Butter rich or easily dairy free, these Mini Pecan Pies are fun to make, easy to share and freezer friendly! Made without corn syrup, with a hint of bourbon (or apple cider) and molasses, these mini pies have a soft custardy center. The ratio of pastry to gooey pecan filling is on point!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for supporting brands that help keep Vanilla And Bean cookin’!
A Must for the Holidays
Mini pecan pie? Why, y e ssss! They’re easy to share and perfect for those finger food gatherings the holidays are so famous for.
Best of all, the pastry to gooey pecan filling ratio is on point! With every bite, there’s a fabulous balance of crispy-crunch to custardy pecany goodness. A texture adventure, I might add.
These mini pecan pies are inspired by my no corn syrup Bourbon Pecan Pie. No cloying sweet pecan filling here! Just smooth, creamy and with a hint or bourbon or apple cider, molasses, vanilla and brown sugar.
Is your mouth watering?
Ingredients for Mini Pecan Pies
For the Pastry:
- Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour – I use Bob’s Red Mill
- Butter – dairy or plant
- Milk – dairy or plant – I like Homemade Cashew Milk
- Apple Cider Vinegar
For the Filling:
- Brown Rice Syrup – see variations in recipe notes that makers of my Bourbon Pecan Pie used instead (this is a sometimes hard to find ingredient)
- Brown Sugar
- Butter – dairy or plant (see notes*)
- Bourbon or Apple Cider/Juice
- Pure Vanilla Extract
How to Make these Sweet Mini Pies
Mini pecan pies are simple to make, but you’ll need to plan ahead since the pastry needs to be refrigerated for at least one hour prior to rolling it out. The pastry can be made up to a two weeks in advance for freezer storage or two days in advance for refrigerator storage.
But the mini pies themselves can be completely assembled and baked, then frozen so all that’s left to do is thaw them at room temperature before you’re ready to share. Here’s how to make these mini pies:
- First, whip up the pastry in a food processor. Wrap snugly and rest in the fridge for one hour.
- Second, grease your muffin pan, roll out the pastry and cut into 12, 4″ discs (I use the largest pastry cutter in this set) and cut out any leaves too, for decorating. Place the pastry in the freezer for 15 minutes and preheat the oven.
- Third, par bake the pastry and toast the pecans.
- Fourth, whip up the filling and chop the pecans.
- Next, fill the pastry cups with chopped pecans and spoon the filling into each cup.
- Last, reduce the heat of the oven and bake the assembled mini pecan pies.
High Quality Ingredients
These mini pecan pies are made in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill. I’m super excited to share their pantry staples with you, highlighting a brand I trust for high quality ingredients to create fabulous recipes to share with my family and friends. Bob’s Red Mill pantry staples are accessible and offer a wide variety of ingredients including whole and milled grains to suit a variety of dietary needs.
I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic All Purpose Flour in many of my baking recipes. It’s of the highest quality, unbleached and unenriched, making my pies, cookies and cakes tender, light and delicious every time.
Why Par Baking Matters
Because pecan pie is a custard based pie, the interior needs to be soft set, nice and creamy! Par baking the crust before filling it allows the crust to bake until golden and crisp at a high temperature. Once the crust is par baked, the temperature is reduced, the par baked pastries are filled and baked at a lower temperature so that the custard can gently bake to a soft set. Otherwise, if baked all together, the crust isn’t as crisp and there’s potential for soggy bottom.
And no one wants a soggy bottom! Oh the horror! It’s worth the little bit of extra time. Promise!
A Few Recipe Notes
- Freezer Friendly? Yes please! Fully assembled and baked mini pecan pies can be frozen up to two weeks! Thaw at room temperature for about 45 minutes. At this point they can be gently reheated in a 325F oven for about five minutes. They are fabulous shared with a bit of ice cream or whipped cream.
- Dairy Free? Yes please! I tested this recipe with Earth Balance, only reducing the salt by 1/2 tsp in the pastry. The pastry baked up beautifully.
- For cutting the pastry, I use the largest pastry cutter in this set (4″/10cm), but an inverted bowl and pastry wheel works too.
- To bake the cups, I use this standard muffin pan and I absolutely love it.
- If having trouble finding Brown Rice Syrup, several makers left comments about what they used in my scaled up version Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe instead. Here are a few of their notes:
- Annie said: ” I used agave syrup and it turned out fine. A lovely fragrant pie!”
- Charlotte said: “I substituted the brown rice syrup for honey and maple syrup. This worked perfectly for my pie.”
- Kristin said: “I substituted with Corn Syrup and Vanilla Extract.”
