Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pecan Tassies (Mini Pecan Tarts) - Wheat/Grain/Sugar Free

It's a bright and beautiful morning here today.  Hubby and I got up and took our morning walk first thing this morning.  I also wanted to take one more look at my Pecan Tassie post here before posting it since it was so late (around midnight) when I finished writing it up last night -- and I don't trust anything I do at that time of night! When I got home from work last night, I was in the mood to cook AND bake!  I made the Brussels Sprout-Bacon Pizza for dinner (which was good). But...before I made the pizza, I converted an old recipe for Pecan Tassies that I've made for over 25 years to a wheat/grain/sugar free version.  Someone had asked me months ago if I could make a "Wheat Belly friendly" version...and I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get around to doing it...but here it is!  I used blanched almond flour instead of the regular all purpose flour in the crust and modified the pecan filling ingredients a bit as well.  For example, the original recipe had 3/4 cup of sugar and 4 tablespoons of maple syrup. In place of the sugar, I used Swerve granular sweetener (which measures like sugar).  In place of the maple syrup, I added an extra egg (for the "goo factor" of the syrup) and 1 tablespoon of pure maple extract that I bought online from OliveNation to provide the natural maple flavor without the sugar.  Most of the maple extracts you find in the store are imitation -- but theirs is natural and very good -- so, I get to enjoy the real maple flavor without the sugar. I have a number of their extracts that I bought about 6 months ago and have enjoyed using them in various recipes, yogurt, etc. They have one of the largest selections of extracts I have ever seen (over 60 flavors)....check them out and see for yourself -- they have some unusual extracts that I didn't even know existed, too.  Here's their link: OliveNation Culinary Extracts.  I also decided to put a bit of a different twist to the Pecan Tassies by adding a couple tablespoons of unsweetened flaked coconut -- I really liked the addition.  It was just enough to add a little crunch and hint of coconut flavor, but not enough to overpower the pecan flavor; I think pecans and coconut go well together.  One of my concerns was whether I would have any trouble removing them from the mini-muffin tins...and I'm happy to say I did not; they came out very easily. I used a teaspoon to nudge them out and picked them up with my fingers and moved them to the cooling rack (which is the same way I removed the original version of tassies).  Every single one of them came out perfectly.  I snapped a few photos below as well as my recipe.  The last time I made Pecan Tassies was last Father's Day (3 weeks before I went wheat/grain free), and I used the original recipe.  If you are interested in taking a peek at the original recipe as well as the photos of what those looked like, too...I've placed the link to it underneath the recipe at the very bottom of this post. It is interesting to see what the "original version" looked like vs. my new and improved wheat/grain/sugar free version below.  Enjoy!

Voila!




BOOM!


Pecan Tassies (Wheat/grain/sugar free)

4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg., brick style) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1-3/4 cup blanched almond flour (can use up to 2 cups, if necessary)
2 eggs
3/4 cup Swerve (or granular equivalent to 3/4 cup sugar, such as erythritol, xylitol, Truvia, etc.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pure maple extract (I use real Pure Maple Extract from OliveNation)
1 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut, optional
24 pecan halves (to add to top of tassies)

Beat softened cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add almond flour; mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until chilled and firm.

Divide dough evenly into 24 balls. Place one ball in each of the 24 miniature muffin pan cups (mine are non-stick pans); press onto bottoms and up sides of cups to form shells. Set aside. Beat eggs lightly in small bowl. Add Swerve (or granular sweetener), vanilla and maple extract; mix well. Stir in chopped pecans. Spoon evenly into pastry shells, filling each shell about three-fourths full.  Top each pecan tassie with a pecan half.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 22-25 min. or until lightly browned (mine were done in about 23 minutes). Let stand 2 minutes in the pans; carefully remove to wire racks to cool.

***P.S. -- If you want to see the "regular recipe" I've used for over 25 years that I converted to this wheat/grain/sugar free version -- check it out here:  Pecan Tassies 

        

28 comments:

Pattie said...

