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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pecan Squares and Maida Heatter

When I was growing up, my mom fell in love with Maida Heatter. And, for good reason. This woman is one of the greatest pastry chefs anywhere, ever. Her recipes are infallible because they are incredibly detailed. Many of them are quite complicated (see my post on her Walnut Tart from Saint-Paul-de-Vence for a super-involved dessert!) but if you know what you are doing, you can pull them off and impress your friends, big time.

This cookie is the best - really the best! - pecan pie-like cookie there is.  My mom made them and people would swoon. They still swoon. I made them to send to my daughter in college. Won some points there with my daughter and her friends. My book club enjoyed some of them too. No one can resist them. It's not as gooey-sticky sweet as pecan pie. Loaded with pecans - over a pound! It has a lovely flavor of honey that makes them unique.
The whole sheet of pecans squares. Oh, doesn't that look delicious

Now, I would post the recipe here, but it's nearly 3 pages long. This is not a recipe for the casual baker. My advice, if you are a serious pastry baker, go get yourself Maida Heatter's New Book of Great Desserts (Knopf, 1982). You can find it used on-line. Get it. You won't be sorry.

Update: I found the recipe on line here. My only update to the original recipe would be to reduce the sugar in the cookie crust to ⅓ cup from ½ cup. The bars are plenty sweet so the crust doesn't have to be.