Orange Pecan Pie Tarts

Ingredients:
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 c. cocoa sugar
1 orange
1 Tbsp. Honeybell White Balsamic
1/8 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. Butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. Maple Balsamic
1/2 c. Molasses
2 c. whole pecans
18 tart shells

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Prepping the orange: Using a vegetable peeler, create thin strips of orange zest. Blanch the orange zest (dip for 1 minute in boiling water, then transfer to an ice bath). Repeat twice. This helps remove some of the bitterness of the fruit. Drain and pat dry the orange zest with a paper towel and very finely chop. Set aside.

How to make concentrated orange juice:
Squeeze as much as juice from the orange as possible. Using a strainer, remove the pulp from the orange juice. Place half the amount of orange juice in a small saucepan (I drank the rest!). Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about 5-6 minutes. The liquid should reduce to about 1 tablespoon of concentrated orange juice. Remove from the heat. Watch very carefully as it can be fine one minute and burnt the next!

How to roast pecans:
To release all the flavor and oil of the pecans, roast them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 325°F before chopping them. Let them cool. Cut 8 pecans in half crosswise and reserve for garnish. Place the rest in a food processor and pulse 3-4 times.

For the pecan filling:
Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs with the cocoa sugar until you get a pale yellow foam. Add the Honeybell White Balsamic and salt. In another bowl, cream 6 tablespoons butter with the brown sugar. Add the concentrated orange juice, 1/3 cup of Maple Balsamic and molasses. Combine the egg mixture with the creamed butter. Pour the pecan filling in a saucepan. Cook over the lowest setting (simmer) for about 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened. Turn off the heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and add the chopped pecans and orange peels. Place the tart shells onto a baking sheet and fill with the warm pecan filling. Decorate with the reserved chopped pecans. Bake at 350 F for approximately 30 minutes or until filling is set. Serve the bite-sized pecan pies at room temperature to ensure the filling sets.

Tips: If you want to be extra cautious, you can cook the pecan filling in a double boiler to ensure the eggs don't curdle. You can also make your own pie dough and form into shells in muffin pans. Or you can make this into one large pie. Baking time will vary on a whole pie.

*Tested in our Thanksgiving Cooking Class

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