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Two-bite tassies get all your Thanksgiving pie favorites on one plate

November 16, 2021 at 10:00 p.m. | Updated November 17, 2021 at 9:37 a.m.
Pecan Tassies. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Tiny as a teacup and just as cute, the tassie is best known as a pecan-filled, cookie-like pastry. But why stop at pecan? Just about anything can fill a tassie's wee pastry crust.

After a muted pandemic holiday season last year, some are gearing up for bigger Thanksgivings, Friendsgivings and other parties with those near and dear. Others are still keeping things close and cautious. Whether your group will be large or small, you're going to need dessert. Instead of making one or three full-size pies, what if you made a few trays of tassies? That way, no matter what kind of gathering you plan to have, everyone can have a bite (or four!) of their favorite Thanksgiving dessert flavors.

Below, find formulas for classic pecan tassies, pumpkin tassies, apple crumble tassies, cranberry tassies, lemon tassies, chocolate tassies and buttermilk chess tassies.

Here's the best part: Tassie pastry is made with cream cheese, so it's very forgiving. It can be made in a mixer or with your hands, and there's no rolling. You'll press small balls of the dough into and up the sides of mini muffin tins to make the very flaky crusts for these two-bite pies.

Each recipe makes enough for 12 tassies, and can be baked in either a 12- or 24-cup mini muffin tin. If you have a 24-cup mini muffin tin, you can make a single batch and fill only 12 cups, double a recipe or mix and match two fillings in the same pan. (All of the recipes bake at the same temperature for the same amount of time.) Pecan and chocolate go well together, as do pumpkin and buttermilk chess. Apple crumble and cranberry meringue would also be a nice pairing. The recipes are easily doubled and quadrupled. They keep well, and a box of tassies makes a darling gift, too.

PECAN: This classic recipe for pecan tassies was adapted from our archives. Brown sugar and a touch of salt in the filling produces a butterscotch-like layer in each one. Toasted pecans rise to the top and add crunch to each bite.

PUMPKIN: The simplest pumpkin custard gets a generous hit of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg for these pumpkin pie-inspired tassies. Top each with the tiniest dollop of whipped cream, if you'd like.

BUTTERMILK CHESS: Tangy buttermilk and browned butter unite in a rich, chess-like custard for a Southern-inspired tassie.

APPLE CRUMBLE: The tart and spiced apple filling for these apple pie-like tassies turns jammy as it bakes. A crunchy brown sugar crumble bakes on top of each one for a pleasant counterpoint.

CRANBERRY: Ruby red, and with a filling that's more sour than sweet, these cranberry tassies are made from either fresh or frozen fruit. Add an optional dollop of toasted meringue, a sugared cranberry and sprig of rosemary to offset the tart filling.

LEMON: Like teeny tiny lemon tarts, these lemon tassies will make your mouth pucker -- a welcome contrast after a meal of heavy, mellow and meaty flavors. Use a blowtorch or your broiler to toast a swirl of meringue on top for extra fun.

CHOCOLATE: Like a brownie bite in a buttery crust, this recipe for chocolate tassies is stuffed with chopped dark chocolate. A pinch of flaky sea salt on top enhances the chocolate's complex flavors.

Pecan Tassies

Active time: 15 minutes Total time: 35 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling dough

12 servings (makes 12 tassies)

The word "tassie" comes from the Scottish for little cup or glass, which is derived from the French, la tasse. Accordingly, these bite-size pies are baked in little cups, or mini muffin tins.

They all start with a simple cream cheese dough, which can be made in a mixer or by hand. Skip the rolling, chilling and crimping and just use your fingers to fit the forgiving dough into the bottom and up the sides of each muffin cup.

Then, spoon in an easy filling that's heavy on toasted pecans and brown sugar and bakes into two layers: A butterscotch-like sauce settles into the bottom, while sugared, toasted pecans rise to the top and add lots of crunch. Think of them as miniature pecan pies.

Tassies are best the day they are baked, but the dough and filling may be made up to 3 days in advance. You'll need a mini muffin tin to make these. If your tin has 24 cups, you can double the recipe, or make another filling flavor. It is not necessary to grease the tin.

