1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
Cream the butter and cream cheese (with electric mixer) until it is light and fluffy. Add the flour and beat until the dough comes cleanly away from the inside walls of your mixing bowl. Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for one hour (I NEVER chill this dough, it is a dream to work with).
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1¾ cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Beat the eggs until very well mixed and lemon colored. Stir in everything else.
Roll pastry into 1 inch balls and place them into an ungreased mini-muffin pan. Using your fingers, press the balls of dough into the bottom of each cup and up the sides. (I use the floured end of my rolling pin to press the dough into place). Put a few chopped pecans in the bottom of each pastry shell and top with about a tablespoon of filling. (see note)
Bake in pre-heated 375F oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is set, yet still a little soft in the center. Remove from oven and sit the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before you try to lift them out. Lift tassies out of pan and cool on a wire rack.
NOTE: Keep in mind that the filling puffs as it bakes, so don't overfill the unbaked shells. If you overfill them, they will be hard to get out of the pans. For those stubborn tassies, use the tip of a knife to help you lift them out of the pan.