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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Cutie pies with pecans and fewer fatteners

By Elaine Magee
Knight Ridder News Service

Q. My husband loves pecan pie. I would like to serve it during New Year's and have it not be so rich and high-calorie. Any suggestions?

A. Part of the problem with holiday desserts is portion size.

Maybe it would help if we made mini desserts so people can enjoy a taste or two and not have to commit to a whole slice, and all the calories and grams of fat that come with it. Of course, we have to do something to reduce the higher fat and calorie ingredients too: lower-fat, low-trans margarine for the crust as well as some light cream cheese and egg substitute for part of the eggs. You can either stir coarsely chopped pecans into the filling before spooning it into the crusts, or you can spoon in the filling (without the chopped nuts) and top each with a pecan half.

These mini pecan pies are — dare I say it? — addicting, and they look beautiful on a tray.

Mini Pecan Pies

  • 3/4 cup light, no trans margarine with 8 grams of fat per tablespoon (such as Land O Lakes Buttery Spread)
  • 8-ounce package light cream cheese
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons egg substitute (such as Egg Beaters)
  • 11/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (increase to 1 cup if you desire)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix together the margarine and cream cheese until well blended. Beat in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, just until the mixture forms a smooth dough. Knead with your hands to incorporate all of the crumbs at the bottom of the bowl.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls, and press into the bottoms and sides of mini muffin pans (if using cupcake pans, use twice as much dough).

In another bowl, mix together the egg, egg substitute, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. Stir in the pecans. Use a spoon to fill each of the crusts fl full with the mixture (about 1/2 tablespoon for mini muffin pans and 1 tablespoon for regular sized cupcake pans).

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in a preheated oven, until shell is light brown and the filling has puffed up. Cool, and carefully remove from pans.

Makes 3 1/2 dozen (21 servings of 2 mini tarts per serving)

• Per serving: 182 calories, 3 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat (2.6 g saturated, 3.2 g monounsaturated fat, 2.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 16 mg cholesterol, 0.7 g fiber, 107 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 52 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids 0.8 g, omega-6 fatty acids, 2 g Weight Watchers points 4 points.

The original recipe had 250 calories, 19 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, and 50 mg cholesterol per serving (2 mini pecan pies).

Reach Elaine Magee through www.recipedoctor.com.