Storage: Leftover tassies can be covered and stored at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Make Ahead: The dough must be refrigerated for 1 hour. The dough and the filling can be made up to 3 days in advance.

NOTE: If doubling the filling recipe, use 1 large whole egg rather than 2 egg whites.

FOR THE CRUST

4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60 grams) unsalted butter, softened, but still cool to the touch

1 1/2 ounces (40 grams) cream cheese, softened, but still cool to the touch

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (70 grams) all-purpose flour

FOR THE FILLING

1 large egg white (see NOTE)

1/3 cup (70 grams) packed light brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup chopped pecans, preferably toasted

1/8 teaspoon fine sea or table salt

Make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment -- or, if using a hand mixer, in a large bowl -- beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the flour. On low speed, mix until no streaks remain and the dough starts to come together, about 1 minute. Scrape any stray dough from the sides of the bowl, gather into a ball and flatten into a smooth rectangle or disc. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cut the cold dough into 12 equal pieces, about 1-inch cubes, and, using your fingers, evenly press each piece into the bottom and up the sides of 12 mini muffin cups, making sure there are no holes. Refrigerate, uncovered, while you make the filling.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl, mix together the egg white, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, pecans and salt until combined. Retrieve the muffin pan from the refrigerator, and add 1 heaping tablespoon of filling into each dough cup, filling it about 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before removing the tassies.

Nutrition information per tassie: Calories: 110; Total Fat: 8 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 15 mg; Sodium: 40 mg; Carbohydrates: 10 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 5 g; Protein: 1 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian's or nutritionist's advice.

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza

Cranberry Tassies

Active time: 15 minutes Total time: 35 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling dough

12 servings (makes 12 tassies)

These tiny cranberry pies make a refreshingly tart dessert for a fall or winter holiday meal. Ruby red, thanks to fresh cranberries in the filling, they can be as simple or festive as you'd like.

The dough for the bite-size pastries is made with cream cheese, which enhances the tang of the crimson fruit filling. It's easy to make by hand, but comes together quicker in a mixer. Chill it before using your fingers to fit small pieces of the forgiving dough into the cups of a mini muffin tin.

Then, make the four-ingredient filling in a blender, pour it into each pastry cup and bake. Leave them unadorned, or dress them up with a sheath of toasted meringue and jewel-like sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs.

Tassies are best the day they are baked, but the dough and filling may be made up to 3 days in advance. You'll need a mini muffin tin to make these. If your tin has 24 cups, you can double the recipe, or make another filling flavor. It is not necessary to grease the tin.

Storage: Leftover tassies can be covered and stored at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Make Ahead: The dough must be refrigerated for 1 hour. The dough and the filling can be made up to 3 days in advance.

NOTE: If doubling, you can use 2 egg whites or 1 whole egg.

FOR THE CRUST

4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60 grams) unsalted butter, softened, but still cool to the touch

1 1/2 ounces (40 grams) cream cheese, softened, but still cool to the touch

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (70 grams) all-purpose flour

FOR THE FILLING

1 cup (3 1/2 ounces/100 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cranberry, orange or pomegranate juice

1 large egg white (see NOTE)

FOR MERINGUE (OPTIONAL)

1 large egg white

1/8 teaspoon fine sea or table salt

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar, preferably superfine

FOR GARNISH (OPTIONAL)

3/4 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar, divided

1/4 cup (60 milliliters) water

12 fresh cranberries (about 1/2 cup/50 grams)

12 tiny sprigs fresh rosemary

Make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment -- or, if using a hand mixer, in a large bowl -- beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the flour. On low speed, mix until no streaks remain and the dough starts to come together, about 1 minute. Scrape any stray dough from the sides of the bowl, gather into a ball and flatten into a smooth rectangle or disc. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cut the cold dough into 12 equal pieces, about 1-inch cubes, and, using your fingers, evenly press each piece into the bottom and up the sides of 12 mini muffin cups, making sure there are no holes. Refrigerate, uncovered, while you make the filling.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Make the filling: In a food processor or blender, blitz the cranberries, sugar and juice until pureed, about 1 minute. Add the egg white, and process or blend just until mixed, no more than 10 seconds. Retrieve the muffin pan from the refrigerator and add 1 heaping tablespoon of filling into each dough cup, filling it almost to the top.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely before removing the tassies.