More Holiday Pie Recipes to Love
- Apple Dumplings with Brown Sugar Cranberry Butter
- Gluten Free Mini Pumpkin Pies
- Vegan Bourbon Pecan Pie
- Bourbon Pecan Pie
- Gluten Free and Vegan Apple Pie
Mini Pecan Pies
For the Pastry:
- 3/4 C (165g) Unsalted Butter this is 1 1/2 sticks (or 12 Tbs) - see note* for dairy free
- 1/4 C (60g) Milk plant or dairy, I use homemade unsweetened cashew milk
- 1 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 3/4 C (255g) Unbleached All Purpose Flour I use Bob's Red Mill
- 1 1/2 Tbs Cane Sugar
- 3/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt use only 1/4 tsp if using dairy free butter
For the Pastry:
- Cut the butter into 1/2" pieces, and place in the freezer.
- Whisk the milk and apple cider vinegar together and set aside.
- Make the Pastry: In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade, add the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse 3-4 times to mix. Take the butter out of the freezer and dump it on top of the flour mixture. Pulse 8-10 times, or until almond to pea size chunks remain. With the lid off, pour the milk mixture in a circular motion into the work bowl. Put the lid on and process for about 15 seconds or until the mixture forms a loose, crumbly ball.
- Sprinkle some flour out on to a work surface, and turn the dough out. Knead the dough a few times, folding and pressing it over and on top of itself, eventually forming about a 1/2" disk. Wrap it snugly in parchment paper and store it in the refrigerator for an hour. To Freeze: If making the pastry ahead, and you'd like to freeze it, wrap snugly in parchment, place the pastry in a lidded container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to two weeks. Thaw in the fridge overnight. When ready to roll out, set it at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then roll the dough.
- Roll out and Pan the Pastry: Prepare the muffin pan by generously greasing each cup. I use coconut oil for this but pan spray can be used as well. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and generously dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the pastry to just under 1/8". Add flour to the top of the pastry as needed to prevent sticking. Dust a 4" (10cm) pastry/cookie cutter with flour then cut 12 discs (an inverted bowl and pastry wheel can be used here). It takes me two times rolling the pastry out to get 12 discs plus leaf cut outs (optional), so collect the leftover pastry, knead and reshape it then re-roll as needed. Cut any decorative shapes you'd like at this time too. Set the leaf cut outs on a small parchment lined sheet pan. Line each cup with a pastry disk gently nudging the disk into place by pushing the top edges down and into the cup. Pleat the edges as needed and press the pastry into the sides of the cup. It's okay if the bottom of the cup is somewhat rounded. Once all the cups are pastry lined, use the tines of a fork to dock the bottom of the dough, then pop the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 400F (204C). Freeze the pastry and any cut outs for at least 15 minutes.
- Par Bake the Pastry and Toast the Pecans: Par-bake (blind bake) the pastry cups on the center rack in a 400F oven for 16-18 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside. Toast the pecans at the same temperature for only 5-7 minutes. They toast quick at this high temperature, so keep an eye on them! Remove from oven, set aside to cool, then finely chop.Bake the Decorative Shapes (if making): For the decorative cutouts, brush with milk then sprinkle sugar on top. Bake on a parchment lined sheet pan while the pastry par bakes for about 8-12 minutes or until goldenish - keep an eye on them - the smaller the cutout the quicker the bake.
For the Filling:
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325F (162C). In your smallest sauce pot, on medium low heat mix the brown rice syrup and sugar. As the mixture starts to bubble around the edges, whisk so that the sugar dissolves. Do not let this mixture come to a boil. Remove from heat and add the butter, molasses, bourbon (or apple cider/juice) and vanilla. Whisk to mix. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Once the filling has cooled to room temperature, whisk in the egg. Set aside.Meanwhile to each pastry cup, add about 1 1/2 tsp of chopped pecans. Press gently to nudge the puffy center down if needed.
- To each pecan filled pastry cup, spoon in about one tablespoon of filling over the pecans. Only fill to the inside edge of the pastry cups. If overfilled, it makes a complete mess. You'll notice the filling will settle a bit as you fill the other cups. Top off as needed.
- Bake the mini pecan pies at 325F for about 19-22 minutes or until just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 45 minutes before serving. This will allow the custard to set.
- Share with decorative pastry leaf cut outs, a drizzle of chocolate, whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream.
- The mini pecan pies can be stored for up to three days, covered, at room temperature. They can also be frozen for up to two weeks in a covered container. Thaw at room temperature. If desired, reheat in a 325F oven for about 5-7 minutes.