean, pull-out-your-teeth chewy. Once again, not acceptable. But yes, they tasted amazing.

I learned some lessons along the way. The most important? Don’t forget the butter, and do NOT overbake them. Here are a few other tips:

  • Though I love a flaky bottom crust as much as the next person, I decided the extra step of pre-baking the crusts wasn’t necessary. If you want to blind-bake your crusts, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t poke holes in the bottom. Just add pie weights and hope for the best. Pecan filling seeps down into those holes and turns to concrete on the bottom of your pans, especially if you overbake them. (Ask me how I know.) 10 minutes at 400 F was about right when I tried it. Meh . . . the pies I made without this step were just as good.
  • It may sound a little odd, and I’ll probably be lynched if any pastry chefs see this, but I tried putting balls of dough in a tortilla press, between generously floured pieces of parchment. Pressed once, flipped it over (making sure there was still enough flour to let the dough spread easily) and pressed again. Worked like a charm. You didn’t hear that from me!
  • The whiskey is completely optional. Just leave it out of the filling if you prefer.
  • Pecan halves are fine for large pies, but when you’re filling these small pie pans, chopped nuts work better. Decorate the top with pecan halves if you’d like.
  • Pie crust decorations can be added before baking or baked separately on a baking sheet at 425 F. Your choice. I kind of like to bake them separately; then I can place them where I want on each baked pie. Watch them closely; they go from raw to burnt very quickly. You can see that this batch of leaves was a little dark. Still yummy, though!

The next batch was beeeeautiful, if I do say so myself.

Mini Maple Pecan Pies
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Author:
Makes 8
Ingredients
  • PIE CRUST:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (1¼ if using unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup chilled shortening
  • ½ cup cold butter, coarsely grated
  • 2 tablespoons maple whiskey (or use regular whiskey, vodka, or 1½ T vinegar)
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • PIE FILLING:
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup corn syrup (light)
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk (keep the white for brushing on the crusts)
  • 2 tablespoons maple whiskey (or regular whiskey)
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups chopped pecans (plus pecan halves if you want to decorate the top)
Instructions
  1. CRUST:
  2. In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Cut in the shortening and butter until flour is blended in and no large lumps are visible.
  3. Combine the whiskey (or vinegar) with buttermilk. Drizzle into flour mixture while tossing with a fork. Stir just until combined. Dough should easily hold together when you squeeze it. If mixture is too dry, add more buttermilk, 1 teaspoon at a time.
  4. Either roll out half of the dough at a time between generously floured pieces of parchment OR separate the dough into 8 pieces and roll each between floured parchment. Either way, shape the dough into a ball, flatten with your hand, and roll out fairly thin, about ⅛-inch. Set mini pie pan (top inside dimension 4¼-inches) upside down on dough and circle about 1-inch larger than the pan all the way around. Cut out 8 circles, saving scraps to re-roll.
  5. Lift circles (use a dough scraper or large spatula if needed) and place in pans, easing them in to fit snugly. Fold the edges under and crimp or press with a fork.
  6. Brush the bottom of the crusts with whisked egg white, then move to the refrigerator while you make the filling.
  7. Heat oven to 350 F.
  8. FILLING:
  9. In a medium bowl combine maple syrup, corn syrup, white sugar, and brown sugar. Stir well.
  10. Add 3 eggs and one egg yolk, whiskey, maple flavoring, and salt. Stir.
  11. Add melted butter and pecans and stir well.
  12. Fill crusts with a generous ½ cup of filling - about ⅔ full, stirring the mixture in the bowl before you fill each crust, because the pecans will all float to the top.
  13. Place pies on baking sheets and bake approximately 30 minutes. Gently shake one of the pies. If there's a slight jiggle, that's okay, but if it's wiggly, let the pies cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the pies to cool completely on a rack.
  14. Serve, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. They may be frozen, too.

Add fats to flour and salt and cut in with pastry blender or two knives until no large lumps remain. Give it a light stir – there should be no pockets of flour; it all should be attached to fats.

Add buttermilk and whiskey, stirring with a fork.

Give it a squeeze! It should hold together. If not, add a teeny tiny bit more buttermilk.

You can roll out the dough and then cut as many circles as possible out of it.

Or roll and cut out one at a time (my favorite method).

OR, if you’re feeling like a rebel, you can try pressing balls of dough in a tortilla press. (Use parchment and lots of flour.)