Make the meringue, if using: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment -- or, in a medium bowl using a hand mixer -- whip the egg white and salt on high speed until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the sugar, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form, 4 to 6 minutes. Using a teaspoon or small piping bag, top each tassie with a small dollop of meringue. (The meringue recipe makes enough for 12 to 24 tassies, depending on how much you use on each.)

Use a small blowtorch to toast the meringue before serving, if desired, or place the tassies under the broiler for a few seconds to brown just the top edges of the meringue. Some meringues may darken before others, so remove them as they reach their desired toastiness. Watch carefully to prevent burning.

Make the garnish, if using: While the tassies are baking, place 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of the sugar and the water and bring to a rolling boil. Cool completely. Add cranberries and rosemary sprigs, tossing to coat, then, using a slotted spoon or fork, transfer glazed cranberries and rosemary to the bowl of sugar. Toss to coat. Garnish each tassie with a sugared cranberry and a sprig of sugared rosemary.

Nutrition information per tassie (with 1 tablespoon meringue) Calories: 100; Total Fat: 5 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 14 mg; Sodium: 30 mg; Carbohydrates: 13 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 8 g; Protein: 1 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian's or nutritionist's advice.

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza

Pumpkin Tassies

Active time: 20 minutes Total time: 40 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling dough

12 servings (makes 12 tassies)

For when you want pumpkin pie, but don't want an entire slice, consider the tassie -- a two-bite pastry that's far easier, but no less satisfying.

To make them, a tender cream cheese dough is pressed into mini muffin tins. These get filled with a simple pumpkin custard spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Adjust the spices to your liking; a pinch of cardamom or cloves might be good here. Or, use a homemade pumpkin spice blend.

After they've baked and cooled, consider adding a tiny dollop of vanilla bean whipped cream, sweetened or unsweetened, to the top of each one before serving.

Tassies are best the day they are baked, but the dough and filling may be made up to 3 days in advance. You'll need a mini muffin tin to make these. If your tin has 24 cups, you can double the recipe, or make another filling flavor. It is not necessary to grease the tin.

Storage: Leftover tassies can be covered and stored at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Make Ahead: The dough must be refrigerated for 1 hour. The dough and the filling can be made up to 3 days in advance.

FOR THE CRUST

4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60 grams) unsalted butter, softened, but still cool to the touch

1 1/2 ounces (40 grams) cream cheese, softened, but still cool to the touch

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (70 grams) all-purpose flour

FOR THE FILLING

1 large egg, cold

1/2 cup (110 grams) packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup (113 grams) canned pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon heavy cream or evaporated milk

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon fine sea or table salt

FOR THE TOPPING

1/4 cup (60 milliliters) heavy whipping cream, very cold

2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

Freshly grated nutmeg or ground cinnamon, for sprinkling (optional)

Make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment -- or, if using a hand mixer, in a large bowl -- beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the flour. On low speed, mix until no streaks remain and the dough starts to come together, about 1 minute. Scrape any stray dough from the sides of the bowl, gather into a ball and flatten into a smooth rectangle or disc. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cut the cold dough into 12 equal pieces, about 1-inch cubes, and, using your fingers, evenly press each piece into the bottom and up the sides of 12 mini muffin cups, making sure there are no holes. Refrigerate, uncovered, while you make the filling.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the egg until it's homogenous, then stir in the brown sugar, pumpkin puree, cream or evaporated milk, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and salt until just combined. Retrieve the muffin pan from the refrigerator, and, using a glass measuring cup or tablespoon, add about 1 tablespoon of filling into each dough cup, filling each almost to the top.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before removing the tassies.

Make the whipped cream, if using: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and on medium-high speed -- or, in a medium bowl using a hand whisk -- whip the cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla, until soft peaks form. Using a teaspoon, place a small dollop of whipped cream atop each tassie, and sprinkle it with nutmeg or cinnamon, if using, before serving.

Nutrition information per tassie Calories: 169; Total Fat: 8 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 38 mg; Sodium: 44 mg; Carbohydrates: 25 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 19 g; Protein: 2 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian's or nutritionist's advice.

