The splendid but sometimes overwhelming proliferation of baked and sweet goods during the festive season always makes me long for a bit of everything. So in order to have a wee taste of all the Christmas goodies, I like to make small individual items- mini pies, cookies, fudge – instead of large cakes or tortes.
I had wanted to make tassies for some time, purely because I like the name! These fit the bill for being easy to put together and yet very luxurious in taste and texture. The filling puffs up a little as it cooks then sinks again to resemble the filling in a pecan pie (though less sweet) and the pastry is super easy to work with as you just squidge balls of dough into the muffin holes and push it around to form a case.
Most of the recipes I found online were for traditional pecan tassies but since chocolate and nuts are a match made in heaven and since I add spice to *everything* it seemed like a natural trinity of flavours to adopt.
Wishing you all a joyous and peaceful holiday season xxx
For the pastry
50g full-fat soft cheese
50g butter, softened
50g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g cocoa powder
For the filling
1 egg yolk
50g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp allspice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
15g butter, melted
100g dark chocolate chips or 100g finely chopped dark chocolate
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. To make the pastry, whizz the pecans in a food processor until finely ground, then pulse in the remaining ingredients with a pinch of salt until the dough just comes together. Lightly flour your hands to prevent sticking then roll the dough into 12 small balls. Use your fingers to gently press them into the bottom and up the sides of a 12-hole muffin tin. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
Toast the pecans in a dry frying pan for 3-5 minutes until lightly toasted and smelling aromatic. Cool a little then roughly chop. Whisk the remaining ingredients with a pinch of salt then stir in the chopped pecans. Wait until the mixture is barely warm and then stir in the chocolate.
Bake the pastry cases for 5 minutes then remove from the oven. If the pastry has puffed up a little, gently press it down with a teaspoon or your fingers. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the filling into each of the pastry cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling has risen and a crust has formed on top. Leave to cool a little in the tin. Eat warm on their own dredged with icing sugar/ cocoa or with some cream and maple syrup.