Back when I was a wee girl of whatever ambiguous teenage year I’m referring to (it could be all of them, let’s be real), I used to make a lot of Mini Pecan Pies. You’d think there wouldn’t be enough excuses/reasons/times when I was hungry for Mini Pecan Pies to warrant making a lot of Mini Pecan Pies. But I did. Oh how I did. You want to know why?
Because they’re really tasty. And people are generally very impressed by things in miniature (have you even SEEN a miniature horse recently? That shit is off the chain.) and I like to impress people without actually doing anything impressive. It’s called “laziness.”
But that was then and this is now. I’m no longer something-teen, my baked goods are primarily vegan, and – much like drugs and pornography and guns – I no longer keep all-purpose flour or white sugar in my home. But I have been nursing the same bag of light brown sugar for about 2 years now (that seems fresh.) and that’s all the reason I need to revamp this super easy, super quick, super super recipe for Mini Pecan Pies.
I calculated the nutrition facts of the original Mini Pecan Pie recipe I always used to compare it to my new vegan version. This recipe shaves off 50 calories, 5g of carbs, 2g of fat, and 9g of sugar. That is so much sugar. Plus, this recipe adds a gram of fiber or whatever. Let’s just say I should have been a lot fatter back in the day. A lot fatter.
Some ingredient info of note: The first step was replacing the cream cheese with vegan cream cheese. I only mention this in detail because I learned something kind of wacky about Tofutti in the process of planning this recipe. I’ve never bought vegan cream cheese because I don’t eat bagels (they’re more or less glorified doughnuts – there, now I’ve ruined them for you too. You’re welcome.) so I didn’t know all the scandal regarding Tofutti. Apparently, Tofutti contains trans fat. And trans fat is the anti-Christ. Ergo, Tofutti contains the anti-Christ. It’s lower in calories (that is so like the anti-Christ, ya know?) but higher in death defying fats. So I came to terms with the 40 extra calories/serving and went with Follow Your Heart Vegan Cream Cheese and so should you.
I also used a mixture of whole wheat flour and graham flour because I ran out of whole wheat flour and I didn’t feel like opening a new bag. Feel free to use a similar flour combo or just whole wheat or something gluten-free friendly if you like. And finally, I added some coarsely ground almonds to the dough for some texture and some good fats and protein but absolutely they are optional. Removing them saves you a few calories without changing the taste very much.
On to the recipe! Forward march to the kitchen! Like a lady!
MINI VEGAN PECAN PIES
makes 16 cupcake sized pies or 20ish mini cupcake sized pies
adapted from this bare bones recipe from Cooks.com
- 3 oz Follow Your Heart Vegan Cream Cheese
- ½ cup (one stick) vegan butter, softened
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour (130g) or a combination of graham and whole wheat flours
- 1 oz coarsely ground almonds
- a dash of salt
- 6 oz unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vegan butter, softened (coconut butter would be good here too!)
- ¼ cup (48g) brown sugar
- 20 packets Truvia
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a dash of salt
- 1 heaping cup (120g) chopped pecans
Just imagine me doing this 2-3 times a month, but in a fat way:
Make the dough: In a stand mixer or something comparable, cream the cream cheese and the butter. Vegan butter can be a little tough to incorporate with other stuff so that’s why it’s best to use a softened stick. And maybe even mush it up a bit. Add the flour(s), the salt and the almonds. And beat until smooth. It’ll be a bit sticky. Pay no mind to that. Roll up into a ball and refrigerate while you go out and get your hair done and then get stuck on a malfunctioning subway train.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees while the dough chills and go onto making the filling.
Make the filling: In a stand mixer or something comparable (I think even a food processor would suffice), beat the applesauce with the butter and vanilla extract. Add the sugars and the salt and continue to beat til smooth. Add the pecans and beat on a low speed until just incorporated.
Mini Pies! Assemble! Silicone muffin cups work fantastically here but I have also made them numerous times (see long-winded story above) in mini muffin tins.
For the silicone muffin cups: roll 20g of dough into a ball and press into the bottom of the cup and then up the sides, working your way up to create walls with an even thickness of dough all around. Patch if you need to, but this is pretty easy to do in one fell swoop. Scoop 25g of filling in there. Repeat.
For the mini muffin tins: Spray down the pan with some cooking spray and then do the same as above but use 15g of dough and 15-20g or so of filling, depending on how thick you make the walls of your mini muffin cups.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Eat. Eat dammit!