I wasn't going to post again before Christmas...but then this happened. I think you'll understand my urgent need to share.
A dear friend of mine brought four desserts to our Thanksgiving dinner. Her dessert spread included a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. I'm not a huge fan of pecan pie (although I like it) but this pie was AMAZING. I mean, chocolate just makes everything better, right? I procured the recipe a day or two later and then made it within the week (omitting the bourbon). That's how much I enjoyed it.
As I was thinking about Christmas cookies, it occurred to me that I could make a chocolate version of pecan tarts. And so I did, using her recipe. Below you will find both recipes- the one for the pie and, if you want a cookie version/love a bigger crust to filling ratio, the tart version.
Chocolate Pecan Pie (a friend's recipe, slightly adapted)
a 9-inch, deep crust pie crust in a pan, unbaked
1 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup butter
2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
Spread the chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie crust. In a glass bowl, melt the butter and chocolate together until fully melted and combined. Stir in the sugar, the eggs, and the remaining ingredients. Pour over the pecans in the pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until set.
Makes 48 tarts
To make the pastry dough:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, cold and chopped
4 or 5 tbsp. ice water
Using your food processor or pastry cutter (I opt for my cutter all the time- less dishes to wash), combine the flour and salt. Add butter pieces and combine/process. Drizzle in the ice water and mix until it comes together nicely into a soft dough. Don't over combine. Wrap in plastic wrap and let chill in fridge for 1 hour.
To make the filling:
1 cup chopped roasted pecans
2 tbsp. butter
1 oz. baking chocolate (unsweetened)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten well
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
In a small glass bowl, melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave until fully melted and combined. Stir in the sugar, beaten eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and salt.
Coat a mini muffin pan with cooking spray (mine makes 24 mini muffins). Set aside.
Divide the pastry dough in half, returning one half to the fridge. On a floured surface, roll out the other half to pie crust thickness (roll it thinner if you want the filling to shine, thicker if you love crust). Use a cookie cutter shape or a glass with a 2 1/2 to 3-inch diameter to cut out the shapes/mini pie crusts. Place them into the muffin tin, gently pressing to fit. When the tin is full of mini pie crusts, place the pan in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes.
Now you have a choice:
If you like a nutty cookie and don't have a big sweet tooth, fill each mini crust with 1 tsp. of chopped pecans. Over the top, measure in 1 tsp. of the filling over the pecans.
If you want less nuts and more sweet, place 1/2 tsp. of chopped pecans into each mini pie. Over the top measure in 1 and 1/2 tsp. of filling- be careful not to overfill or it will bake over and make them hard to remove from the tin. Aim to fill them like the ones below.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Gently remove the tarts from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the process with the remaining chilled dough or save/freeze it. It will make one pie crust.
And now... I can leave you all in Christmas peace:-).