I spent almost my whole life thinking I didn't like pecan pie. I love pies filled with fruit, or chocolate cream, or pumpkin, but nuts in gooey caramel? Didn't sound like my thing. But when I finally tasted pecan pie for the first time last year, I was hooked. I learned the error of my ways. The deep, smooth sugary filling combined with the pecans was irresistible.
|Don't bother decorating the top with nuts. They fell off after baking, even though I pushed them into the filling.|
To avoid the spillage and mess that people described, I used two taller baking pans instead -- 10½ by 7 by 2 inches, and 12¾ by 8 by 3 inches. The baking times stay about the same. My sheet pans did not have the required 1 inch in height, and I correctly estimated that 1 inch could not possibly hold all the bubbling filling. I also lined the pans with foil and then parchment.
|Clockwise from top left: Woman in a hoopskirt outside Fort Warren on Georges Island; girls manning the fort walls; a powder magazine; these hobbit hole-looking structures opened out to a view of the ocean on the other side.|
By Barefoot Contessa
1¼ pounds (5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs
¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
4½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup good honey
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp grated orange zest
¼ cup heavy cream
2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°.
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.