Pecan Pickups

a plate of pecan pickups

Pecan Pickups are delectably soft tarts in miniature, filled with a sweet gooey brown sugar nectar and freshly chopped nuts. The earthy autumn undertones of these bite-size desserts are a perfect fit for the cooler seasons. Make Granny’s Pecan Pickups the centerpiece of this year’s Christmas cookie tray. But you may want to plan on making a double batch since these tasty tarts are usually the first to go!

Like most dessert recipes using pecans, Pecan Pickups are influenced by Southern home-cooking traditions. The sweet and buttery flavors of pecan add a unique profile to these pastry cups. Pecan Pickups are essentially tiny little pecan pies - perfect for an on-the-go treat!


  • 3 ounces (85 grams) cream cheese
  • 1 stick (113 grams) butter or margarine
  • 1 cup flour

  • Filling
  • 34 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 12 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 egg
  • Method

    • 1. Mix cream cheese, butter, and flour. Using a junior size muffin tin, place the size of a small walnut into each muffin hole. Chill for about ½ hour. Then, form the dough with your thumb.

    • 2. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Combine the brown sugar, vanilla, melted butter, pecans, and egg. Place 1 teaspoon mixture into each pastry shell.

    • 3. Bake for 20 minutes.

    The Southern Charm of Pecan Pickups

    The Pecan Pickup is a delightful nod to Southern home-cooking traditions. These delectably soft mini-tarts are filled with a sweet, gooey brown sugar nectar and freshly chopped pecans, embodying the earthy autumn undertones that make them a perfect fit for cooler seasons.

    The recipe is essentially a miniature version of the classic pecan pie, a staple in Southern cuisine. The pecan tree (Carya illinoinensis), which provides the key ingredient for this recipe, is native to southern Mexico and the southern United States. Pecans have been used in local cuisines for centuries, even before European settlers arrived.

    The pecan pie, a dessert that uses pecans mixed with a filling of eggs, butter, and sugar (typically corn syrup), gained popularity in the early 20th century. However, the Pecan Pickups recipe takes this traditional dessert and transforms it into bite-sized treats, perfect for an on-the-go snack or as part of a Christmas cookie tray.

    The recipe's simplicity and the rich, buttery flavor of the pecans make these mini-tarts a favorite. They are usually the first to go at gatherings, so it's recommended to make a double batch. Whether you're a fan of Southern cuisine or just love a good pastry, Granny’s Pecan Pickups are sure to be a hit.