These look amazing. It's funny how many of our old recipes don't work when we change our eating habits. I have a great recipe for pecan tarts, and they look very similar. I only make them at Christmas nd they are hard to resist. I just want you to know that I really love your blog. I have been wheat free, but not grain free for almost two weeks now. I have always followed Jorge Cruises Belly Fat Cure, and I blog about it at www.mycruisecontrol.blogspot.com. I still have no lost the weight I want, although I know I am healthier but limiting my sugar and carbs. I do eat too many nuts, cheeses and allowed wheat products. I also have Dr. Davis' book but could never bring myself to cut out all the wheat. Your post about how you did it was very inspirational to me, so I decided to give it a try and it's not so hard. I think giving up all grains might be, but for now I'm doing one step at a time. I'll work on grains next. Love your recipes!1

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so much, Pattie! Part of the fear for me in going wheat and grain free was twofold -- one, I love to cook and I feared that everything would be so "boring"...secondly, I feared that I would get bored and that there wouldn't be much to choose from. I have gone out of my way to make sure that wasn't the case! For me, personally...I realize that the cravings caused by wheat/grains were a significant part of my own problem. Once I was totally free of the cravings they caused, it became so much easier. Now I am excited by trying to figure out "what I can make today" using allowable ingredients to defy those that think it must be boring (including myself!!!). Thanks for your kind comments -- I will check out your blog, too and good luck with saying "au revoir" to wheat! :-)

CyberSis said...

Hi GGC,

What a great recipe! :-) Thanks for the link for Olive Nation -- awesome website with quality products!

I have an almost brand new bottle of lovely (and pricey) pure Vermont maple syrup that I bought before WB. I didn't use it all that much even before, but now it's *really* been languishing in the fridge. I hate to get rid of it, though. Every once in a while, I'll mix a couple of cut up pears with a little water, cinnamon stick, and a *tiny* bit of syrup (less than a teaspoon) and simmer it down to make a little glaze. It really doesn't take much. I don't do this very often and at this rate I'll have my bottle of maple "Forever"! I really like the maple extract idea especially for recipes that call for gobs of syrup ... the wonderful maple flavor without the fructose!

Darlene said...

I will be trying these soon & adding them to my list of Christmas baking, no doubt! Thanks so much for your efforts.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis! What a great idea to use up your maple! I have been pleased with the extracts from OliveNation -- I have their pure maple, pure bourbon Madagascar vanilla, coconut extract, pure chocolate extract, pineapple extract and I think strawberry extract. They have so many to choose from, it was hard narrowing down which ones to try first! LOL It makes it so easy to change the flavor of plain yogurt without having to get the added fructose from fruit all the time. I've used the pineapple mixed in yogurt with coconut, pecans, etc. to make a faux ambrosia. It just gives you the option to include the natural flavors of some of the higher sugar fruits we try to avoid. I also have some of their vanilla beans that I haven't tried yet, but hope to soon. I do like your glaze idea though -- an excellent way to use your maple without getting lots of fructose -- its brilliant! Now I'm off to try and squeeze a walk in before breakfast! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, Darlene! Hope you enjoy them. :-)

Rita said...

Thank you so much for all your wonderful recipes. I went gluten free about six weeks ago because of health reasons. It's very overwhelming when you first start; however, your blog has been truly inspiring. I enjoy every post. I love to bake and hope I can be successful baking gluten free.

unter der laterne said...

Hi GG, thank you very much for making my wallet much lighter, went to Olive nation and really got carried away with the flavor extracts, must have ordered 8 bottles. Grand Marnier was on top of my list. LOL. I like that the bottles are glass, at least that what it looks like, are they? Are the droppers plastic?
Thank you, Barbara.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Barbara! Yes, the bottles are glass -- and they don't have a dropper -- just the regular jars like most extracts have -- I have always wondered why all extracts don't have droppers -- it would make measuring into a measuring spoon SO much easier (instead of running down the side of the bottle)!!! So far, I have enjoyed the flavors I bought and plan to buy a few more -- I don't need a spice cabinet -- I need a spice CLOSET!!! LOL Hope you have a wonderful day! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so much Rita! In addition to my recipes being gluten free, they are grain free too -- meaning I don't use the "gluten free baking mixes", etc. For me personally, removing grains has helped me tremendously, both with my triglycerides as well as weight. I hope you find some ideas here...and I do understand how overwhelming it can be when you first start out. We tend to focus on all that we "can't eat" rather than enjoy and embrace all that we can. I have tried to focus on all the foods that I can enjoy and try to make the most of them. There really is life after wheat...and a pretty good one at that! Good luck on your journey! :-)

unter der laterne said...

Space is such a problem! Especially when one has to cook the other way for the family members. My husband can't stand all the "extra's" that one needs for our way of eating. Yes it is hard to live with a "minimalist" I made room for the impending arrival of the flavor extracts by throwing out a lot of herbs and spices that were so old
I could use an extra *fridge*for all the nuts and flours and seeds!
Oh well!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Barbara -- the sad thing is that I actually have a 2nd fridge in our garage -- and I still don't have enough room most of the time! LOL So, I'm convinced...no matter how much room I have, I will fill it up and want more! :-)

Carolyne said...

