Paleo Pecan Pie Bites

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I think pecans are my favorite type of nut. I know, I know, that is quite a bold statement to make. I mean, what about macadamia? Pistachio? The ever-so-versatile almond? But, in my opinion, nothing beats a nicely toasted pecan. Yes, you can quote me on that.

I don't think I ever even tried a pecan until I moved to California about 20 years ago. Of course, it was in the best ever form of pecan - a pecan pie (duh). A richly sweet pecan pie filled with butter, corn syrup, sugar, and, of course, pecans, in a delicious shortbread crust. Oh-em-gee, I salivated just thinking about it. I even recall the whole day surrounding this pie because it was just that magical. It was on a hot summer day that we had spent swimming in the backyard. The sunshine was beating down on us and the air was filled with the glorious smell of grilled meats from the barbecue. Then my mom brought out dessert - a pecan pie from Marie Callender's. Though the pie looked like turtle turd,  it was sweet, crunchy, buttery, and nutty perfection.

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Sadly, since I no longer have my childhood metabolism (or a desire to develop diabetes), I hadn't had pecan pie for maybe 10 years until I made a paleo version of it last year around Thanksgiving during recipe testing for Real Food Kitchen (it's a tough job, I KNOW). I was afraid that the paleo-fied version without the corn syrup and excessive amount of sugar wouldn't taste as decadently delicious as how I remember from my childhood, but the flavors of this pecan pie were just incredible. So incredible that no one should ever use corn syrup again and only use this recipe for pecan pie because it is just the best. So, I am sharing this recipe with you so that you can experience this magic, too. And you, my dear reader, must pass it on so that no one ever buys corn syrup again. You're welcome, world.

This recipe is for mini bite sized pecan pies because Memorial Day weekend is coming up and it is the perfect dessert to bring to a barbecue. Also, because miniature things are just too adorable and way more photogenic. You can make it into a regular sized pie, if desired, though the baking time will vary. If you do make it into a regular sized pie, please comment below and let us know how it went for you!

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Paleo Pecan Pie Bites

Servings: 24

Time: 40 mins

Difficulty: Easy

Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (200 g) blanched almond flour
  • 1 cup (160 g) cassava flour (this is the one I used)
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 6T (85 g) coconut oil
  • 6T (120 g) maple syrup
  • 3t pure vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c (225 g) maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup (125 g) coconut sugar
  • 4T (50 g) grass-fed ghee
  • 2 cups (225 g) pecans, toasted and chopped*
  • 1T orange zest
  • 2t pure vanilla extract
  • 1t apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8t sea salt
  • 3 large pastured eggs, room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a mini muffin pan (I used this one with 48 cavities) with coconut oil and set aside.
  2. To make the crust, whisk together the almond flour, cassava flour and sea salt. Add in the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and mix until the dough comes together. Form into a round disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes until the dough firms up.
  3. While the dough is in the refrigerator, make the filling. In a medium saucepan, combine coconut sugar, maple syrup, and ghee. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring the mixture to make sure it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans, orange zest, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. Let the mixture cool a bit and then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.
  4. After the crust dough has firmed up in the refrigerator, take it out and unwrap. Take about 1 tablespoon of dough at a time and roll into a ball and then flatten with the palm of your hand. Press into the cavity of your greased mini muffin pan, working the dough up the sides of each cavity. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  5. Pour in about 1-2 teaspoons of filling into the each crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until the edges of the crust have lightly browned and the filling has puffed up slightly. Let cool completely before removing each pecan pie bite from the pan. Enjoy!

*You MUST MUST MUST toast the pecans. Do not skip this. Just throw the pecans on a baking sheet and toast it for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.