When my mother-in-law was in town a couple of weeks ago, my husband and I decided to throw a dinner party so she could meet our closest friends. We chose a fall-themed menu, but instead of baking a pecan or pumpkin pie, my MIL suggested we make maple-cashew mini-tarts. She had just come across the recipe and wanted to give it a go. Although we didn’t stick to the recipe exactly, the mini-tarts were delicious and super easy to prepare.
Following the recipe below I’ll share what we did differently.
Adapted from The Pampered Chef
Makes 1 dozen
1 cup salted cashews*
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (do not use maple-flavored pancake syrup), divided
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 pkg refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts), soften according to package directions**
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Coarsely chop cashews. Combine eggs, brown sugar, 1/3 cup (75 mL) of the maple syrup, butter and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Stir cashews into egg mixture; set aside.
- Unroll one pie crust and cut out six pastry circles measuring 3 3/4 in. Discard remaining dough. Pinch edges of circles inward at 1/2-in. intervals, creating ruffled shells. Place shells into muffin pan wells; repeat with remaining pie crust.***
- Stir cashew mixture until combined; pour evenly into shells until two-thirds full. Bake 18-21 minutes or until shells are golden brown. Remove pan from oven to cooling rack; cool completely. Brush tops of tarts with remaining maple syrup.
* Rather than using cashews, which we didn’t have on hand, we substituted pecans. Doing so made the mini-tarts taste just like pecan pie, but they lacked a little bit of salt, which they would’ve had if we used salted cashews. I think they would’ve tasted even better with the salt.
** To minimize the amount of work required, we skipped the pie crust and used pre-made phyllo cups. We used the same amount of filling but produced more mini-tarts because they were so tiny and came with more than 12 per package. (I actually think we used two packages.) Since they were pre-cooked, we didn’t have to keep them in the oven for as long as the recipe calls for. I believe we baked them for 15 minutes or less.
*** We placed the phyllo cups on a foil-covered cookie sheet since they were too teeny for a muffin pan. (A mini-muffin pan might have worked.) Because they were so small, some of the gooey center oozed over the sides and onto the foil. This made removing the phyllo cups a bit, well, sticky, and some of them didn’t hold their shape too well. At first we weren’t sure if we should serve the “imperfect” ones, but we quickly realized that they tasted just as good — and that our friends wouldn’t care!
(photo by me)