I know people have been waiting for this recipe. My sister in law introduced us to it, and we were addicted. A lot of us asked her for recipe, and every single time that we make them, we get asked for the recipe. This is a never ending cycle that we have entered, so if you’re looking to make something for guests, or to take to a party that will have people craving more, then look no further.
The pecan is not something that I was familiar with before seeing it in America. If it wasn’t for this amazing dessert, I wouldn’t have thought much of the pecan, other than being a poor man’s walnut. Back in the 90’s when we used to come to America for the summer, it seemed like our entire family here was a huge fan of Butter Pecan Ice Cream. And I liked it. But it’s nothing compared to what the pecan is in a pecan pie.
That is where the pecan truly shines. It’s the star of the show, and nothing can take its place. Because I didn’t grow up eating this glorious, all-Amerian dessert, it didn’t particularly stand out to me at first. When I hadn’t tried it, I did wonder why my uncle, who has severe diabetes, always used to go home with an entire Pecan Pie whenever we went to Baker’s Square! Well, now I know! You might not think it looks particularly enticing, but once you try it, you’re completely addicted!
The crunchy pecan topping, the ooey gooey centre, and the flaky, buttery crust! Three layers of perfectly proportioned yumminess! The pie is really a spectacular thing. The delicate pastry crust, and a zillion options to use as a filling. While I love graham cracker crusts as well, I still feel that a pastry crust is far superior, but because it’s harder to pull it off, people prefer to opt for the easier option when making a pie at home.
There are a number of ways to serve up a pie; a traditional pie, mini pies, and then there’s the pie bar.
The pie bar packs the entire punch of the traditional pie in an easy to make, easy to serve, easy to eat piece. This recipe makes the most amazing crust. I actually have to stop myself from completely devouring the raw dough. As tricky and scary as pie crusts might be, (and after a couple of disasters, I was scared of them) this is so easy and you get such a perfect, professional crust, that you’ll never want to go back to store bought crusts again. I am so looking forward to experimenting with tons of different fillings this year using this crust, iA.
And now a little bit about the topping. Try these bars with vanilla bean flavored, hand whipped cream. Thanks to my cousin, I am completely hooked to it! When she was visiting over thanksgiving, she offered to whip some cream for me that I needed for something or the other. She also wanted to do it by hand, which I have never even bothered to try because I felt like it would take too much time and require too much effort, neither of which I am willing to give. But since she was the one who would have to worry about all that, I promptly handed her a bowl and a whisk.
Sometimes things happen that just change the way you look… at life! She took the bowl and sat down quietly on a chair by the window and started whisking. I can’t speak for her, but it was so relaxing and therapeutic watching her sit there, focused on the single motion of her hand, as the cream came together, and changed form from liquid, to beautiful, soft, fluffy, white peaks a few minutes later.
I don’t know if it was the party we were throwing or something else but I was a bit overwhelmed and I needed to relax, and put my mind in order. That’s the thing about going through a certain motion to achieve a set goal- it allows your mind to focus on the accomplishment of that one task and besides the sense of fulfillment that comes from achieving that goal, your mind also gets a chance to reorganize your thoughts. So, next time you feel like you have too much on your mind, you could try sitting down with a bowl of heavy cream and a whisk, and start beating! Let your hands fall into the motion and let your mind go, let your thoughts wander and just like the cream goes from sloshing all around the bowl into a cohesive form, you might find your thoughts slowly rearrange themselves into a quiet, settled order. I feel like that’s true for any task that we might perform that doesn’t involve engaging the mind as much as engaging the body.
We lightly sweetened it with some confectioner’s sugar and flavored it with vanilla beans. It was dimply divine with the pecan pie bars. I think she whipped some cream everyday for the time that she was here, and if we didn’t find something to put it on, we just went ahead and ate spoonfuls of it on its own! Note that I always use heavy cream as opposed to whipping cream. Heavy cream is more forgiving while whipping cream is a bit too light for my taste and before I know it, I’ve over-whipped and ruined it.
I use heavy cream, a little bit of powdered sugar and vanilla bean, and beat it until it forms soft peaks. It will set further if you refrigerate it.
I used to think that beating by hand takes much too long, but that’s not the case. But if you are short on time, there’s nothing wrong with using an electric mixer. It’s just that beating by hand is a slower process, and you can take the time to bring it up to the exact consistency that you want. Either way, it’s much better than Reddi-wip, so I hope that that can lying in the fridge is your last!
Because she introduced us to it, it’s very fitting that Fariha contributed this recipe to Zabiha Bites. I’m happy not only to get a contribution from such a sweet and wonderful member of the family, but also because I know that this recipe does her cooking skills justice! Talent for amazing cooking runs very strong in her family, and so, for a great cook like her, it’s easy to follow a recipe and get perfect results every time. She finds this recipe extremely simple and straightforward, but I admit, I struggled with it a bit at first, so I’ve included some troubleshooting tips.
Pecan Pie Bars by Fariha Jan
It all started about 5 years ago when my husband, who not only has a sweet tooth but a mouthful of them, brought me a cookbook and kindly asked me to make a dessert which appealed to him.
Since then, whenever I have served this dessert it has been an instant hit and has become a staple in our family thanksgiving dinners.
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla/1 inch vanilla bean (Buy vanilla beans here and read about why I’ve switched to vanilla beans in my Vanilla Beans Post.)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. For crust, beat ¾ cup butter in large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. (I just use a fork. Do not melt butter fully but make sure you use softened butter) Add powdered sugar and beat until well blended. Add flour gradually beating at low speed after each addition. Mixture should be crumbly but will press together easily.
- Press dough evenly into an ungreased 13×9 inch baking pan. Press mixture firmly and slightly up sides of pan to form lip to hold filling.
- Bake 20-25 mins or until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, for the filling beat eggs lightly in medium bowl with fork. Add granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, light corn syrup, vanilla and chopped pecans. Mix well.
- Pour filling over partially baked crust. Return to oven and bake for 35-40 mins or until filling is set.
- Loosen edge with knife. Let cool completely on rack before cutting into squares. Cover and refrigerate for 10-15 mins before serving. (I dont refrigerate it, I just let it cool.)
* I like to serve this dessert with a scoop of hubbys favorite ice cream, Haagen Dazs Vanilla. Enjoy!
Recipe from: Grandma’s Cookie Jar Cookbook.
First you have to understand what you are trying to achieve. A crisp, flaky crust, a set but gooey center, and a slightly crunchy topping. The first few times, I was ending up with a completely dried out, crisp, hard, bar. The result of over-baking.
Now I bake the crust until it just starts to turn the lightest shade of golden brown.
After pouring in the filling, baking time can still vary according to your oven and altitude. I always start checking after 20-25 minutes. The filling is done when a fork inserted in it comes out clean, although the center might still be a little soft, but not too jiggly.
Somehow, in my oven, whenever I have tried to go for a tester coming out clean, they have been overdone. So, now, I just go for moist crumbs around the edges. I think it’s better to have a slightly soft bar than a hard as rock bar!
If your filling is not yet set and the crust is starting to brown, then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and put a baking sheet under the pie dish. This will protect the crust from the heat.
If your filling looks completely dried out, then you over baked it.
Because I use a glass dish and not a non stick baking pan, my crust would stick. I saw this at Sprinkle Bakes and I now use this method- line your dish with parchment paper. This will allow you to lift the entire thing out once it’s done and it won’t stick to the bottom.
So try the recipe and think about engaging yourself in a task that gives the mind some rest!
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