Devil with the Blue Dress on….

Some may call BS when I say I am a rule follower. But really, I am. I never even got detention once. Because I was smart enough to know how to push the right buttons but always within the limits.
The year of the Costco dresses, case in point.
At the time I had what some may categorize as a highly passive-aggressive vice principal. She gave me lots of suggestions over the years from why I should get married (even though I wasn’t really dating anyone), if I wasn’t going to marry a man (hint are you a lesbian) that it might cause strife for the school, and there was the time that she told me to quit going to graduate school so I could go to the PTA meeting. This VP was always dressed up nicely. She was an administrator, that was her job. Though I found her insane to wear pantyhose in the hot months of Phoenix, AZ.
Unfortunately, because she dressed so well, she assumed everyone else should. I had taught lab science for too many years to learn that good clothing and that subject don’t mix. Because they day you do wear something nice is the day you get hydrochloric acid on your dress. Plus I was an involved teacher, often down on the ground with the kids. Sometimes I would even go to PE with my class just to have them see me in a more relaxed setting. So I wore pants. A lot. This VP was obsessed with people wearing dresses, or at least skirts. The one day I did wear a dress, she kept making a point over and over about how good I looked. How I should wear a dress every day. She even wrote me notes. Showed me picture of professionals wearing dresses compared to pants. And in her true passive-aggressive way, she let me know that she loved the dress, just maybe not with those shoes. And so it festered. It is not good when something festers with me.
One day, shortly after all the dress talk, I was at Costco. They were selling these dresses that were one step down from a muu muu. Cheap, under $10 a piece. They had 4 colors. And so I bought all four colors. Every Monday I wore the blue one. Every Tuesday the purple. Wednesday was spirit day at school so you were allowed to wear jeans and a school t-shirt. Thursday was the gray dress. Friday was the black dress. This was what I wore the rest of the year. With dock martin boots (since I got note from my doctor saying I needed to wear such footwear…I did not). Sure I looked HORRIBLE. It made me look twice as big and about 16 months pregnant. But I was proving a point. All with in the rules.
One day as I was leaving my dog jumped up on me and got mud everywhere. I was forced to wear the Thursday dress on Tuesday. The kids were screwed up for the rest of the week.
At the end of the year in the slide show whenever my photo would pop up the kids would shout out “it’s Friday” because I was in my black dress. Or “it’s Tuesday” because I was in purple dress.
The great thing about it was that you never had to think about what you were going to wear that week. At the end of the year, those dresses were given away. We even had a party to say goodbye to them. The next year I went to back to wearing what I wanted. Point made. Nothing ever said again about what I was wearing on body or feet.
Today was the big TEA Party day across our nation. Now, I am not in favor of it, as I feel it is hard to say we have taxation without representation, when in fact we have representation, and we all just voted about 6 months ago. BUT I do appreciate anyone going out and protesting for what they believe in.
In honour of such an event, I made some mini pecan pies to go with whatever tea might be being served!
I found these on a website when I was browsing. I liked that they used a cream cheese crust and corn syrup in the filling.
Hope everyone gets your taxes in on time…the clock is ticking!

Mini Pecan Pies (or pecan tassies)
Makes 48 tassies or 3 4 1/2 inch tarts

Tassie Filling
1 cup pecan halves
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½  cups packed dark brown sugar
½  tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 TBSP unsalted butter, melted

Cream Cheese Dough
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour-measured by fluffing, scooping and leveling
2 TBSP powdered sugar
1 TBSP Bourbon
Pinch salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold
8 ounces cream cheese, cold
¼ tsp  vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F., with an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Spray-grease three nonstick mini-muffin pans.
For the filling:
Chop the pecans to medium-fine dice. In a bowl, whisk together the ingredients.
For the pastry:
Place the flour, powdered sugar, Bourbon, vanilla extract, and salt in a food processor bowl and pulse-process to mix the ingredients together. Cut the butter into ¼ inch chunks, add to the processor and pulse on and off, until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
Add the cream cheese, by tablespoonful to the processor. Pulse-process until the dough just starts to come together (about 10, 5-second bursts), and then turn it out onto a board. Press the dough together into a cohesive mass and then divide the dough into 48 balls.
The easiest way to press the dough into shape is to use a tart tamper, if not use your hands.
To use the tamper, place a ball in each cup and tamp down on each ball, lightly, just so that the dough is centered and fills the cup.
Dust the tamper with flour and then press down gently, and not all of the way to the bottom, just until the dough starts to curl around the top part of the tamper bulb. To get the tamper out of the dough, rock it side to side and pull up. Use the tamper to thin the edges of the tarts by patting it against the edges. Place the tamper back into the tart and push down until it bottoms out. Touch the bottom to make sure that it is neither too thin nor too thick, pushing the dough up or down to make it right. The dough in the bottom should not be so thin that you can see through it, nor so thick that it feels squishy when you touch it.
Place ½  rounded teaspoonful of nuts into each cup. Spoon in 1 ½ to 2 tsp of the sugar/egg mixture, filling the tarts to within a scant 1/8-inch of the top. Do not fill the tarts up to the top, as the filling expands as it cooks and tarts that have overflowed are hard to remove from the pans after baking.
Place the pans on a cookie sheet and bake for 23-27 minutes, until the filling is puffed and the pastry is lightly browned. Remove the pans to a cooling rack. Let the pastry stand for 5 minutes. While the pastry is still warm, run a skewer along the top edge of the pastry to loosen it from the pan and then remove the tarts from the pans. Set the tarts on a cooling rack to cool completely.