I cannot find Maple Extract, so could I use my wonderful Canadian Maple Syrup instead?

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Carolyne! The original recipe had maple syrup. I don't know what kind of plan you follow -- if it is WB, you aren't supposed to use it -- if you simply eat wheat, grain or gluten free and allow yourself natural sugars, etc. it would work fine. The link to the original recipe is underneath my wheat/grain/sugar free version. If you are going to use real maple syrup, you might want to follow the filling ingredients for that one (it would have one less egg and no maple extract). I hope that helps! :-)

CyberSis said...

Hi GGC,

I love the idea of using extracts to flavor yogurt. I've been using the McCormick "Pure Lemon" Extract that I bought a few weeks ago. There are no "additives" and it has a very nice flavor, but was dismayed when I got home and opened the box to find that they're using plastic bottles now. Well, I needed it for a recipe so I just kept it. Besides all the interesting flavors, the glass bottles are another reason why OliveNation products really interest me.

I agree, extracts really should be sold with droppers. You can get glass droppers at some pharmacies and some health food stores (and probably on line, too, though I haven't looked for them yet.) If the Olive Nation bottles happen to be a standard size, perhaps the droppers would fit them. I'm going to give it a try whenever I get around to deciding which flavors to try first. Love your ambrosia combo! And for some odd reason, I'm intrigued by "Apple." :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis! I know, all the McCormick extracts I've bought recently are in plastic. Looking for a dropper is a great idea! It's just so messy pouring it out of a bottle! I will have to keep my eye out for a dropper to try. Apple does sound like a great flavor -- just think, you could add apple flavor, walnuts and some cinnamon to your yogurt without the added sugar/fructose of real apples! Sounds pretty yummy to me, too! :-)

unter der laterne said...

There are dropper caps#6306 $3.95
available at King's Arthur flour website.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Barbara! I am going to go and check the dropper caps out right now!!! Thank you! I actually looked at the dropper on my NuStevia drops this morning wondering if that would work...but it's too small. Thank you for the tip! Hope you are doing well! :-)

unter der laterne said...

grassy ernonyrhttp://www.etsy.com/?ref=so_home
this is a site with quite a selection of little bottles and glass droppers.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, Barbara! Who knew there were so many different types of droppers and bottles to choose from? I saw one that was labeled "for poison"...lol. I will measure my bottles and order one smaller version and one larger -- I bought a couple of the larger extract bottles too! Thanks for the link. :-)

MB said...

You have the BEST recipes! Tried many of them and they have yet to fail me!
I want to make these Pecan Tassies but do not have a mini muffin pan- only regular 12 cup pans. Would you suggest anything different (ie- cooking times) to use this recipe with the regular size muffin pan?
Thanks!!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, MB! I am not sure how they would turn out in regular sized muffin pans...even when I made the "regular version" in the past, these don't have the "goo" (for lack of a better word) that say, pecan pie has. The filling is a drier...and it's just something that gives you the flavor of pecan pie, but not as sweet and gooey. My concern using a larger muffin pan is that there would be a larger amount of "drier filling" and it might not be as good. One thing that does occur to me though...is rather than try and make filled regular sized muffin cups is that you could make them shallow...say, only cup up about 1/3 of the way with the crust batter, thus adding less filling -- you would still have more surface area though, that might try them out a bit. You can try it...if you had any sugar free maple syrup, you might want to add a couple tablespoons or so of that to the filling mixture to add more moisture (to compensate for the extra surface area). You would probably want to check them at the same time mark of the mini version (maybe start checking a few minutes beforehand). If you decided to try it with the larger, not filled up muffin cups...let me know how they turn out! Thanks again for the kind comments! :-)

Anonymous said...

Maybe guar gum would work for this? Just a thought.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous,

That might work. I'm going to take another stab at them soon! :-)

Anonymous said...

Do you have nutritional info on these? They look wonderful!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous,

Here is the recipe calculator I like to use. It makes it easy to adapt to the portions and amounts you get from the recipes since it can vary sometimes. http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php

Hope that helps! :-)

Anonymous said...

Good evening

Love the recipe and was wondering if I could just roll the dough out to make a regular pie crust? Also what is the carb count in the pie? So glad I found this cause I love pecan pie

Julie Robichaux

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Julie,

It might work (rolling out the dough) but I'm not sure it would be the best dough to make a large pie crust with. I think it would be hard to work with. I would probably use a non-savory version of the crust on my spinach-feta pie and press it out in the pie dish.

Also, I think you would need more "goo/liquid" for a larger pecan pie. I'm working on a larger/regular sized version that might work better. I will post it once I've perfected it. :-)