These goat cheese tartlets are the perfect vehicle for the pecans, bacon and goat cheese to be a flavor trifecta for an appetizer. The tangy goat cheese and smoky bacon are dynamite, but it’s the pecans that pull it all together. They are nutty and rich without being heavy, which makes popping these mini tartlets into your mouth all too easy.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the insides of 18 cups in a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Unroll the pie crusts and cut with a 3½-inch biscuit cutter. Line the inside of the muffin pans with the crust circles and refrigerate until ready to fill. The crusts won’t go all the way to the top of the cups; this is fine.
Cook the cranberries: Combine the cranberries, sugar, water, cinnamon stick and nutmeg in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 8-10 minutes or until cranberries have cooked (some will have burst, some will remain whole) and mixture has thickened. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside to cool.
Cook the bacon: Meanwhile, place the bacon in a medium skillet with ¼ cup water. Bring the water to a simmer and cook the bacon over medium heat until water completely evaporates and the bacon gets crispy, 8-10 minutes. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Crumble and set aside.
Make the tartlet filling: While the bacon is cooking, combine eggs, goat cheese, heavy cream, milk, pinch kosher salt, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce in a blender container. Blend on the lowest setting until just smooth. Sprinkle a little less than a teaspoon of pecans and evenly divide the bacon inside each cup in the muffin pan. This will create wonderful flavor and texture. Fill each cup to about ¼ inch below the top of the crust with the goat cheese mix and carefully place the pan in the center of the oven. Bake until the filling sets, about 12-14 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Place a cookie sheet over the top of the pan and invert. Shake gently to loosen the tartlets; they should fall onto the pan.
Serve the tartlets: Arrange the tartlets on a serving platter, cheese side up. Strain any excess liquid out of the cranberries and spoon a scant tablespoon of the berries on top of the tarts. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of pecans. Use a pair of scissors to “cut” chives and place them on top, if desired. Serve immediately.