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza

Buttermilk Chess Tassies

Active time: 15 minutes Total time: 35 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling dough

12 servings (makes 12 tassies)

Inspired by a Southern-style chess pie, these tassies are filled with a buttermilk and browned butter custard that's tangy and not too sweet. They couldn't be easier to make, and what they lack in curb appeal, they more than make up for in simple but rich, almost caramelized flavors.

To make the crusts, you'll cream together cream cheese and butter. Stir in flour to make a soft, tender dough, and then let it chill until it's firm as Play-Doh. Then, it's easy to use your fingers to mold pieces of it into a mini muffin pan.

If you wanted to dress these tassies up, you could add a thin drizzle of salted caramel, sprinkle white chocolate curls or shavings on top, or garnish each with a strip of candied orange peel or a few slivers of toasted or candied almonds.

Tassies are best the day they are baked, but the dough and filling may be made up to 3 days in advance. You'll need a mini muffin tin to make these. If your tin has 24 cups, you can double the recipe, or make another filling flavor. It is not necessary to grease the tin.

Storage: Leftover tassies can be covered and stored at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Make Ahead: The dough must be refrigerated for 1 hour. The dough and the filling can be made up to 3 days in advance.

FOR THE CRUST

4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60 grams) unsalted butter, softened, but still cool to the touch

1 1/2 ounces (40 grams) cream cheese, softened, but still cool to the touch

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (70 grams) all-purpose flour

FOR THE FILLING

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar

3 tablespoons buttermilk

1 large egg, cold

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt

2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter

Make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment -- or, if using a hand mixer, in a large bowl -- beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the flour. On low speed, mix until no streaks remain and the dough starts to come together, about 1 minute. Scrape any stray dough from the sides of the bowl, gather into a ball and flatten into a smooth rectangle or disc. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cut the cold dough into 12 equal pieces, about 1-inch cubes, and, using your fingers, evenly press each piece into the bottom and up the sides of 12 mini muffin cups, making sure there are no holes. Refrigerate, uncovered, while you make the filling.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl or 1-pint glass measuring cup, whisk together the sugar, buttermilk, egg, vanilla and salt until just combined. In a small skillet over high heat, melt the butter until it foams, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until it starts to turn brown and smell nutty, about 30 seconds. Immediately whisk it into the egg mixture.

Retrieve the muffin pan from the refrigerator, and add 1 heaping tablespoon of filling into each dough cup, filling it almost to the top.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before removing the tassies.

Nutrition information per tassie Calories: 112; Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 35 mg; Sodium: 45 mg; Carbohydrates: 10 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 6 g; Protein: 1 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian's or nutritionist's advice.

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza

Apple Crumble Tassies

Active time: 30 minutes Total time: 50 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling dough

12 servings (makes 12 tassies)

Compared to a full-size pie, these miniature apple crumble tassies take significantly less time to make and bake. Plus, the cream cheese-based crust gets pressed into mini muffin cups, meaning there's no need to roll out rounds of dough or crimp edges. Made with grated apple, the filling cooks into a tart-sweet, slightly jammy pocket of spiced fruit. Feel free to alter the amounts of each spice or use a different blend entirely. A simple crumble topping bakes into a craggly cookie-like cap on each mini pie.

Tassies are best the day they are baked, but the dough and filling may be made up to 3 days in advance. You'll need a mini muffin tin to make these. If your tin has 24 cups, you can double the recipe, or make another filling flavor (see related recipes). It's not necessary to grease the tin.

Make Ahead: The dough must be refrigerated for 1 hour. The dough and filling can be made up to 3 days in advance. Stir any made-ahead filling before portioning into cups, to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed

Storage Notes: Leftover tassies may be refrigerated in covered containers for up to 2 days.

