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Thanksgiving Tartlets

Perhaps the most famous quote about pies is the expression, “Easy as pie.” I’m not sure where that quote came from, but I call malarkey. Pies are delicious, but they are not easy. It is a multi-step process that is worth the effort, but you should know before you begin, this is not a simple process. Be prepared to hurry up and wait several times during the pie/tartlet making process. If you are looking for a one-bowl quickie dessert, I suggest brownies, but if you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving dessert, nothing beats a pie as far as tradition is concerned.

Instead of a pie, I made tartlets. Tartlets are nothing more than mini-pies using a muffin tin instead of a pie pan. The main differences between making tartlets to pies are time and labor. Since they’re smaller, they require less time to bake. However, since they are individually shaped, it is more labor-intensive to put these together.

Pie Crust

Yesterday, I started by making the pie crust. I’ve experimented over the years with making pie crusts with butter only or shortening only. I find that the best crusts concerning flavor and ease of handling are those made with a combination of butter and shortening. Regardless, make sure that the butter and shortening are freezer cold before starting. Using my food processor, I divided Ina Garten’s pie crust recipe into thirds. I have a small food processor, which is great for grinding nuts and making hummus, but it’s too small to make all of the pie crust at once. However, it’s size is perfect for dividing the pie crust into portions ideal for a 12 muffin tin.

In the food processor, add 4 tablespoons very cold butter (I use salted, but the recipe I went with called for unsalted), 2 tablespoons very cold shortening, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 cup (gluten-free) flour, and 3 tablespoons icy water. Pulse until combined, then pour onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Form into a ball and stick it in the refrigerator or the freezer, depending on how soon you plan to bake pies. Each batch is the perfect portion for a twelve tin muffin so repeat as often as you need. I made three (two for the recipes below and a third for future use).

To prepare the muffin tins, melt some butter and use a brush to paint the cavities of the muffin tins. Take parchment paper and cut circles the size of the base of the muffin tin. This part is a little tedious, however, it will prevent the unfortunate epic fail of the crust from becoming glued to the tin. I’ve had this happen in the past, so now, I don’t skip this step. Butter alone will not cut it.

Take the pie dough out of the refrigerator and divide the dough into twelve equal pieces. Place inside the muffin tin cavities. Using your fingers or a shot glass, press the dough down and along in the insides of the muffin tin. Once the muffin tin is set up, place it in the refrigerator until the fillings are ready.

Cherry Pie Tartlets

For my cherry pie tartlets, I pitted about a cup of fresh cherries and mixed them with 1/4 cup Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves. I didn’t add anything else. I think the combination of fresh fruit and preserves is perfectly sweetened and gooey for my taste, but the proportions can vary depending on your tastes. You could probably use the preserves alone if you’d like.

I divided the cherry mixture evenly between the twelve tins, then added a little extra pie dough on top. My presentation is not pretty, but I did this for another reason. It is easier to tell whether the dough is done baking when there is a top to the pie. I baked them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and let cool.

Pecan Pie Tartlets

For my pecan pie tartlet, I combined 1 cup shelled pecans, 1 large egg, 1/3 cup dark corn syrup, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons melted butter, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of cinnamon.

I divided the pecan mixture evenly between the twelve tins, but I did not add any additional pie dough on top. I baked at 350 for 30 minutes and let cool.

Keto Pecan Pie Cookies

For Maggie’s dessert, I used star-shaped molds to assemble.

  1. Mix 3 grams of melted butter and 2 grams Truvia with the almond flour. Press down on the base of the silicone molds;

  2. Mix 3 grams of melted butter with 2 grams Truvia and chopped pecans. Pour on top of almond crusts;

  3. Bake at 325 degrees for 7 minutes;

  4. Serve with whipped cream mixed with 2 grams Truvia and 10% fruit (like applesauce). If using applesauce, you could mix it with the whipped cream.

We (myself and my family) thinks the tartlets were delicious. Hopefully, they’ll make it to Thanksgiving, but if they don’t, I’ve got extra pie dough in the refrigerator, just in case.

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!


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