Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pecan Squares

Paula Deen gets a lot of crap for making buttery, fat-laden desserts, but I really think people are overlooking Ina Garten. Granted, she does not make turducken or deep fry a pumpkin cake, but she still cooks with a LOT of butter and cream. Case in point: these amazingly delicious pecan squares. I've seen her make them on her show several times and they always look great and I took advantage of the holiday to make them because I knew I could never justify making them ever again.

Guess how much butter is in this. Before you even look at the recipe. Guess.

Two and a quarter pounds. Of butter. That's 9 sticks.

So obviously these were wonderfully delicious. For some sick reason, Ina Garten says you will get 20 squares out of this, which just adds to the unhealthiness. I easily got about 60 squares. I will show you.

pecan pan

So since I got so many, the portion size was smaller so that made us all feel better about consuming so much butter. Good god. Definitely delicious (and no we did not dip them in chocolate, that is just wrong) but I doubt I will ever make these again due to the horrific nutritional content.

pecans

Pecan Squares
Barefoot Contessa

Crust:
1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:
1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup good honey
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.

Yield: A huge pan, how many squares depends on how you cut them

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