  Adapted from Amazing Dessert Recipes by Penny Eisenberg (not sure if it is in the book or just on her blog)


  1. HAHA!! Love your “lesson” for the vice principal, about the dresses :-D

    And I love the mini pies!!

  2. LOVED the dress story – and the mini pecan pies. You rock!

  3. As a recently retired teacher, I understood immediately your need for the right clothes while at work. Your VPrincipal sounded suspiciously like a harasser of some kind, doesn’t she? My favorite part was you having to wear the wrong dress on the wrong day. My own students thought it was a banner day when 1) I would wear make-up–“Do you have a meeting or something?” and 2) I had new shoes. PS I want to make some of those pies!

  4. these are my favorite xmas cookies, hand down. I loooove them.

    (go pens!)

  5. What a fabulous and hilarious story. I love that you “followed the rules” and made your point at the same time. I hope that VP was sufficiently embarrassed.

  6. If I were around the full batch of those tassies, I’d need one of those Costco dresses for real!

    Fun story – I really can’t believe you sustained such a regime. Impressive!

  7. Love that story – I really pushed the limits in high school with my uniform policy – wore kermit the frog slippers as “closed toed shoes” and got detention.

  8. I should read your post, but really all I can concentrate is how much I just want to stick my tongue in the middle of one of those tassies…

    Thank God Passover ends tomorrow.

  9. Haha. Great stories. I love teaching people those kinds of “lessons”. These mini pies look great. The perfect thing to serve at a party.

  10. What an awesome story! I bet her mind was spinning. I love the mini pies. I’ll have to keep them in mind for parties, because I love pecan pie, but it’s so nice to have something bite-sized like this.

  11. Oh Peabody! I have written to you a few times before about loving your posts, or recipes or asking questions, but this post made me laugh out loud. I was just envisioning the whole thing playing out, with the notes, comments and dresses – HILARIOUS!!!
    As an elementary school art teacher I seriously value the fact that I am allowed to wear jeans and sneakers to work, since it makes sense with the kind of work I do. I so love that you shared this with us – makes me love your blog even more, which I did not think was possible.


  12. Collette says:

    That’s an awesome story. I love that you continued it for the entire year. But now I’m kind of messed up–if it’s Devil in the Blue Dress, shouldn’t it be Monday? ;-)

  13. I love your dress story. I think my favourite part of working at the restaurant may be that I never have to worry about what to wear… uniforms are great. Well, except for the fact that they’re not made for girls… Or that they sometimes think it’s funny to give me the short pants so that they’re practically capris…

  14. What a hysterical story! I love that the kids could tell the days of the week by your dresses. How awesome. I love sending messages “within the rules”–you’ve totally summed up my style! Oh and these mini-tarts. Um, yeah, AWESOME!

  15. these look delicious. I enjoy reading your blog :)

  16. Wow, such commitment! I could not have followed through. I used to have to wear all black for work and it drove me crazy. I was always wearing black with small prints of color. I can’t believe you did it.

    Pictures please :-)

  17. Oh how that story delighted me. Being told how I should look is not something I’ve ever enjoyed. My mom still slips in passive aggressive comments on my short hair, which means I always make sure it’s freshly cut before seeing her ;)

    These little tea treats look lovely, and they make me deeply regret being allergic to pecans.

  18. I laughed at two points in the story. When you mentioned the dock martins, and when I read this;
    “At the end of the year in the slide show whenever my photo would pop up the kids would shout out “it’s Friday” because I was in my black dress. Or “it’s Tuesday” because I was in purple dress.”

    Needed the laugh. Thanks!

  19. Great story!

    Oh, I’n a sucker for pecan pies be they mini or big ;-P!



  20. Omg! Best story EVER! I agree with you–pantyhose must die! I used to get that from a woman I worked for about wearing heels (which I supposedly have to because I’m 5’0). I do.not.wear.heels. Because you know, it makes so much difference if I’m miserable and a wopping 5’2 as opposed to comfortable and 5’0.

    I just hope none of the tea protesters throw tea into actual bodies of water. In my area, the Jersey shore can’t take much more pollution..

  21. I wish I could see a picture of those dresses. Those pecan tarts look really good!

  22. That is hilarious! Are you going to share some pictures?!? It’s so funny that the kids knew what day it was in the slide show by your dress color. I am a teacher also, and it would be hilarious if someone around here did that just in spite of the VP dress suggestions!!

