Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pecan Bars & Pecan Pie

Day 40

Who doesn’t love the flavor of toasted, candied pecans with a fresh shortbread or pastry crust? These recipes are for all those Southern pecan lovers out there who can’t decide between a pie or a shortbread bar. Enjoy!
Both of these recipes were taken directly from the dessert sources I like best in my search for the pecan perfection. I’ve tried many recipes for pecan pie, and one of the best continues to be from the Karo Syrup website, so I’ll both endorse it and share it here. The pecan bars are from the Tate’s Baking Company, and I really, really recommend that you try them. They have a crunchy shortbread base and a gooey praline topping that is simply delicious. In fact, I’ll add that every recipe I’ve tried from Tate’s is outstanding.
Pecan Bars
Copyright, Doug Kapustin Photogrphy, 2013


Shortbread Layer-
Softened butter for the pan

1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour

12 tbs. cold salted butter, cut into cubes

1/3 cup granulated sugar

10 tbs. salted butter, cut into tablespoons

½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup honey

¼ cup pure maple sugar

¼ cup heavy cream

3 ½ cups coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13x9 inch baking pan. Line the bottom and the two short ends with a 20-inch long piece of aluminum foil, pleating the foil to fit and letting the excess foil hang over the ends. Lightly butter the foil. 

To make the shortbread layer: in a medium bowl, mix the flour, butter, and sugar with an electric mixer set on low speed just until combined and crumbly. Do not mix into a dough; it should remain crumbly. Press firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand on a wire cooling rack. Leave the oven on. 

To make the topping: in a medium saucepan, bring the butter, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and heavy cream to a boil, stirring until the butter melts. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir the pecans. Pour and spread the pecan mixture over the crust. 

Return to the oven and bake until the pecan mixture is bubbling and golden brown around the edges, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack. 

Run a dinner knife around the edges of the shortbread to release it. Lift up the foil “handles” and remove the shortbread from the pan. Using a long sharp knife, cut into 24 rectangles. 

*Recipe from Kathleen King’s Tate’s Bake Shop: Baking for Friends, page 138 (copyright 2012). 

Pecan Pie
Copyright, Maggie Kapustin, 2013

1 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish pie crust


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.

Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.

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