Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Derby Pie Tartlets : The Breaking Bad kind, yo!

Derby Pie Tartlets with a little extra something. Read on to find out what it is!

The show in the spotlight for this recipe: Breaking Bad. Have you seen it? If not, I highly suggest you start, (seasons 1 through 3 is on Netflix instant stream). Be warned though, it's kind of impossible to only watch one episode at a time. It's just. That. Good. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have brought to life two of the most complicated, terrifying, and compelling characters I have ever seen, so they and the writers of this fantastic show better get it! Anyways, as I was thinking about what recipe could possibly do this phenomenal show justice, I remembered that it's Derby Week!!!!!

Okay, for all of you non-Louisvillian readers, let me tell you a little bit about the awesomeness that is the Kentucky Derby and its festivities. The whole festival kicks off way before the first weekend of May. There's Thunder over Louisville, the Pegasus Parade, and many more supercool events, all of which I can't recall at the moment, that ultimately precede The Run for the Roses. Oh and there's also these cool things called mint juleps, but that's another story. I'm really bummed to be missing out on all the Derby festivities for the sixth straight year, but I am determined to celebrate the Derby even from way out here in LaLa land.

This brings me to this week's recipe: Breaking Bad-inspired Derby Pie Tartlets! As promised, I will answer all potential questions about said recipe.
  • What is Derby Pie? Derby Pie is very simple. It's basically Pecan Pie with chocolate chips thrown in, but this tiny adjustment elevates this pie from being simply sweet to positively decadent. So now that you know what Derby Pie is...
  • What's a tartlet? Think of it as a "mini-tart." I love mini-tarts, not just because they're super cute, but also because of their itsy-bitsy serving size. This way you can either have just enough dessert to satisfy that sweet tooth (or have a second helping without feeling too guilty). 
  • What does this have to do with the awesomeness that's Breaking Bad? The answer lies in one extra ingredient for the tartlet filling: **drumroll please** chili powder! Now now, I know you're skeptical, but I've used chili powder in a recipe before, and it complements chocolate and cinnamon quite nicely. The chili powder is totally optional, but for the love of Jesse Pinkman, just try it, yo! If you're a fan of the show, you get this. If not, now you have further incentive to check it out!
Without further ado, (and with plenty inspiration from my fantastic edition of The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and Diva Martha Stewart), I give you Breaking Bad-inspired Derby Pie Tartlets:

For the tartlet shells, here's what you'll need:

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 medium egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
5/8 cup all-purpose flour (basically 1/2 cup and then 1/8 cup if that's simpler to measure out)

(1) Cream the butter and sugars together until mixture is fluffy. Add the peanut butter and mix until well-blended. If you're like me, and do not have an electric mixer, I suggest melting the butter a little in the microwave or over the stove, and then using a fork to combine all the ingredients. It takes longer, but it's a heck of an arm work-out!

(2) Stir in the baking soda and baking powder.

(3) Beat in the egg. Add the vanilla.

(4) Gradually mix in the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl for any excess. You might have to use a fork after a little while, as the dough might get too thick for an electric mixer.  Take that dough, put it into a ziploc bag, and toss it in the freezer for 30 minutes. You can then go on to make the pie filling, or just chill out for a bit. 

(6) After the 30 minutes is up,  line a muffin pan with a dozen cupcake liners, coat them with some baking spray or grease them with butter, and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. In the meantime, take that cookie dough out of the freezer, roll it into a log, and cut evenly into 3 chunks. Take those chunks and cut them into 4 even slices of cookie dough. All together, you should have 12 slices. Place one slice in each of the 12 liners, and once the oven is ready to go, bake for 9 minutes. Take them out of the oven and use the back of a teaspoon to gently push down on the center of each cookie. 

These small cookies are going to be your tartlet shells. Again, be sure to make light indentations as you still want these tartlets to stay in one piece so they can hold yummy pie filling. Then, pop them back into the oven for 2 more minutes. Once they're done, they should be a golden-brown color. Set these aside to cool. Now, onto the filling:

Derby Pie plus more filling:

I'm going to be safe and link to the Martha Stewart recipe for Pecan Pie for this one. You only need to make 1/2 of the recipe and don't need to make the dough, so unless you want extra pecan pie filling and an extra pie shell, just take all the measurements, divide them by two, and nix the dough part! I cannot take credit for her brilliance in baking divadry, but one day, I hope to cook with her: 

NOTE: I pretty much stuck with Diva Stewart's recipe and made the following adjustments:

(1) I used 1 teaspoon of salt instead of 1/2, just for kicks. 
(2) I only used 1/2 cup of pecans because of how tiny the tartlet shells are. I needed to save room for the stuff in #3!
(3) I stirred in 6 oz of mini semisweet chocolate chips, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a 1/4 teaspoon of Mexican Chili Powder. I nixed the whipping cream, but if you want it, go for it!
(4) Last but certainly not least, the most important adjustment was how I baked the filling. It got a little complicated, but if you have the patience, it's most certainly worth it. Ready? Here we go:

After the tartlet shells have been safely removed, increase your oven temperature to 375 degrees F. You're going to have to line up that muffin pan and spray/grease those liners one more time. Fill each liner with the pie-filling, (about 2 teaspoons for each one). Once the oven is ready, heat those sweet things for 25-30 minutes. Basically, they'll still be bubbly and extremely hot once you remove them from the oven.  Once you take those l'il pecan, chocolate cuties out, let them cool for a few minutes and then carefully, and I repeat carefully spoon each filling into a tart shell. 

Use caution as these things will be extremely hot, (they're so hot I used the same phrase twice)! Then, let the tarts cool for at least an hour. Don't forget the last step: pat yourself on the back for making it through this recipe! Now dig in and go watch some Breaking Bad. You deserve it, yo.

A little extra picture stuff:
Tartlet Shells Pre-Filling

Derby Pie Filling Pre-Oven

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