Maple – Walnut Mini – Tarts

This is a Pampered Chef recipe from their “Simply Sweet” cookbook and the treats are for my friend Nicole’s baby shower tonight.  They are supposed to be Maple – Cashew but I didn’t have any cashews and besides, Maple – Walnut sounded better.  They are also supposed to be cupcake size but I did them in my mini muffin pan and so made them super mini tarts.  One of them fell apart as I was taking it out of the pan (what a shame!) and so I had to eat it and it was delicious!  I’ll give you the original recipe and also the changes that I made to it.

1 cup salted cashews or mixed nut blend without peanuts (I used walnuts)

2 eggs

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup pure maple syrup (do not use maple flavored pancake syrup), divided

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

(I also added 1 teaspoon maple extract to make sure they tasted really mapley)

1 (15 oz) package refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts), softened according to package directions

1  Prepare Filling:  Preheat oven to 375.  Coarsely chop nuts.  Combine eggs, brown sugar, 1/3 cup maple syrup, butter, vanilla and maple extract, if using.  Whisk until smooth.  Stir in nuts.

2  Form Pastry Shells:  Unroll 1 pie crust onto a pastry mat.  Using wide end of clear Food Chopper collar, cut 6 pastry circles.  (Circles will measure 3 3/4″.)  (I used my mini Measure All cup to cut the circles for the super mini tarts and that measures about 2 1/2″.)  Pinch edges of circles inward at 1/2″ intervals, creating ruffled shells.  (You don’t have to do this if you are making the super minis.)  (The recipe doesn’t say to do this but I sprayed the pan with Pam before putting the shells in and it made it a lot easier to get them out.)  Place shells in muffin pan wells (if making super minis, use mini tart shaper to push rounds into mini muffin pan; repeat with remaining pie crust.

3  Fill Shells and Bake:  Stir nut mixture until combined; pour evenly into shells until 2/3 full.  Bake 18 – 21 minutes (the super minis took about 10 minutes) or until shells are golden brown.  Remove pans from oven to cool completely on racks.  Brush tops of tarts with remaining maple syrup.

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