Because Nancy Lewis usually makes dozens of tassies at a time, she mixes big batches of the dough a day or two beforehand. The filling comes together quickly. She prefers not to use a food processor because the dough is delicate.
Make Ahead: The dough for the crust can be made and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Store baked tassies in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days; baked tassies freeze well.
Servings: 24 tassies
- For the dough
- 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
- 1 cup sifted flour
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (may use butter substitute), at room temperature
- For the filling
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans (not toasted)
For the dough: Use a spatula or your hands to combine the cream cheese, flour and butter in a bowl until a firm dough forms and no flour residue remains. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as 2 days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Have ready two ungreased 12-count mini muffin pans.
Take pinches of the chilled dough and shape them into twenty-four 1-inch balls; place in the wells of the muffin tins and use your thumb to press the dough against the bottoms and sides of the wells, creating space for the filling.
For the filling: Combine the egg, brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract and pecans in a medium bowl until well mixed. Fill each dough shell no more than 3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the outside edges of the tassies to release them from the pans.
Adapted from "How to Cook a Pig and Other Back-to-the-Farm Recipes," by Betty Talmadge with Jean Robitscher and Carolyn Carter (Simon and Schuster, 1977).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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