I've been sampling tassies for the last 25 years and have always loved them, but they always left me slightly disappointed because I wanted something gooeyer. As you'll see from the article, I began experimenting with them after tasting Tiz Faison Benson's tassies. I've been working on them every day this week, as they'll be donated to the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival and will also be in my upcoming book (working title is Amazing Desserts).
I have run into several problems as I've tried to perfect the recipe:
When I made them gooeyer, they tended to stick in the pans and this caused the pastry to break, allowing the goo run out. Getting them out of the pans was my number one priority. The first trick was to grease the pans well. Secondly, leave headroom when you fill them so that they don't overflow when the pastry starts to expand, and last and most important, was to remove the tarts from the pans while the pastry was still hot. All of these techniques will be listed in the recipe.
Another problem was getting the pastry the right thickness. It was hard, at first to press the balls so that the thickness was constant. I solved this by using a tamper and also perfecting how to use the tamper to best advantage. Rather than press the tamper all the way into the ball, I found it best to lightly tamp the balls down flat first. This filled out the cup so that when I then pressed the tamper in more, the dough flattened out evenly in all directions. Getting the sides thinned was also a challenge. I found it best not to roll the tamper around the sides, but to just tamp it around the sides. These techniques will also be in the recipe. I'll make them one more time tomorrow to check the serving size, and to try out a variety and combination of brown sugars and syrups.