Most pecan pies have a gooey, syrupy center that lacks flavor because they are made with corn syrup. This syrup gives the pies a smooth texture, but I prefer to use things like maple syrup and honey because they give the finished pie a lot more flavor than corn syrup would and they showcase the pecans wonderfully. I’m a big salted caramel fna and it seemed only natural to work salted caramel into my pecan pies as well. These Bite Size Salted Caramel Pecan Pies are one bite (or maybe two bite) pies baked in mini muffin pans that have a filling made with salted caramel.
Essentially, I replaced the corn syrup used in a regular pecan pie with salted caramel sauce, choosing a brand that was handmade and contained no corn syrup. I highly recommend you do the same, although the recipe will work with any brand of salted caramel sauce, simply because a high quality caramel sauce will give your mini pies the best flavor. The caramel lends a delicious, buttery flavor to the filling and makes these little pies very addictive, with a nice balance of salty and sweet. The pies also have a very good ratio of flaky crust to filling, with plenty of nuts in each bite for texture.
I topped each of my pies off with a whole pecan half. You can leave this off, if you prefer, since you only need pecan pieces to make the filling. They are at their peak the same day they are baked, when the pastry is perfectly light and flaky. That said, they do keep well and can be stored in an airtight container and served several days after baking if you prefer. One batch makes 15-16 miniature pies, depending on how many mini pies you are able to carve out of your pie crust dough, but the filling recipe can be doubled to make bigger batches for parties.
Bite Size Salted Caramel Pecan Pies
dough for 1 9-inch pie crust
1/3 cup salted caramel sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup chopped pecans
16 untoasted pecan halves, for garnish.
Preheat oven to 375F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 16 rounds using a 2 1/2 inch round cutter (excess dough can be stacked, chilled and re-rolled once, if necessary; dough should not be bunched together). Press dough rounds into a mini muffin pan. Chill for 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together salted caramel sauce, sugar, egg, vanilla and salt. Stir in chopped pecans. Fill each mini pie shell with about 1 tbsp filling, at least 3/4 full. Top each with an untoasted pecan half.
Bake for 21-25 minutes, or until pie crusts are dark golden brown on the edges.
Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 16 mini pies.