desserts, fall desserts, pecan pie, pecan pie bars, thanksgiving

Peacan Pie Bars

From the “I’ll just leave this right here” files, I’m sharing with the best dessert of the week.  For the past few days I’ve been baking every night for my coworkers (apple cider spiced cupcakes, ‘crunch’ bars from Dorie Greenspan), trying to keep them fat and happy during the onslaught of madness from the holidays. Well, if this doesn’t send them into a blissful, sugary state…then I just don’t what will.
My recommendation for you:
Don’t worry about the floralness of the honey you use. I used some from Sparky’s of Maine and it was pretty intense but that calmed down after they baked.
Serve these with some vanilla ice cream or gelato.
And a cup of coffee from Bard.
I’m having one right now with my coffee. It’s perfect.

Pecan Pie Bars
(from Just a Taste)

For crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt

For topping:
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9×13-inch pan with foil, leaving enough for a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

First make the crust by creaming together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add in the flour and salt and mix until crumbly.

Press the crust into the foil-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling by combining the butter, brown sugar, honey and heavy cream in a saucepan and stirring it over medium heat. Simmer the mixture for 1 minute, then stir in the chopped pecans.

Remove the crust from the oven and immediately pour the pecan filling over the hot crust spreading it to cover the entire surface.

Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Remove the pan and allow the bars to fully cool in the pan.

Use the foil overhang to lift out the bars and transfer them to a cutting board. Peel off the foil, slice into bars and serve.

attempts at sauces, fall desserts, frying goodness, pumpkin

Pumpkin Apple Fritters with Creme Anglaise

Pumpkin Fritters**

17.6 oz pumpkin – weigh after it has been peeled (even butternut will do)
4.2oz flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
vegetable oil for frying
cinnamon sugar for dusting

Cut the pumpkin into chunks and cook in water until very soft. Drain and allow to cool. Place all the ingredients, including the pumpkin into a blender and blend.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and when the oil is hot, drop spoonfuls of the batter into the oil.

When golden brown on both sides, take out of the oil and drain. Dust with cinnamon sugar and serve with the Creme Anglaise.

**I added cubed ginger gold and honey crisp apples to the batter–about 4 small, total–and I believe that’s where I made the mistake. They apples were cut too big for the fritter to maintain a true shape and were just sloppy looking and not cohesive.

For the crème anglaise:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1-3/4 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla—or for chocolate crème anglaise, 3 ounces of semisweet chocolate melted in the milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract stirred into the finished sauce


  1. In a 3-quart mixing bowl, gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and forms a ribbon.
  2. Beat in the starch.
  3. While beating the yolk mixture, very gradually pour on the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets, so that the yolks are slowly warmed.
  4. Pour the mixture into a heavy-bottomed enameled or stainless steal saucepan and set over moderate heat, stirring slowly and continuously with a wooden spatula or spoon. Reach all over the bottom and sides of the pan, until the sauce thickens just enough to coat the spoon with a light, creamy layer.
  5. Do not let the custard come anywhere near a simmer. It should be a maximum of 170 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  6. Then beat the sauce off heat for a minute or two to cool it. Strain it through a fine sieve, and beat in the vanilla.
  7. To serve hot: Keep the sauce over warm but not hot water. If you wish, beat in 1 to 2 tablespoon of unsalted butter just before serving.
  8. To serve cold: Set the saucepan in a pan of cold water, and stir frequently until cool. Then cover and chill.

Not a 100% win for me. My sister made the same thing last fall when I was home and I couldn’t stop eating them. This time, they were a bit of a fail with the creme anglaise a bit too thin and the fritters overly greasy and freakish looking from the adding of the apples. I’ll probably make another attempt at these soon, though they’ll definitely be sans apples.