If you love pecan pie this time of year, you will go wild for these Maple Pecan Pie Puffs. They're like "mini pecan pies." They're the easiest way to serve up that amazing pecan pie flavor without the hassle of a pie crust. Next time you feel like enjoying a traditional pecan pie recipe, try this new recipe instead. It's literally the same ingredients as my classic pecan pie made in fluffy, crispy puff pastry cups. These are sweet, yet not too sweet, and a great alternative to serving up full pie slices. You might even like these more than a standard pecan pie. Some of my kids don't care for pecan pie, but they love these puffs! I don't get it because the filling is exactly the same as my homemade pecan pie recipe (future post =). Surprise your guests with these on your next holiday table. They're easier to enjoy on a stuffed belly after a huge holiday meal too.
What type of Puff Pastry should I use?
I like to use a puff pastry sheet for this recipe for multiple reasons. It's easiest to find in the store, it's the less expensive than the cups and it's just enough to make 12 perfect pie puffs! When you buy pre-made cups, they charge so much more for them to be pre-made.
How to Make Maple Pecan Pie Puffs
This recipe makes 12 pecan pie puffs with a standard muffin pan. You can easily double the recipe if you need more of these mini pecan pies! If you have 2 muffin tins and 2 pastry sheets, you're good to go. The beauty of this recipe is you don't need pie dough or a pie shell, just your puff pastry sheet. I struggle with pie dough, ask my husband. He hears me struggling in the kitchen any time I have to deal with dough. These little puffs are a great alternative and not as heavy as pie.
Trials and Variations
I tried numerous methods to make these puffs, to the point where my family enjoyed these sweet treats for about 3 weeks straight. I tried making circles to fit into the muffin tins and different-sized squares. After all of my trials, the end result that turned out the prettiest and easiest to handle was equal-sized 3 inch squares, made with 1 puff pastry sheet.
- Flatten out the Puff Pastry Dough- First, start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit if you haven't done so already. Then, roll out your puff pastry dough if it's fully defrosted. Puff pastry sheets come in different sizes, so whatever size you start with, you want to flatten it out, stretching it out with your rolling pin to 9" by 12." I place a piece of parchment or wax paper over it for ease. Then use a pizza or pastry cutter to cut it into 3 x 3 inch squares. Poke holes with a fork 3-4 times in each square.
- Place pastry squares into each cup of your muffin tin, spreading out the dough a little with your fingers. Try to leave the four corners stick out beyond the cup and let it go up the sides as much as possible, without ripping it.
- Make your gooey filling- While the puffs are in the oven for their 1st bake, you can make your pecan pie filling. In a medium bowl add your all of your pie ingredients, starting with the dry ones. Then add in the wet ingredients as specified in the recipe card.
- Adjust Oven Temperature- Once you finish the initial bake, turn the oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add a heaping Tablespoon of filling to each puffed pastry cup.
- Bake the pastry puffs another 12-14 minutes, or until filling puffs up and it's bubbling and pastry slightly golden.
Pecan Pie Puffs Main Ingredients
- Puff Pastry Sheet- I prefer refrigerated puff pastry, but you can't always find it, so the frozen version is fine. Thaw it according to directions on pastry.
- Chopped Pecans- I'd chop the pecans pretty small since you're dealing with small bites.
- Pure Maple Syrup- I love the amazing flavor of real maple syrup for this. I would not recommend using fake syrup unless you absolutely have to for dietary restrictions. I always prefer a more natural ingredient when possible and in this case maple syrup trumps light corn syrup
- Bourbon- I love the subtle taste of bourbon with pecan, these 2 flavors are just meant for each other. It's that Southern flair in such a recipe and I think most pecan pie purists would agree on.
- Vanilla Bean Paste- I like the paste for this because it gives sort of a deeper flavor than standard vanilla extract, but you can absolutely use extract if that's all you have.
Additions or Substitutions
- Dark chocolate chips - The puffs are great on their own, but a little chocolate never hurts.
- Toasted Coconuts flakes- If you want to add a little twist to your puffs.
- Vanilla extract for vanilla bean paste- I don't always have vanilla bean paste as most of us don't, so extract is fine.
- A Tablespoon of flour for cornstarch- I have not made it with flour, but it serves the same purpose of helping the mixture to thicken, so you can try it and let me know how it turns out for you.
- Coconut Oil or Vegan butter for Real butter- I personally love real butter in desserts like this, but if you're needing to swap, give it a try!
- Skip the Bourbon- If you prefer not to use alcohol, that's fine, you can add a little bit more vanilla extract (maybe just another ½ tsp)
- Switch the sugar- I have not made this with any other sugar than brown sugar, but by all means try another like coconut sugar or whatever your preference might be, but I can't guarantee the end product on a sugar alternative.