Southerners are especially proud of their desserts. I have had the opportunity to travel throughout all the southern states, and I am amazed at the sweet treasures that I have discovered in the smallest corners of communities. And there are so many more of these hidden delights around the South waiting to be discovered. What’s more, these communities—with some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet—are so open and willing to share.–Belinda Sullivan-Smith

Common Questions

Why did my pecan tassies stick to the pan?

If you’ve overfilled the pastry, even by a little bit, it will bubble up in the oven. Once the syrupy pecan filling starts to harden, it will stick to the sides of the pan like glue. So take that as a warning and fill carefully.

How do I get my stuck pecan tassies out of the pan?

If your pecan tassies bubbled over and have become too difficult to remove, put them back in a warm oven for a minute or 2 (just enough to soften that filling), then poke a paring knife gently between the side of the muffin tin and the pastry and lift.

Pecan tassies in close-up, piled on top of each other.

Pecan Tassies

4.67 / 3 votes
These little pastry cups of pecan goodness are addictive—they are like mini-tart versions of the pecan pie. Make lots of these—they won’t last long on your dessert table!
David Leite
CourseDessert
CuisineSouthern
Servings24 tassies
Calories130 kcal
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients 

For the pastry

  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling

  • 1 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Spray a 24-count mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray.
  • In a medium bowl, use a to beat together the butter and cream cheese. Add the flour and mix until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Divide dough into 24 even pieces (using a scoop makes this easier) and, using a small wooden tart tamper, press dough into the bottoms and sides of the prepared muffin pan. (If you don’t have a tart tamper, you can use your fingers to press the dough into the cups.) The dough should reach the top of the cups.
  • Evenly divvy 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans between the muffin cups.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, vanilla, and salt. Add brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the remaining pecans and mix until blended and smooth. Using a small scoop, fill each cup evenly to about 3/4 full and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup chopped pecans evenly among the cups.
  • Bake until the center is almost set, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Southern Sugar

Adapted From

Southern Sugar

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 130 kcalCarbohydrates: 12 gProtein: 1 gFat: 9 gSaturated Fat: 4 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 23 mgSodium: 19 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 7 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Belinda Smith-Sullivan. Photo © 2021 Kate Blohm. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Nothing says the holidays like pecan tassies! I love the ratio of base to filling and prefer it to a full-blown pecan pie (which I find unbearably sweet).

I started with the base for this recipe and used a small (slightly more than half tablespoon) scoop to portion out the balls of dough – lo and behold I had exactly 24! This was promising! The filling was another story. There was way too much and the end product was too sweet for my taste, so I made the recipe again using 2/3 cup brown sugar. These tassies were much more pleasing; perfectly sweet with only about 2 tablespoons of unused filling.

These pecan tassies are delicious, everyone loved them and asked for more, like a mouthful of pecan pie cobbler. The pecan tassies were gone in less than one day. They’re a little bit more work than other cookies but are wonderful for a special occasion. 

The crust of the tassie is very good but if it becomes warm it becomes very soft and not easy to mold. Definitely need a little bit of patience to shape the crust. I did not have a tart tamper, I tried molding the crust with a melon baller but that didn’t work out too well. I used my fingers to shape the crust.  And you do need to be careful to shape the crust evenly on the bottom and sides of the tart pan. 

The filling is delicious and I liked that you added pecans to the bottom of the tassie crust, some was added to the filling and then the tassie is topped off with a sprinkling of pecans. 




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely fabulous and super easy! I cheated and used pre-made pie crust. These disappear in no time right out of the oven.

    1. Kelly, super! I’m thrilled you liked it and made it easier for yourself at this busy time of year.

  2. Well in Canada for generations we have called them “Butter Tarts”. Here is a link to a page with lots of butter tarts.