This time last year we were celebrating Thanksgiving in Montauk, Long Island. We much enjoyed the experience though found some of the dishes too sweet for our taste.
While we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in France, I thought this week’s recipe should at least acknowledge the holiday. This takes US Pecan pie and turns the uber-sweet treat into something more manageable using walnuts. In addition I’m sparing you the physical pain of dealing with pastry dough, because these bars pack the classic pie flavour sans all the chilling, rolling and blind-baking that accompanies a golden brown crust. Instead, the nutty topping nestles on a crumbly, buttery base.
These were cut into small portions – well they are quite rich – and shared with our neighbours, although I know my beloved would’ve preferred to keep them all for himself.
1.Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 (350ºF/320ºF fan) and line your baking 33 x 23 cm (9 x13 inch) pan with foil, leaving enough for an overhang on all sides.
2. First make the buttery shortbread-like base, by creaming together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add in the flour and salt and mix gently until crumbly.
3. Press the dough (I use a jam jar) evenly into the foil-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes until just golden brown and set.
4. While the base bakes, prepare the filling by combining the butter, sugar, honey and cream in a saucepan,stirring it over a medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the chopped nuts.
5. Remove the base from the oven and immediately pour the walnut filling over it, spreading evenly to cover the entire surface.
6. Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
7. Remove the pan and allow the bars to fully cool in the pan. Do not attempt to eat while hot, you will burn your mouth!
8. Use the foil overhang to lift out the bars and transfer them to a cutting board. Peel off the foil, slice into bars and serve. These need no adornment.
9. The bars will in theory keep for a few days but they usually disappear in nano seconds!
1. You can, of course, make these bars using pecans! Also, you can substitute soft brown sugar for raw cane sugar.
2. All ingredients should be at room temperature.
3. When I’m baking I always use a timer as it’s so easy to lose track of time. Once you’ve put the bars in the oven, put the timer on for a couple of minutes less than it should take them to cook and then check regularly.