Tartlets: Little Squash Pies with Pecan Crusts

posted by SandyOH 11-10-102 1:03 PM

Little Squash Pies in Pecan Crusts

2 sticks butter (1 cup), softened
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon cold water

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 cups half and half
3 cups cooked and pureed butternut or acorn squash or pumpkin
1/4 cup light rum
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 pecan halves

To make the crust, combine the butter, flour, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and knead until evenly blended, then blend in pecans. Add the water and knead until smooth. Press walnut-size pieces of dough into 2-inch muffin cups, lining the bottom and sides.

To make the filling, combine the sugars, flour, salt and spices in the top of a double boiler. Gradually whisk in the half and half and then blend in the squash. Place the mixture over simmering water and bring to just below the simmering point.

While the squash mixture is heating, beat the eggs in a mixing bowl until they are thick and pale in color. Gradually pour the hot squash mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Then add the rum and blend well.

Pour the mixture back into the top of the double boiler and cook, stirring constantly with a spoon, until the custard has thickened enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Do not allow the custard to simmer at any point.
Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat and dip it into a large bowl of ice water to stop the custard from cooking any further. Beat the custard briskly for 5 minutes to help cool it off rapidly, then beat in vanilla. Allow filling to cool. (Can be made up to a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered; return to room temperature before baking.)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spoon the filling into the crusts and top each with a pecan half. Bake the tartlets for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store the tarts, covered, in the refrigerator until serving.

Makes 2 dozen tartlets

Source: John Hadamuscin's Enchanted Evenings

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