Makes 30 tartlets
For the Pastry Dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling:
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark corn syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons bourbon
pinch of salt
2 cups (about 8 ounces) chopped pecans
Special equipment: rolling pin, 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, pastry brush, 2 mini-muffin tins
For the pastry dough:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the flour and salt to a large food processor and process until combined. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and pulse in 2-second increments until the butter is in pea-size pieces.
Sprinkle the water over the dough and continue pulsing the mixture until it comes together to form a large ball. Do not over process, as the dough will get tough. Remove the dough from the food processor and divide it in half. Press each half into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least fifteen minutes and up to one day.
For the filling:
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and dark corn syrup until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the vanilla extract, melted butter, bourbon, and salt. Add the chopped pecans and stir to combine. Set aside.
On a well-floured surface, roll the dough out until it is ¼-inch thick. To prevent the dough from sticking to the counter, brush the dough with flour using a pastry brush as you roll it out and flip it over using the rolling pin to support it after every couple of rolls (the chef instructor will demonstrate this technique).
Once the dough has been rolled out, cut out small rounds of dough using a 2 ½-inch round cookie cutter. Working with one round of dough at a time, gently stretch the dough and then press it into a mini-muffin mold (the dough should rise above the mold). Repeat with the remaining dough rounds. Repeat the previous steps with the second ball of dough. Note: The scraps from the dough can be combined, re-rolled and cut out, but the dough will be slightly tougher due to more handling.
Pre-bake the tartlets for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and then let cool. Press down the center of the tartlets if they have puffed up during cooking. Stir the pecan filling with a large spoon and then divide the filling between the tartlets. Don’t overfill the tartlets as the filling will spill over. Bake the tartlets in the oven for 8 minutes; reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the tartlets from the oven and let cool before serving.