Place crust in pan and crimp edges. Brush lightly with whisked egg white.

If you want to blind bake the crust, fill with weights (I used a coffee filter and beans) and bake 10 minutes at 400 F. Don’t poke holes in crust!

Mix syrups and sugars together.

Stir in eggs, salt, maple whiskey (or regular whiskey) and maple flavoring.

Add pecans and melted butter and stir well.

Fill the crusts. Use a generous half cup of filling.

Ready for the oven.

Baked.

Mmmm.

In case you’re wondering, these work very well for tassies, too. The crust-to-filling ratio is different; you might want to cut the filling recipe in half. I’d test that theory, but I think I’ve had enough pecan pie to last me at least a week or two!

Lorinda

Brownie Bombe

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

bombe

Printable recipe at the bottom of the post!

A Brownie Bombe with a chocolate brownie shell, three kinds of ice cream layers of dark chocolate ganache, and a whipped cream icing.

Hey. Sometimes I just crave ice cream!

When Amy from Crumbs in My Mustachio came up with the brilliant idea to post a Christmas cake each day made by twelve different bloggers, I jumped right in. I may have even muscled other people aside in my enthusiasm. What a blast!12 cakes I dithered over this to a ridiculous degree, considering and discarding all different kinds of recipes. And even though my final choice wasn’t technically a cake, it’s a refreshing and crowd-pleasing dessert for any time of the year! I used pistachio-almond, vanilla, and peppermint ice cream for a traditional Christmas color scheme. You may use any flavor or color that appeals to you, of course.

I also put ganache between the ice cream layers because…well…because I love ganache! This is optional. It’s one more step, but I love the way it delineates the colors.

It isn’t a hard dessert to make, but you do have to give yourself a lot of time. Like at least a day ahead of the occasion, because it gets popped in and out of the freezer countless times. This was made in a 4 quart mixing bowl, so it’s huge. I’m guessing it will serve 16-18 people. Scale it down if you’d like. You’ll need:

  • 3 half-gallons of ice cream. (I know…they aren’t half gallons any more. Do they really think we haven’t noticed this???)
  • 2 batches of brownies. Guard them with your life; you will need ALL of the brownies. Trust me on this – I had to make a third batch because I let the guys “test” them.
  • 10 ounces of dark chocolate. Good dark chocolate, not chips!
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • A large tub of non-dairy topping. I usually avoid this stuff like the plague, but it holds up so much better than whipping cream that I caved it this time.

Begin by baking the brownies. Chewy or cake brownies? Doesn’t really matter. Cool them thoroughly. Line a bowl with foil, smoothing it out as much as possible. Don’t lose any sleep over this; the weight of the brownies and ice cream will flatten out most of the little ridges.

Line bowl with foil.

Line bowl with foil.

Firmly press large brownies all over the bowl, covering the foil completely, and bringing all the way to the top of the bowl. Save enough to cover the top when you’re done!

Press brownies along sides and bottom of bowl.

Press brownies along sides and bottom of bowl.

Stick the bowl in the freezer for an hour. This is the perfect time to make your ganache if you’re using it.

  • Chop 10 ounces of dark chocolate and put it in a medium bowl.
  • Heat 1 1/4 cups heavy cream until it’s beginning to bubble but not boil.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then stir gently until it is blended. Cover and set aside to cool. Give it a stir occasionally.

When the hour is almost up, bring out your first carton of ice cream and allow it to soften. I can tell you through experience that you don’t want to try to flatten lumps of frozen ice cream. Let it soften, and maybe stir it around in a bowl first. It will make the next step a LOT easier! Press the ice cream (yes, the whole carton) over the brownie layer, bringing it almost to the top. Leave a generous 1/2″ at the top, because there will be a brownie “cover” added at the end. Smooth the ice cream as much as possible with a spoon, rubber spatula, or (brrr) your fingers. Return the bowl to the freezer.

Add ice cream flavor #1.

Add ice cream flavor #1.

When the ice cream layer is firm, pour enough ganache into the bowl to coat the ice cream. Tip and rotate the bowl to spread the ganache, or use a pastry brush. Work quickly so the ice cream doesn’t melt! Return to the freezer.

Add ganache.

Add ganache.

