Posted: December 6, 2016
With the holiday season here and many home bakers preparing for cookie swaps and holiday parties, we teamed up with The Real Housewives of New Jersey star, Kathy Wakile, for a special holiday baking recipe. A proud BlueStar owner of a 48″ BlueStar range and two Electric Wall Ovens in Infused Copper, Kathy, is known not only for her appearances on TV but for her skill and love for cooking and baking. Her cookbook, “Indulge: Delicious Little Desserts That Keep Life Real Sweet” features dessert recipes that are broken down by the season. This recipe is always one that Kathy looks forward to making for friends and family.
Kathy is excited to treat us to her recipe for Itty Bitty Pecan Pies, one of her favorites for this time of year. “I love this recipe. All the decadence of pecan pie in a small bite packed with flavor and can easily be part of a fantastic cookie tray!” The ability to fit full sized sheet pans in all of her ovens allows Kathy to do the prep and cooking for hundreds of these delicious treats all at one time.
Cream Cheese Pastry
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon Amaretto
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 36 pecan halves
- Electric Mixer
- Two heavyweight nonstick 24-cavity mini muffin pans
- 2 1/2″ round cutter, or a glass, can or bowl with an opening of that diameter
- Small pastry tamper, optional
Directions: Pecan Pie Recipe
- To make the pastry, combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for about 1 minute. Add the flour and salt and mix on medium speed just until a dough begins to form and the ingredients are incorporated. Flour your hands and pat the dough together in the bowl, folding it over on itself a few times to mix in any flour that remains on the surface. Form it into a ball, then flatten it into a disk, wrap it tightly in wax paper, and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (The pastry can be made one day ahead and kept tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes to soften.)
- To form the pastry cups, on a lightly floured work surface roll the chilled dough out to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Use a 2 1/2″ round cutter to cut about 3 dozen round (re-roll scraps as needed). Carefully transfer the dough rounds to the muffin cups and use a small pastry tamper or your fingers to mold the dough into the cups (if you are using your fingers, use a light touch to press the dough evenly across the bottom of each cup and up the sides). Transfer the pans to the refrigerator to keep the dough cold while you prepare the filling. (You can do this one day ahead; wrap tightly, and keep refrigerated – or double wrap and freeze for up to 1 month, then fill and bake without thawing, adding an extra minute or two for the baking time.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with two racks positioned in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
- To make the filling, in a large bowl combine the butter, salt and sugar and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the corn syrup, vanilla, orange zest, and Amaretto and continue mixing on medium-high until uniformly blended.
- Beat in the egg. Transfer the filling to a large measuring cup with a spout.
- Divide the chopped pecans evenly among the pastry shells. Pour in just enough of the filling so it comes not quite level with the top edge of the pastry shells. Top each pie with a pecan half.
- Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until the filling is golden brown. Set the pans on wire racks. Cool for about 5 minutes. While the pies are still slightly warm, run the tip of a small sharp knife around the top edge to make sure any filling that has oozed out around the pastry doesn’t adhere to he pan. Then let cool completely to room temperature before using the little knife to gently ease the pies out of the pan.
From Indulge by Kathy Wakile, with Miriam Harris. Copyright © 2014 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, LLC