Christmas in the city is wonderful.
When the holidays arrive you can feel the excitement in the air. The shops have their windows adorned for the season as shoppers, visit the artisan shops that are so prevalent in thriving cities. In midst of the hustle and bustle I watch shoppers smile and offer holiday greetings as it seems most are in the Christmas spirit.
And when the sun sets everything seems to light up. The decorations on some of the homes can be breathtaking and some of the streets are so well adorned that they look like a winter wonderlands.
I live in Philadelphia. South Philly to be a more specific.
It’s still a tight knit neighborhood even though it’s gentrifying before my eyes. As homes are rehabbed I’m noticing new neighbors seem to be coming from across the nation versus moving here from other parts of the city like the old days.
But I’m also noticing that as the new neighbors come the old-timers welcome them with open arms and show them the South Philly way of life. It often starts with an introduction as we gradually learn more about each other. The neighbors here become like family.
When my husband was hospitalized for 5 weeks before his tragic death it was that network of neighbors that drove me to the hospital on more occasions than I could count. They picked up my daughter from school and made it clear that they’d be there for us.
I love city. It’s in my blood.
But there are a few drawbacks to city living. First is the parking situation. It’s so tough to find a spot that it can take hours at times. My solution to that was to sell my car and embrace Uber. The second drawback is how small my house is. It’s large enough for day to day living but for those huge parties I throw at Christmas, things are very tight and without a second refrigerator or freezer I really need to plan well.
I can basically forget about serving cakes and pies that require refrigeration since the refrigerator is always packed with the food that will be served. Instead I gravitate towards cookies and bite sized desserts that can be made in advance and stored with greater ease in the cooler areas of my home.
That’s where these pecan tassies come in. They’re like tiny bites of pecan pie only better. Pecan pie is cloyingly sweet but these tassies have a delicious cream cheese crust with a higher crust to filling ratio that makes them perfection in my book.
Once you try them I think you’ll agree that no holiday cookie tray is complete without the pecan tassie.
Prep time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 20-23
Ingredients for the Crust
- ½ cup butter, softened (1 stick)
- 3-ounce cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1)
Ingredients for the Filling
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 yolk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp butter,
- 1/8 tsp salt
- ¾ cup pecans, chopped
- Preheat the oven 350ºF (or 175ºC) and spray a nonstick 24-cup mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.
- With stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the softened butter and the cream cheese until smooth then add the flour and beat until you have a fully combined soft dough then transfer to a smaller bowl cover and chill for a few minutes while you mix the filing.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together both the egg and extra yolk with the brown sugar, vanilla, melted butter, and salt until smooth and lump free then set aside.
- Evenly divide the chilled dough into 24 balls then press each ball into a well of the muffin pan, spreading evenly over the bottom and up the sides.
- Evenly divide the pecans between the pie shells then fill each cup with the egg mixture trying to make sure that it is evenly distributed.
- Bake for 20-23 minutes or until the filling is set.
- Cool the tassies in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes: A good way to insure that all the crust dough is evenly distributed is to weigh the entire finished batch of mixed dough (preferably gram weight) then divide that number into the number of servings to insure that all of the balls are equally sized and that you’ll have enough crust to do the whole recipe with no leftovers.
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