Alison Miksch
Active Time
20 MIN
Total Time
1 HR
Yield
Serves : Makes 2 dozen

Each year after the Thanksgiving feast, my family sprawls in the living room, feet up, pants buttons undone (not a thing for me, as I’ve learned to wear stretchy pants on this particular day). The sound of snoring from a few select family members is drowned out by the football game on TV. It’s a common scene in households across the land. And while most people blame the tryptophan in the turkey for this all-American post-Thanksgiving naptime tradition, I blame the third slice of pie, which is always, for me, pecan.

In the game of chess that is my Thanksgiving dessert table, pumpkin pie is king, and Grandma’s apple pie is queen, and I always have a slice of each. Pecan is more like the rook—noble and beguiling, it draws me in every year with its crackly, nut-flecked top and gooey, sweet filling. Yes, pecan pie is the third-best holiday pie—yet I still can’t resist having some.

But really all I want is one perfect bite of pecan pie, so you’ll find just a sliver on my dessert plate. The problem with just-a-sliver of pecan pie is that it is an imbalanced specimen: That gooey, cloyingly sweet filling is never juxtaposed with enough flaky crust. Even one bite is sometimes too much.

Enter the tassie. These diminutive pecan pie poppers, with a higher crust-to-filling ratio, offer the perfect bite. I spike them with bourbon to both cut through and complement the sweetness. And you (yes, you) can get this cream cheese crust right 100% of the time. The dough is forgiving as can be; no rolling pin needed, just press it into mini muffin cups, fill, and bake. What’s that you say? Oh, you don’t own a mini muffin tin, because you’re a normal human? Well, go down to the thrift store and buy yourself one for next to nothing. (Goodwill is my go-to for almost-unnecessary kitchen equipment on the cheap.) It’s a wise investment for winning the Thanksgiving dessert game for years to come.

How to Make It

Step 1    

Make the dough: Combine flour, cream cheese, butter, and fine salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until a moist, crumbly dough forms, about 30 seconds.

Step 2    

Divide dough into 24 pieces; roll into balls. Press each ball into bottoms and up sides of the cups of a mini muffin pan, making sure dough comes up a little over the edges of the cups. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Step 3    

Make the filling: Whisk together brown sugar and flour in a 2- or 4-cup liquid measuring cup with a spout (or similar spouted container). Add bourbon, egg, melted butter, vanilla, and fine salt; whisk to combine. Divide chopped pecans evenly among dough cups. Pour filling evenly into cups. Top each with a pecan half.

Step 4    

Bake in preheated oven until crusts are golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. While tassies are still warm, invert pan onto a wire rack to release tassies. Turn them right side up, and let cool completely. Top with flaky salt, if desired. (Tassies can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 4 days or in freezer up to 3 months.)

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