I feel like pecan pie gets left out a little bit.
How come everybody only brings it up during the holidays? I mean, I could eat pecan pie about any time to be frank, not just during Thanksgiving. I love the gooey inside verse the stark crunchy pecans on top and live for that combination any day.
Whether you are making it for a holiday, a gathering, or if you’re like me, because you want a weekend sweet treat for the family, this pecan pie bar recipe will do the trick for you.
The crust on this pecan pie bar is what really does it. It is everything you want in a crust: buttery, flaky, crumbly, flavorful, just pure goddess goodness to be honest.
Trust me when I say that this crust is not as intimidating as it looks, you CAN do it. The best part, the crust is super forgiving and you can crack it and move it all around in the tart pan, AS LONG as you keep it nice and COLD. Never ever ever do you want this dough, or really any pastry dough, to become room temperature. When that happens, disaster has now entered the kitchen. Always keep it cold by either throwing it in the freezer for a few minutes after working with it, soaking your hands in some ice water, or keeping your house at a cool temperature when you know you’ll be working with pastry dough.
Using a Pastry Cutter has really helped me achieve better results! Using your hands can very easily heat the butter up and a food processor can leave pieces of butter bigger than others. This leaves you with very inconsistent results. If you aren’t using a pastry cutter, make sure you are trying to keep hands very cold, or use the right size food processor for the amount of dough.
Now that I am done with my rant about giving yourself frost bite for the sake of dough, you need a tart pan. Specifically, a 9-inch tart pan preferably. If you do not have one, do not sweat it. You can squish the dough into a 8×8 pan, but sadly, you will have to leave the side crust behind. I do recommend investing in a tart pan, as these can be used endlessly for so many recipes, from breakfast quiche to a summer time fruit tart! I have this Tart Pan from amazon and it has worked well for the last three years for me!
My last tip is when you got to roll out the tart. Remove the tart from the fridge and let it relax at room temperature for just a few minutes. Lightly flour your working area and remove the tart from whatever you had it wrapped in. Begin rolling the tart out very slowly, giving it time to relax. The tart will crack all along the edges and maybe towards the middle. Just adjust the way you are rolling, and move the cracks back together. You are not going to be able to perfectly shape the tart and that is perfectly fine!
Add the tart dough to the pan and adjust where it is needed. I always add extra pieces of tart dough to the side crust and leave the bottom alone. Make sure you firmly press the dough around the edges and leave the dough almost sticking up a little higher than where the sides of pan end; this will make sure the tart still has high sides during the baking process when the dough begins to shrink. Toss the tart pan in the freezer for a few minutes just before you bake it so that butter in the dough is nice and cold.
The Filling and Everything Else
OK. Finally, we are done with the crust, and basically everything else! The pecan filling itself is so easy to whip together it doesn’t even need any discussion. My only suggestion is to make sure you are using some good pecans for this recipe! Maybe go to the bulk section of your grocery store and pick up some good looking pecans. If not, I recommend these Pecans off of amazon. Honestly, sometimes buying ingredients offline will end up saving you the hassle of the store, but also the hassle of spending more cash, which is always a good thing!
There is an addition of bourbon and maple syrup in the filling and you can easily choose one over the other, double the amount, or they can easily be omitted entirely. I think they both add a more complex flavor to the filling, and neither are completely overbearing.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and always remember that you are the chef once you start the recipe, so feel free to change anything to your own preferences and needs!
Reminders and Tips
- Keep tart dough cold at all times.
- You want to visually see the butter in the dough.
- Don’t worry about rolling the tart shell out perfectly, it is easily molded and a very forgiving dough as long as it is cold.
- Keep a watchful eye on tart when you blind bake it, tarts have a tendency to rise and can crack even if you poke holes and use weights.
- Use good quality pecans so that you get the best flavor and crunch.
- Make sure that your filling has time to rest at least five minutes before going in the tart shell to bake.
- When checking if done, you do not want your filling to move like a wave in the center, you want it to barley jiggle just in the center.
Pecan Pie Bars with Sweet Tart Crust
- 1 1/2 cup (180 g) All-purpose Flour
- 1/4 cup (50 g) Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup (113 g) Unsalted Butter
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 2 to 3 tbsp Ice Cold Water
- Dash of Nutmeg and Cinnamon Optional
Pecan Pie Filling
- 1/3 cup (71 g) Dark Brown Sugar
- 3 tbsp All-purpose Flour
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 3/4 cup (234 g) Dark Corn Syrup
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 1 cup (113 g) Chopped and Full Pecans
- 1/4 cup (28 g) Finely Crushed Pecans
- 1 tbsp Burbon and Maple Syrup Optional
- Combine the flour, sugar, salt, crushed pecans, and spices, if using.
- Cut cold butter into separate tablespoons and add to mixture. Use a pastry cutter, food processor, or cold hands to cut butter into mixture. You want visible pea-sized pieces of butter, it should not be melting or room temperature. Make a well in center of mixture.
- Beat egg yolk in cold water and add to center of well. Mix together until it comes together roughly.
- Form dough in flat disk and wrap it up. Put dough in fridge for 15 minutes or until it is very cold. Preheat oven to 425°F during this time.
- Roll out tart and then press dough into 9-inch tart pan, poke holes all over with fork, and use pie weights if you have them.
- Return the tart to fridge or freezer and let it become cold again right before putting it in the oven to reset it.
- Bake for 15 to 25 minutes or until it just starts to brown.
Pecan Pie Filling
- Turn oven down to 375°F.
- Whisk together dark corn syrup, dark brown sugar, and salt until combined.
- Whisk in eggs, vanilla, and Bourbon and maple syrup, if using.
- Mix in flour and chopped and crushed pecans until just combined, let rest for a few minutes.
- Pour filling into tart shell and return to oven. You may need to add foil to the sides of tart if they get too brown.
- Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until center barley jiggles.
- Let cool completely before removing from tart pan and slicing. Enjoy at room temperature or refrigerate before cutting into bars.
If you make this recipe, I would be thrilled to see your own creation on Instagram by using the hashtag #apinchofpractical. Comment below so that I can see and hear all about your experiences with the recipe!
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