FOR THE CRUST

4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60 grams) unsalted butter, softened, but still cool to the touch

1 1/2 ounces (40 grams) cream cheese, softened, but still cool to the touch

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (70 grams) all-purpose flour

FOR THE TOPPING

1/4 cup (31 grams) all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar, preferably dark brown

1/8 teaspoon fine sea or table salt

2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter, softened

FOR THE FILLING

1 medium apple (about 6 ounces/ 150 grams), preferably Granny Smith (see NOTE)

1/4 cup (55 grams) packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon fine sea or table salt

Confectioners' sugar, for garnish (optional)

Make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment -- or, if using a hand mixer, in a large bowl -- beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the flour. On low speed, mix until no streaks remain and the dough starts to come together, about 1 minute. Scrape any stray dough from the sides of the bowl, gather into a ball and flatten into a smooth rectangle or disc. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

When ready to bake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Cut the cold dough into 12 equal pieces, about 1-inch cubes, and, using your fingers, evenly press each piece into the bottom and up the sides of 12 mini muffin cups, making sure there are no holes. Refrigerate, uncovered, while you make the filling.

Make the topping: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter, and using your fingers, mash it into the dry ingredients until the butter is no longer visible and small clumps begin to form. If your kitchen is warm, let the crumble chill in the refrigerator until needed.

Make the filling: Peel the apple, if desired. Using the large holes of a grater, grate the apple, around its core, into a medium bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, butter, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt until well combined. Retrieve the muffin pan from the refrigerator, and add a tablespoon of filling into each dough cup, filling it about 3/4 of the way, stopping to stir the filling periodically to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Top each filled tassie with some of the crumble topping, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crumble and crust are golden brown.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely before removing the tassies. Use a fine mesh strainer to dust the tops with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

NOTE: If using a sweeter apple, add a teaspoon or two of fresh lemon juice to the filling to help balance the sweetness.

Nutrition information per tassie Calories: 136; Total Fat: 8 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 21 mg; Sodium: 60 mg; Carbohydrates: 16 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 8 g; Protein: 1 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian's or nutritionist's advice.

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza

Lemon Tassies

Active time: 30 minutes Total time: 50 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling dough

12 servings (makes 12 tassies)

Silky and tart, these tiny lemon pies are a delightful finish to a rich meal. Fresh lemon juice and zest give the filling mouth-puckering flavor; egg yolks ensure it's as golden as sunshine.

If you want, you can use one of the extra egg whites to make a small batch of marshmallow-like meringue, then add a kiss or swirl of fluff to the top of each tassie. A kitchen torch makes quick work of toasting the meringue, or you can run the tassies under the broiler instead.

The flaky crust can be made by hand or in a mixer. After letting it rest in the refrigerator to firm up, use your fingers to fit small pieces of dough into a mini muffin tin -- no rolling or crimping required. Then, just fill and bake.

Tassies are best the day they are baked, but the dough and filling may be made up to 3 days in advance. You'll need a mini muffin tin to make these. If your tin has 24 cups, you can double the recipe, or make another filling flavor. It is not necessary to grease the tin.

Storage: Leftover tassies can be covered and stored at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Make Ahead: The dough must be refrigerated for 1 hour. The dough and the filling can be made up to 3 days in advance.

FOR THE CRUST

4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60 grams) unsalted butter, softened, but still cool to the touch

1 1/2 ounces (40 grams) cream cheese, softened, but still cool to the touch

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (70 grams) all-purpose flour

FOR THE FILLING

2 large egg yolks

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (45 grams) confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

1/4 cup (60 milliliters) fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

FOR THE MERINGUE (OPTIONAL)

1 large egg white

1/8 teaspoon fine sea or table salt

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar, preferably superfine

Make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment -- or, if using a hand mixer, in a large bowl -- beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the flour. On low speed, mix until no streaks remain and the dough starts to come together, about 1 minute. It is OK if it is a bit crumbly. Scrape any stray dough from the sides of the bowl, gather into a ball and flatten into a smooth rectangle or disc. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Break or cut the cold dough into 12 equal pieces, about 1-inch cubes, and, using your fingers, evenly press each piece into the bottom and up the sides of 12 mini muffin cups, making sure there are no holes. Refrigerate, uncovered, while you make the filling.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and juice until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup. Retrieve the muffin pan from the refrigerator, and, using the spout on the measuring cup or tablespoon, add about 1 tablespoon of filling into each dough cup, filling it almost to the top.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is just set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before removing the tassies to a platter or rimless baking sheet.

