I had this idea when planning my Thanksgiving menu - I would make some bite-sized desserts like pecan tarts, pumpkin tarts, and mini gingerbread cupcakes. That way people could have a taste of traditional favorites even if they were full, or they could have a bite of pumpkin pie along side a big slice of apple. The gingerbread cupcakes spread too much, and I ended up using them in a gingerbread pear trifle that was lovely - I will post it later. However, I thought the mini pies were very good, especially the pecan ones. You can make one big batch of dough and make half pumpkin and half pecan tarts.
Mini Pie Dough (double if you are making both pecan and pumpkin versions)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
Beat butter and cream cheese until well mixed. Stir in the flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Mini Pumpkin Pies
1 recipe cream cheese pastry
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, rounded
1/4 teaspoon ginger, rounded
1/8 teaspoon cloves
Shape the dough into 24 balls; place in ungreased mini muffin pans. Press dough evenly against bottom and up sides of each muffin cup.
Beat all remaining ingredients together. Fill unbaked crusts; bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Chill before serving. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
Mini Pecan Pies
1 recipe cream cheese dough
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cups chopped pecans
1/4 cup pecan halves (optional)
Grease mini muffin pan (the pecan pies stick if you don't grease the pan).
Form dough into 24 equal balls and press one into each tin so it lines the bottom and sides, like a pie crust.
In a medium mixing bowl, cream together 1/4 cup butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Stir in pecans. Fill each lined tin half full. Mixture will rise as it bakes. Place one pecan half on top of filling, if using.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool in tins, then use the end of a table knife to flip each tart out of its tin.