Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vegan MoFo Day 24: Pecan Bars

Thanksgiving cooking is in full swing! For the past six hours I've been working my butt off in the kitchen prepping as much stuff as I can for tomorrow's feast. Tonight I accomplished the following:
Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce (recipe when I get a good picture!)
Chex Mix
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Apple Pie
Pecan Bars
Green bean casserole
Sweet potato and apple bake (minus the apples -- I'll put those on tomorrow before baking so they don't oxidize)

I'm pooped! But I only have four things (I think? Stuffing, gravy, veggies, heat the seitan... hmm.. I think that's it) that I have to get done before dinner tomorrow, so HOPEFULLY I can spend most of the day relaxing and enjoying the holiday. The stuffing is simple, gravy is pretty simple, seitan in oven is easy peasy, so the scalloped veggies will take the longest.

I tried that recipe from the food network for the pecan bars, and I tweaked it just a hair, and added an extremely valuable instruction to the cooking process. I think if I was going to make them again, I'd use a different crust. Something more like a shortbread like you'd find on the bottom of lemon bars (dammit, now I wish I had also made lemon bars... they sound really good right now!) cause this crust didn't set up as well as I would have liked, however, I think with my instructional tweaking it would resolve at least some of this problem. I also only made half a recipe which yielded 16 bars, which is more than enough considering how rich they are and the fact that we have two pies as well for only 6 people.

The original recipe is here. My changes are as follows:

Crust --
3/4 cup margarine
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp water

Filling --
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp corn syrup
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8X8 pan, line with parchment, grease the parchment.

2. In a food processor or with a mixer, blend the dry crust ingredients and the margarine together until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the vanilla and water and mix just until it begins to form a dough ball.

3. Dump the crust mixture into the prepared pan. With well floured hands, press the crust into the bottom of the pan.

4. Bake the crust for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

5. Meanwhile... cream the margarine and brown sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until everything is well combined.

6. Now here's the important part that I think was needed that the original recipe didn't mention -- ALLOW THE CRUST TO COOL for 15-20 minutes or until mostly solid before going anywhere NEAR it with the filling. I tried just dumping the filling on and spreading it out and it started to tear the crust and it was a mess. Don't do this.

7. Once the crust has cooled and set, GENTLY spread the filling over the crust, being sure to cover it edge to edge.

8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan.

Here's what I like about this recipe:
1. It tastes very much like bites of pecan pie, only without the pesky egg substituting and iffy thickeners.
2. It lends itself to having a small bite, which is good for a pie with the caloric hit that pecan packs.
3. It came together quickly and easily.


Stef said...

Interesting... My mom made bars similar to these last night (though not vegan), but she added chocolate chips to them. I think both versions will be super-tasty; and I agree, I think small bites are the way to go on these.

Ames said...

I just wanted to say that I made a very similar dessert this year for Thanksgiving based on this recipe: I had made it before when I was not totally veg and it got rave reviews so I wanted to try it again. I used Earth Balance instead of the butter, soy creamer instead of the cream and then an egg replacer mixture (EnRG/flax/almond milk). It came out well but I also thought the base needed some tweaking for next year. Then I saw this recipe (after Thanksgiving, of course): It is already vegan! So maybe the base is already perfected??? Just wanted to share!