Real Housewives of New Jersey star Kathy Wakile has a brand new cookbook out called Indulge: Delicious Little Desserts That Keep Life Real Sweet. It has over 75 dessert recipes, broken down by the season, and you will be very, very hungry after flipping a few pages. The book is out now, and Kathy is sharing a recipe with OKMagazine.com! Try her itty bitty pecan pies.
CREAM CHEESE PASTRY
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon Amaretto
1 large egg, beaten
1½ cups chopped pecans
36 pecan halves
Two heavyweight nonstick 24-cavity mini muffin pans
2½-inch round cutter, or a glass, can, or bowl with an opening of that diameter
Small pastry tamper, optional
To make the pastry, combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for about 1 minute. Add the flour and salt and mix on medium speed just until a dough begins to form and the ingredients are incorporated. Flour your hands and pat the dough together in the bowl, folding it over on itself a few times to mix in any flour that remains on the surface. Form it into a ball, then flatten it into a disk, wrap it tightly in wax paper, and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (The pastry can be made 1 day ahead and kept tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes to soften.)
To form the pastry cups, on a lightly floured work surface roll the chilled dough out to a thickness of about ½ inch. Use a 2½-inch round cutter to cut about 3 dozen rounds (reroll scraps as needed). Carefully transfer the dough rounds to the muffin cups and use a small pastry tamper or your fingers to mold the dough into the cups (if you are using your fingers, use a light touch to press the dough evenly across the bottom of each cup and up the sides). Transfer the pans to the refrigerator to keep the dough cold while you prepare the filling. (You can do this 1 day ahead; wrap tightly, and keep refrigerated—or double wrap and freeze for up to 1 month, then fill and bake without thawing, adding an extra minute or two to the baking time.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F with two racks positioned in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
To make the filling, in a large bowl combine the butter, salt, and sugar and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the corn syrup, vanilla, orange zest, and Amaretto and continue mixing on medium-high until uniformly blended.
Beat in the egg. Transfer the filling to a large measuring cup with a spout.
Divide the chopped pecans evenly among the pastry shells. Pour in just enough of the filling so it comes not quite level with the top edge of the pastry shells. Top each pie with a pecan half.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until the filling is golden brown. Set the pans on wire racks. Cool for about 5 minutes. While the pies are still slightly warm, run the tip of a small sharp knife around the top edge to make sure any filling that has oozed out around the pastry doesn’t adhere to the pan. Then let cool completely to room temperature before using the little knife to gently ease the pies out of the pan.
From Indulge by Kathy Wakile, with Miriam Harris. Copyright © 2014 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.
What do you think of Kathy’s recipe? Do you always have dessert? How are you at baking? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.