Soften the second tub of ice cream. Spread over the hardened ganache in the bowl and (you guessed it) return it to the freezer. When firm, repeat the ganache layer and freeze again. Fill with the remaining ice cream. (You’ll have a little left over. Grab a spoon; you know what to do with it, right?) Return the bowl to the freezer. Cover the ice cream with the remaining brownies, pressing firmly. Cover the bowl with foil, and freeze until solid. (Overnight is best.) When you’re ready to serve, remove the foil from the top, cover the top of the bowl with your platter, and flip it over. Peel the foil off of the bombe and frost it with whipped topping.

Frost it with whipped topping.

Frost it with whipped topping.

Sprinkle with sparkly edible glitter, add chocolate shapes, cookies…whatever is appropriate for your theme, or just leave it a beautiful fluffy white. Slice and serve! Use a knife that’s been dipped in warm water if your bombe is hard to cut. IMG_1139 If you have any left over, put it in the freezer until the whipped topping is firm, and then cover well with heavy foil.

bombeslicedbest

Brownie Bombe
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 half-gallons of ice cream
  • 2 batches of brownies, baked and cooled
  • 10 ounces of dark chocolate (the good stuff, not chips!)
  • 1¼ cups heavy whipping cream
  • Large tub of non-dairy topping (16 ounces) softened
Instructions
  1. Line a large mixing bowl (mine was about 4 quarts) with foil.
  2. Firmly press brownies over the inside surface of the bowl, reserving enough to cover the top at the end of the process.
  3. Put the bowl in the freezer for an hour. While it's freezing, make your ganache.
  4. Ganache:
  5. Chop 10 ounces of dark chocolate and put it in a medium bowl.
  6. Heat 1¼ cups heavy cream until it's beginning to bubble but not boil.
  7. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a minute or two, then stir gently until it is completely blended. Cover lightly and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
  8. When the hour is almost up, put your first tub of ice cream on the counter to soften. You may want to stir it in a bowl so it is evenly thawed. You're looking for soft, not runny!
  9. Remove bowl from freezer and press the entire carton of ice cream over the brownie layer, bringing it almost to the top. Leave at least ½ of brownie showing around the top of the bowl. Working quickly, smooth the ice cream as much as possible.
  10. Return the bowl to the freezer.
  11. When the ice cream layer is firm, remove from freezer and pour enough ganache into the bowl to coat the ice cream. Tip and rotate the bowl to spread the ganache, or use a pastry brush. Return to freezer for at least ½ hour.
  12. Bring the second tub of ice cream out to soften. Spread over hardened ganache. (You may have a little ice cream left this time.) Return to the freezer.
  13. When firm, repeat the ganache layer and return to the freezer.
  14. Soften the third tub of ice cream.
  15. When the ganache is firm, fill the rest of the space with ice cream and return to the freezer.
  16. When the ice cream is firm, cover with the reserved brownies, pressing firmly. Make sure all of the ice cream is covered.
  17. Cover the bowl with foil and freeze until solid (overnight is best)
  18. Remove the foil from the top and turn the bombe over onto a serving platter. Peel off the foil and frost with whipped topping.
  19. Cut with a knife dipped in warm water.
  20. To freeze remaining bombe, put it uncovered in the freezer until the whipped topping is firm, and then cover with heavy foil.

 

Here are the links to the first five cakes. I’ll add a link for each new cake, so make sure you come back and visit each day!cakes of christmas

December 1st: Lemony Thyme’s Chocolate Truffle Pirouette Cake December 2nd: Cooking From a SAHM’s Strawberry ‘n Cream Cake December 3rd: Moore or Less Cooking Blog’s Coconut Tres Leches Cake December 4th: 365 Days of Baking’s S’mores Cake
December 5th: it’s yummi’s Pomegranate Lime Bundt Cake
December 6th: My Brownie Bombe.
December 7th: Hun What’s for Dinner’s Chocolate Roll with candy cane whipped cream.
December 8th: Chocolate, Chocolate and More’s Eggnog Pound Cake.
December 9th: Manila Spoon’s No-Bake White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake.
December 10th: Baking in a Tornado’s White Chocolate Peppermint Cake.
December 11th: Crumbs in My Mustachio’s Hot Cocoalicious Cake.
December 12th: Tampa Cake Girl’s Red Velvet White Chocolate Cheesecake.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our twelve cakes as much as we enjoyed presenting them!