I have to admit, I was extremely hesitant about this week’s chosen recipe for Project Pastry Queen (see everyone’s results delicious results here!). After all, I have my own secret special recipe for pecan pie and, since I was bringing this into the office for our September birthday celebration, if this recipe was a flop I did NOT want people thinking this was a version of my famous Thanksgiving pie.
But I saw that my fellow PPQ’ers loved the recipe and I decided to go for it and wouldn’t you know that this is a great recipe! I can definitely say this though: it is RICH. This recipe has a total of 7 cups of brown sugar in it–one cup in the crust and 6 cups in the filling. Definitely meant to be eaten in very small portions. I liked the addition of bourbon to it, though, and am even thinking about tweaking my own pie recipe just a touch to include it.
Just some notes about my little changes to Rebecca’s original recipe: I left out the coconut since the recipe depended on coconut for texture, not flavor, and I’ve never really loved shredded coconut’s texture. I substituted in an extra 3/4 cup of pecans to make up for any lack of texture in the filling. I also used strictly whole wheat flour in the crust here. Truth be told, it was because I was afraid I would run out of white all-purpose flour before finishing my various baking projects for the day and I have to say that I think the whole wheat flour really was a great add. It gave the crust a sweet nutty flavor that really complimented the filling instead of just being a sweet butter crust to support the filling on top of it.
This recipe makes a huge huge batch of bars, so just beware. Also, I didn’t have the 12×17 baking dish the recipe calls for so I used my largest and second largest glass baking pans and I actually still had extra crust left over.
Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen bars
Adapted from The Pastry Queen
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 4 cups whole wheat flour (white all-purpose flour can be used instead)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 large eggs
- 6 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 3/4 cups pecan halves
To Make Crust
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12×17″ glass baking pan (or whatever smaller glass pans you have on hand).
- Beat butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sugar to the butter and beat 1 minute, until fluffy.
- Add flour and salt, mix on low speed until evenly incorporated but still crumbly.
- Press the mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan(s). I made sure not to let the crust get over 1/4 of an inch, which is why I had leftover crust mixture even after 2 pans. I’d rather have more filling than crust in the end, wouldn’t you?
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes, until it has darkened to a deep golden brown.
- Leave the oven set on 350 degrees while you make the filling.
To Make Filling
- Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until blended.
- Stir in the bourbon, butter, vanilla, flour and salt until blended.
- Stir in pecan halves.
- Pour the filling over the crust(s).
- Bake until the center is set and doesn’t wobble anymore, about 25-30 minutes.
- Cool thoroughly, at least 30 minutes before cutting.
Between my two different pans, I baked one until it was fully set and one until it was mostly set but still a little jiggly when I took it out. I preferred the one that was baked longer, as the jiggly one was a bit more oozy and less solid than the ones pictured above. It’s up to you, though!