Saturday, 22 March 2014

Maple Pecan Pies

Before I made these, I really didn't think they'd be my kind of thing. I'm not a huge fan of nuts, or pastry desserts, but I was bowled over by just how nice these little pies were. They came about in a flash of inspiration when a block of shortcrust was leftover from the date and banana slices my mum and I made over the Christmas holidays. Naturally, I took to Pinterest for inspiration, and it wasn't long at all before I struck pastry gold.

These are a twist on the American Holiday classic. As I say, I'd never tried it before, mainly brushing it off as something I assumed I wouldn't like because of the main ingredient, but I gave them a go knowing the rest of my family would like them. I ended up loving them, so even if you don't like nuts I'd recommend giving these pies a go.

Using only a handful of ingredients, you'll most likely be able to make these little tarts with things that are already in your kitchen. They take next to no time to make and are super easy, great for family baking. Their perfectly portioned size means you're no overwhelmed with sweet sickliness, either. Of course, you could make a full sized pecan pie if you wanted, but it being Christmas I wanted something that wasn't going to take up a lot of space or was tricky to serve. Making a big bath of small pies also makes them ideal as presents or 'thank you' gifts.

Maple Pecan Pies

500g shortcrust pastry
110g brown sugar
110g maple syrup
2 tbsp butter
60ml milk
1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until approximately 5mm thick. Cut pastry into circles with a large round biscuit cutter (you can also do one big pie by cutting the pastry to fit a large pie tin), and place into the holes of a muffin tin. Prick the pastry lightly with a fork, being careful not to go all the way through to the tin. Bake blind (the empty pastry shells) for 7-10 minutes to stop the pastry becoming soggy later.
2. Melt the butter, sugar, syrup and milk in a saucepan over a low heat. Bring to the boil then remove and leave to cool slightly.
3. Gradually beat in the egg to the syrup mixture, whisking well. Stir in the chopped nuts.
4. Spoon 1-2tbsp of the mixture into each partly baked pastry shells. Return to the oven and bake until set, about 25-30 minutes.

Keep pies in an airtight container for freshness.

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