Sweet Potato Tartlets
For the Filling
- 2 small sweet potatoes (1 pound total)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Pinch of allspice
For the Praline Topping and Crust
- 1 1/4 cups whole pecans
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup light-brown sugar
- 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
To make filling: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prick potatoes. Place on baking sheet; bake about 40 minutes, or until soft. When cool enough to handle, peel and mash.
Transfer mashed potatoes to an electric mixer; beat on low speed for 1 minute. Whisk together egg, cream, molasses, and vanilla. Add to potatoes; mix on low speed, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in remaining filling ingredients. Let stand until crusts are ready.
To make the topping and crust: Begin by making pecan praline. Place 1/2 cup pecans on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. In a small heavy saucepan, combine granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. Cover and bring to a boil. Leave cover on until condensation washes down insides of pan. Uncover, adjust heat to medium, and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar turns amber. Pour caramel over pecans; let cool about 1 hour. Chop praline into small pieces.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. In a baking pan, toast remaining 3/4 cup pecans for about 7 minutes, turning once. Let cool completely. Transfer to a food processor, and process to a fine powder; add butter, brown sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse until well combined.
Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture to use for topping. Divide the rest among 3-inch tart tins; press into tins. Refrigerate on a baking sheet for 30 minutes. Prick crusts with a fork, and bake 5 minutes.
Transfer tart tins to a work surface, and divide sweet-potato filling evenly among them. Crumble reserved topping into small pieces between your fingers, and mix in half the chopped pecan praline. Sprinkle this topping over sweet-potato filling, avoiding edges of the crust. Place tarts on a baking sheet, transfer to oven, and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until tarts are puffed and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool 15 to 20 minutes, then unmold and let cool to room temperature. Sprinkle remaining pecan praline over tarts, and serve.