Make the meringue, if using: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment -- or, in a medium bowl using a hand mixer -- whip the egg white and salt on high speed until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the sugar, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form, 4 to 6 minutes. Using a teaspoon or small piping bag, top each tassie with a small dollop of meringue. (The meringue recipe makes enough for 12 to 24 tassies, depending on how much you use on each.)

Use a small blowtorch to toast the meringue before serving, if desired, or place the tassies under the broiler for a few seconds to brown just the top edges of the meringue. Some meringues may darken before others, so remove them as they reach their desired toastiness Watch carefully to prevent burning.

Nutrition information per tassie (with 1 tablespoon meringue) Calories: 105; Total Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 44 mg; Sodium: 27 mg; Carbohydrates: 12 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 7 g; Protein: 1 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian's or nutritionist's advice.

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza

Chocolate Tassies

Active time: 20 minutes Total time: 40 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling dough

12 servings (makes 12 tassies)

Like a brownie bite baked into a flaky crust, these chocolate tassies contain a simple secret: A whole lot of chopped dark chocolate goes into the gooey filling, helping it stay slightly molten after they're baked.

Use your hands -- or a stand mixer -- to cream softened butter and cream cheese until it's smooth. Then, stir in the flour until a very soft dough forms. Let it rest in the refrigerator for about an hour. Once firm and cool, use your fingers to press the dough into the cups of a mini muffin tin. There's no need to get out a rolling pin, and you can save the blind baking for a fancier pie.

Cocoa powder, butter and lots of chopped dark chocolate pack the filling with richness. An egg white gives it some airiness, but don't overmix the dough or it might souffle too much while baking. To make this filling more candy-bar-like, use milk chocolate instead of dark. Then, spoon it into the dough cups and bake until they're set and puffed. Let them cool before unmolding, adding a pinch of flaky sea salt to the top of each one, and serving. Besides looking pretty, the salt helps bring out the fruity flavors of the chocolate.

Tassies are best the day they are baked, but the dough and filling may be made up to 3 days in advance. You'll need a mini muffin tin to make these. If your tin has 24 cups, you can double the recipe, or make another filling flavor. It is not necessary to grease the tin.

Storage: Leftover tassies can be covered and stored at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Make Ahead: The dough must be refrigerated for 1 hour. The dough and the filling can be made up to 3 days in advance.

NOTE: If doubling this recipe, you can use 2 egg whites or 1 whole egg.

FOR THE CRUST

4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60 grams) unsalted butter, softened, but still cool to the touch

1 1/2 ounces (40 grams) cream cheese, softened, but still cool to the touch

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (70 grams) all-purpose flour

FOR THE FILLING

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed

1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1 large egg white (see NOTE)

1/8 teaspoon fine sea or table salt

1/4 cup (45 grams) chopped dark chocolate (60 to 70%) or chocolate chips, chopped

Flaky sea salt, for garnish (optional)

Make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment -- or, if using a hand mixer, in a large bowl -- beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the flour. On low speed, mix until no streaks remain and the dough starts to come together, about 1 minute. Scrape any stray dough from the sides of the bowl, gather into a ball and flatten into a smooth rectangle or disc. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cut the cold dough into 12 equal pieces, about 1-inch cubes, and, using your fingers, evenly press each piece into the bottom and up the sides of 12 mini muffin cups, making sure there are no holes. Refrigerate, uncovered, while you make the filling.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Make the filling: Place the cocoa powder in a small, heatproof bowl. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, heat the butter just until it's melted. Immediately pour it over the cocoa, and stir until smooth. Stir in the sugar, flour, egg white and salt just until combined. Stir in the chopped chocolate until the mixture is combined, but still chunky.

Retrieve the muffin pan from the refrigerator, and using a soup spoon, fill each dough cup about 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is puffed and set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before removing the tassies. Top each with a pinch of flaky sea salt, if desired, before serving.

Nutrition information per tassie Calories: 120; Total Fat: 8 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 16 mg; Sodium: 40 mg; Carbohydrates: 13 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 7 g; Protein: 2 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian's or nutritionist's advice.

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza

Pecan Tassies. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.
Pecan Tassies. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.


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