Not as fiddly as you might think! This recipe from Food and Wine is perfectly proportioned for 24 mini tarts and the shells need to be frozen for a bit anyway…I ended up leaving them for a couple of days which makes these a lovely make-ahead dessert.
Dough – for 24 tarts
1 c. flour AND 1/2 t. sea salt
3 oz. cream cheese AND 1/2 c. butter – both at room temperature
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans
1 T. flour AND 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. bourbon
1 egg AND 1 T. butter, melted
1 t. vanilla AND 1/4 t. sea salt
24 pecan halves for topping each tart
flaky salt for garnish
To make the dough, add the 4 ingredients to your electric mixer and mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together and then mix on medium until a crumbly dough forms, about 30 seconds. Weigh the dough and portion it into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then use a ‘mini tart press’, or your fingers, to press each ball into the bottom and up the sides of the mini muffin cups. Make sure the dough is pressed right up to the tops because it will shrink a bit as it cooks and you want the filling to stay put! Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for about a half hour until firm – or, leave the shells in the freezer for as long as you need.
When you’re ready to get baking, preheat the oven to 350, take the shells out of the freezer, sprinkle the finely chopped pecans evenly at the bottom of the 24 tarts and start the filling.
In a small bowl or cup with a pour-able spout, whisk together the flour and brown sugar, then add in the bourbon, egg, melted butter, vanilla and salt and whisk until well combined. Carefully pour the filling into the prepared shells, making sure to stop and whisk again after every few are filled. Top each tart with a pecan half.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the centers are set and puffed and the edges of each tart are lightly browned. Leave them to set in the pans for a few minutes, then carefully use a sharp edge of a knife to loosen any edges that might be stuck and lift/pry/lever each tart out onto a rack to cool completely – mine came out shockingly easily! Sprinkle with some flaky salt before serving if you’d like!