Pecan Buttermilk Pie Tartelettes (P. Allen Smith)

Happy Boxing Day, everyone! It’s insane to me that Christmas has come and gone.

Similar to my thoughts on blondies, I’d never met a pecan pie that wasn’t much too sweet. And yet pecan pie is so tasty, I could never resist having a piece when it’s available. When Thanksgiving rolled around, I went on the hunt for a less-sweet pecan pie recipe. I found P. Allen Smith’s recipe, courtesy of this funny blog post. Candied pecans? Buttermilk? I’m in.

The recipe is really very simple. The buttermilk pie filling is a one-bowl recipe with no mixer needed. And the candied pecans are easy to make as well. I cut the sugar in the pie filling by 1/4 cup and cut a little of the sugar from the pecan topping.

For Thanksgiving, I made these into mini tarts. They make a great hors d’oeurvre or dessert finger food. I made the full-size pie version for Christmas. The candied pecans are a good foil for the tang of the buttermilk pie filling. Rave reviews! I do prefer the tartelette version since they’re simpler to transport and eat. But of course there’s more labor involved.

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Candied pecans

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Buttermilk Pecan Tartelettes

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Pecan Buttermilk Tartelettes/Mini Tarts
(adapted from P. Allen Smith)

Glazed Pecan Topping

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark or light corn syrup (I used light)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil, and lightly grease the foil.
  2. Stir the pecan halves, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a small glass bowl.
  3. Spread the mixture in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake, stirring every 4 minutes (I only stirred once halfway through baking, and they turned out fine), for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the glaze thickens.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and cool.  The pecans can be stored indefinitely in an airtight container at room temperature, but you’ll be using them for the pie topping.

Buttermilk Pie Filling

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 premade pie crust, unbaked (I used Trader Joe’s frozen pie crusts, defrosted overnight)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Combine all the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Make rounds from the pie crust using a small jar lid or round cookie cutter. Shape each tart using your fingers. Try to make sure each tart has edges. They can be rustic. Imperfection is okay!
  4. Scatter the chopped glazed pecans evenly on top of the tarts.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes (will depend on your oven. Baking the full pie took over an hour for me) or until set.
  6. Let the tarts cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature.
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