Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mini Pecan Pie Trifles

Even though I tell less experienced cooks to never use a recipe for guests that they haven't tried out before, I myself do it all of the time. I am a Ninja Warrior when it comes to trying new things. Fearless and stealthy. My sister wanted Pumpkin Pie Trifle for Thanksgiving. "but I made that last year!", I cried. She claimed that it was her favorite. "How about Pecan Pie Trifle?" , she countered. I wondered, is that even a thing? It turns out that it was a thing.. I love the internet - not only is it a thing, but generous cooks have shown their work so that we can all be inspired. There were Pecan Pie Trifle Shooters (excellent idea) and giant standard trifles. And then I had an Epiphany - Mini Pecan Pie Trifle in those mini jam jars. YES

How I made Mini Pecan Pie Mini Trifles
Step 1 - send Mr. Hunting Creek to Variety Store to obtain teeny jam jars.
Step 2-wash jars. Admire their extreme cuteness. Set tops aside.
Step 3. Figure out how to make mini Pecan Pie Trifles. Some of my fellow cooks suggested cutting up an existing pecan pie. If I were making a standard size trifle that would work, but I wanted everything on a smaller scale. I decided to make pecan pie cookie bars, stealing the recipe right out of Betty Crocker.. I added a tablespoon of rum.
Those worked perfectly - not too thick, and I could cut them up into small pieces, but still tasting like pecan pie. (You will have more cookie bars than you need, but no one ever complains about extra cookies at Christmas. Don't chop all of them up. I chopped about half., with plenty of tastes..I mean, testing bites.)
Step 4. what about the creamy part? This is entirely up to the chef. You could make a traditional pastry cream. Or maybe vanilla pudding.. I wanted something fancier than that - I decided on a Tiramisu filling = which is the easiest thing in the world - mascarpone cheese with whipped cream, to which I added vanilla, rum and sugar- it was delicious. I had to make myself stop testing.
Step 5 - embellishing - what would make this special? I debated different options - chocolate? Caramel? Fruit? I decided on a caramel sauce - also super easy to make or buy. You can do either. I went the easy route and used Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramel sauce, which I happened to have on hand due to its extreme deliciousness, (and my extreme laziness about large vats of molten sugar)
Step 6 - assembly. Cut up the Pecan Pie Bars into little chunks. Mine were about half an inch. You can get all OCD about this, like some cooks I know, or you can be slapdash like me - no one is going to be able to tell! Sprinkle some of these in the bottom of each mini jar. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Stop licking your fingers, you'll get sick. Then a scoop of the mascarpone cream. I used my tablespoon cookie scoop so I would not get cream all over everything and it worked perfectly. I then smoothed the cream to the edges to cover the cookie squares, (I used my mini spatula) and then sprinkled more cookie squares on top, then drizzled more caramel sauce on top of that.If you warm up the caramel sauce in the microwave a little bit, it is easier to drizzle.
Perfection! I texted the picture to my sister.(Kind of like sending food porn, yes?) She loved them.
On Thanksgiving, everyone liked how cute and small they were - just enough for a serving.
I left the jars at my sister's house, telling her that she needs to think up a mini dessert for Christmas.
I need to send Mr. Hunting Creek back for more little jars. I have some ideas of my own.

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