  23. This is one of my favorite tarts in the whole wide world! I loved your story! :)

  24. Peabody–

    You are too frickin cool. I am in love with this story and wish I had a comparable one. For some reason I can’t see your pictures, but the recipe *sounds* good at any rate. =)

    <3, Aleta.

  25. Pea, I wear skirts on a daily basis – I work as an executive assistant – but only the ones I feel comfortable with and that don’t make my ass look three times bigger. On the weekends, though, it feels wonderful to go back to my jeans and Tees.

    These are wonderful treats – I love how beautifully golden the filling is! YUM!

  26. That’s right! Drive people insane within the boundaries of law! That’s how I roll as well :)
    Thanks for the amusing post and the great recipe, the cream cheese sounds like a great addition here.

  27. Thank you for sharing that story. It was fun to read and you sound like a great teacher! These little tarts look wonderful!

  28. One of jobs was in a hotel (as a front desk girl). I HAD to wear a dress or skirt everyday. They said ‘a female in pants didn’t go with their image’. It was awful and to make matters worse we had to work on the bottom of a hill a HIKE up.

    I lasted 3 months. :/

    (Oh and that cream cheese dough sounds great)

  29. Hahaha! that was a funny little story, and I enjoyed reading it! that VP really is unbearable and deserves a little lesson.
    those tarts look delightful! you could have bribed your VP with some of these to shut up. haha!

  30. Great story, and these pies are super cute. Every time I try to make anything “mini” or “bite-size” though it seems to turn into a disaster. About the “tea” party, there was a HILARIOUS segment on the Rachel Maddow show that is being passed around online about it. It’s hard to get through it without laughing.

  31. Bourbon in the crust? These sound great. And yes, we dropped off our taxes at the post office about 6PM last night!

  32. Do you know how much I love hot chocolate and pecan pie! Thanks for these amazing recipes! Your blog is so well done! I am envious of your pictures. I am for sure adding this blog to my links. Would you please add me to your Links page? I would so appreciate it as I aspire to have a blog as great as yours!

  33. LOL I love it! What a great way to make a “statement”.

  34. That is hilarious. They say that Einstein owned seven identical black suits and wore them every day because that way he could spend his time thinking about more important things!

  35. My momma makes these every Christmas from a similar recipe. I’m not one to mess with a good thing, but I like the idea of adding a little bourbon to the crust, a little spice! Thanks for sharing!!

  36. Within the rules . . . an extension, that counts doesn’t it?
    That is truly a grand dress story!
    The mini pies, you did save me some . . . yes . . . pecan is my favorite!!

  37. Note: I did say some not one, they’re minis after all.

  38. That is such an awesome story! And those tassies, drooling.

  39. Thanks’ for the laugh! What a hoot. These tarts look delicious!

  40. A pie dough with cream cheese AND bourbon?!? Peabody, you sure know how to sweet talk a girl!

  41. Pecan tasseies are one of my favorite things ever. These look amazing. PS, good luck to your Flames tonight. I am cheering for them…at least in this series ;)

  42. I was really craving pecan pie today for some reason. These look divine!

  43. I feel like it’s been about 1,000 years since I’ve been here! I’ve missed you!!!

    I’m watching the Flames and Blackhawks. Go Flames!!!

  44. THAT is a hilarious story. Unfortunately, I’m the opposite of you…rule follower but can’t get away with anything! I got detention ONCE b/c the teacher had her panties in a wad that day…any other day people could probably fight in front of her and not get detention. Oh, well! Great pecan tassies.

  45. Yikes! Sounds like someone else might have, er, not married a man? Kidding. That was a little obsessive on her part. Though I certainly don’t think your appearance should have suffered to make a point, lol :) At least not with a muumuu lite!

    I’ve never had a pecan pie before– but these look so good, I think I need to change that stat!

  46. That’s hilarious! You’ve got to share a pic of you in one of those dresses.

    Oh, and it seems to me that your VP had a little bit of a crush on you…! I’m just saying.

  47. These little pies are beautiful…I wish I had one right now.

    I am cracking up about your 4 Costco dresses and boots. What did said dresses look like? ALso, I think your VP was a creepster. She wrote you notes about how good you looked in the first dress…? Seriously? So weird.

  48. This story just made my day.

  49. gee,
    I almost can’t believe that the VP actually did all of that. I mean, 20 years ago, sure, but I’ve not heard of that sort of archaic behaviour before. In Vancouver, if not in all of Canada, I can’t imagine that happening. Teachers come to school in birkenstocks, white socks and shorts in winter (so wrong in many ways) but no one utters a peep. Teachers in public schools wear what they pretty much want, just as they should. Those pecan tassies remind me so much of our Canadian Butter Tarts! yumm!

  50. Great story and good point! Where can I find one of those dresses? your photos are so clear and real~ want to grab the little tassies and eat them!

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