A Sophisticated Alternative to Pecan Pie
Excerpted from Salty Sweets, by Christie Matheson. (c) 2009, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press.
- Servings: makes 24 squares.
This is one of the 75 recipes featured in Salty Sweets: Delectable Desserts and Tempting Treats with a Kiss of Salt, by Christie Matheson.
The recipe calls for both fine sea salt and a French hand-harvested salt called fleur de sel, or "flower of salt." These and other types of salts are explained in the Salt Primer included in Ms. Matheson's book. Fleur de sel is available at most specialty food markets. It's more costly than most other salts, but is usually used in small amounts, as in this recipe, and having a small bag in your pantry can add exceptional flavor to your cooking.
As for why she loves these pecan squares, Ms. Matheson writes, "A whole slice of pecan pie always feels like a ittle too much to me, but somehow these squares, which have that yummy, nutty, buttery pecan pie flavor (and of which I always end up eating way more than a pie slice's worth), seems just right."
- 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
- 4 cups pecans, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- To make the crust, sift the confectioners' sugar, flour, and fine sea salt together in a medium-size bowl.
- Beat the butter until creamy in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the flour-sugar mixture to the butter and mix on low speed until fine crumbs form.
- Gather the dough into a ball and press it into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, distributing it as evenly as possible. Bake for about 15 minutes, until it starts to look dry but not browned. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
- To make the topping, mix the melted butter, honey, cream, brown sugar, and fleur de sel together in a medium-size bowl. Stir in the pecans and then spread the topping over the crust. Bake for about 25 more minutes, until set and golden brown.
- Let cool completely and then cut into squares. The squares will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.