Tea time tassies are simply small tarts filled with a luscious nut filling, sweetened with brown sugar, and laced with fragrant vanilla. When I was a girl in Canada we made these with raisins and called them butter tarts. Now, after tasting this heavenly nutty version, I’m not sure which one I like best.
Tea Time Tassies Pastry
The traditional pastry for tassies is made with a mixture of butter and cream cheese and is super easy to make since both ingredients are softened and beaten until fluffy; the flour is then beaten in as well. There’s no cutting in and no chilling of ingredients, so it’s an excellent choice if you’re in a hurry.
If, like me, you prefer an all-butter pastry, give yourself a bit of extra time to cut in the cold butter.
I also veered from tradition in making the pastry gluten-free. I was curious to see how it would work, and I’m pleased to say, it worked a treat! Buttery, flaky, and sturdy enough to encase the melt-in-your-mouth filling without falling to bits after one bite.
Tea Time Tassies are made in mini tart or muffin tins. If you don’t have the mini version, you can still make delicious ones in a regular muffin tin. You’ll just need to use a lot more filling.
Notes on Gluten-Free Pastry
You’ll need a couple of tablespoons more ice water to bring the dough together. With normal pastry I use 3-4 tablespoons, but with gluten-free I used 5-6.
Once the pastry is made, put it into the tart tins and chill the tart tin rather than chilling the dough and attempting to fit it into the tart tin cold. This works fine with regular pastry, but chilled gluten-free pastry crumbles when pushing it into the tin molds.
Tea Time Tassies Filling
The filling for tea time tassies is delicious and so easy. Just mix the ingredients together in one bowl and it’s ready to go.
Traditional tassie filling is made with brown sugar, vanilla, and chopped nuts. For mine I used dark brown sugar (I love the depth of flavor it brings), maple extract, and chopped walnuts. Vanilla is delicious, but somehow the maple goes even more beautifully with the nuts.
Serving Tea Time Tassies
Some people like their tassies hot out of the oven when the filling is gooey and dripping. Although this is lovely if the temperature is just right, I have had too many burnt lips and tongues to risk it. These days I play it safe and have mine when they’ve had 5-10 minutes to cool or are cold from the fridge.
You can serve them plain or topped with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
These nutty delicacies go well with fragrant, nutty, or spiced teas. Try smoky Fireside Chat Black Tea with rooibos, cinnamon, ginger, cocoa nibs, and vanilla, walnut, and chocolate essences; Toasted Nut Brûlée Oolong with apple, cocoa nibs, and vanilla, hazelnut, chestnut, almond, and walnut essences; or Caramel Almond Black Tea with cinnamon chips, apple, and almond and caramel essences.
Maple Walnut Tea Time Tassies
- 1 and 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 4-6 tablespoons ice water
Add flour, salt, and sugar to bowl of food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Pour into medium mixing bowl.
Add ice water one tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork, until dough is wet enough to hold together.
Dump out onto lightly floured board and press into a flat circle about 1 inch thick. Pinch off 1-inch pieces, roll into balls, and press into a non-stick mini-tart or muffin tin. Gently press evenly so the pastry just peeps up above the edge of the tin.
Wrap the tin with plastic wrap and chill at least one hour or overnight.
- 1 tablespoon softened butter
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon maple extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, dark brown sugar, maple extract, and salt until smooth.
Remove tin of pastry from the fridge and fill each cup with about 1 teaspoon of filling.
Bake about 25 minutes or until filling is set.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove tarts to a cooling rack.