When my cousin got married back in the early 90s our aunt compiled a booklet of family recipes for her. At my bridal shower I was handed the booklet which my cousin lovingly passed down to me. Considering our aunt had since passed away, this was even more special as it made me feel that the gift was from our aunt as well.
As I was deciding what treats to make for my family this year, I flipped through this booklet and came across this recipe for holiday tarts from my grandmother. Because my grandmother passed away a week after my 11th birthday I don't necessarily remember her making these, but as soon as my mom opened her package she exclaimed "you made my mother's holiday tarts?!" so I knew I made them well. My grandmother would make them as free-form thumbprint cookies but I made use of my mini muffin tin to make mini tarts. What I love about her recipe is the "old school"ness of it. She suggests using a thimble to make the nest.
I love family traditions, especially around the holidays, so it made me very happy to incorporate my grandmother's recipe this year.
Holiday Tarts (slightly adapted from my grandmother's recipe)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup pastry flour
1 egg, separated
1/2 cup pecans
jelly (I used strawberry, but my grandmother used mint)
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add slightly beaten egg yolk. Gradually add flour.
- Roll into small balls by hand then dip in lightly beaten egg white. Roll balls in chopped nuts.
- Press ball into greased mini miffin tin, shaping so the sides are higher than the center, creating a "nest".
- Bake for 20 min at 300 degrees.
- Let cook for 5 min before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
- Allow to fully cool, then fill centers with jelly.