Maple-Pecan Pie Squares


Autumn, Cookie, Desserts / Friday, November 6th, 2009

If you’ve never partied with a pecan tassie, it’s a miniature pecan tart with a cream cheese crust. A mainstay of Southern bridal and baby showers and Christmas buffets. Undeniably delicious. But I’ve always thought they were a little fussy and skimped on the pecan filling.

So, I like to think of these Maple-Pecan Pie Squares as tassies that took off their panties in the car after church and shoved them in the glove compartment.

They’re bold and unpretentious and a little unruly.

Oh, and they’re easy.

Don’t judge.

Whether you’re mixing by hand or using a food processor, you’ll find that the cookie-like crust comes together in a flash. Press it into the bottom of the pan, slide it into the oven, and let it bake for about 15 minutes.

Once the crust is ready, it takes just a few minutes to prep the filling: butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, heavy cream and two full cups of chopped pecans.

The only trick to this recipe is to line the square baking pan you’re using with aluminum foil, and butter or spray it within an inch of its life before you press in the crust. The foil will allow you eventually to lift the maple-pecan square out of the pan in one miraculous piece and divide it into squares. The filling is wonderfully gooey and sticky, but it slices like a dream.

These squares will last for up to three days in an airtight container, but making them last that long could be an exercise in self-restraint. That mix of cookie crust, sticky-buttery maple filling and crunchy pecans is potent. Intoxicating. Addictive.

Tassies gone wild.

Now, go clean out that glove compartment.

Maple-Pecan Pie Squares

Adapted from “Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking”

Makes 25 squares

    Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups (200 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
    Filling:

  • 6 tablespoons (90 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (105 grams) pure maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup (155 grams) firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups (8 ounces/250 grams) coarsely chopped pecans
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, letting the foil extend up the sides and over the edges. Butter the foil, or spray it with nonstick spray.
  2. For the Crust: In a food processor or by hand, combine the flour, brown sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse (or use a pastry blender) until the mixture forms pea-sized, coarse crumbs. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan, and bake until the edges are lightly browned and the top feels firm, 12-17 minutes. Set aside.
  3. For the Filling: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, maple syrup and brown sugar. Stir together until the butter melts and the brown sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and immediately stir in cream. Stir in pecans. Pour the hot filling over the partially baked crust, spreading it to the edges with an icing spatula or wooden spoon.
  4. Bake until the filling is set when you give the pan a gentle shake, 22-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until firm, about 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Using the ends of the foil liner, carefully lift the maple-pecan square in its liner from the baking pan. Run a knife around the edges of the square to loosen it from the foil. Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 25 small squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

28 thoughts on “Maple-Pecan Pie Squares

  1. I've never heard of a pecan tassie, since pecans aren't available here :( But if they were, I'm sure these are the first things that I'd be making with them! They look soo good! I love your description of them being the naughty girl :P

  2. Wondering if I can sub in corn syrup (gasp) for maple syrup as for some odd reason Mark does not care for the taste of maple. But he loves pecans and pecan pie. These look like just the sort of portable food that would do well here, thanks!

  3. I've made pecan tassies but these look so much better – and similar to something I used to make years ago from a Woman's Day magazine. Thanks for reminding me of their deliciousness.

  4. I made these today! Thanks for the recipe. Scrumptious and diet killing and worth it. I added some chocolate chips when it came out of the oven, even more sinful!

  5. Oh, boy! You're the second person to talk about panties left in the car. Yours atleast were with regards to food. The other one had to do with my 13 yr old twin boys and their borrowing the car one day. I'll take the tassie gone wild visual over the other.
    ~ingrid

  6. "So, I like to think of these Maple-Pecan Pie Squares as tassies that took off their panties in the car after church and shoved them in the glove compartment." – Hilarious! I've never tried tassies but maybe I'll try this one.

  7. You are the goddess of baking and a wordsmith to boot! Made yet another of your recipes Sunday (recent amazing mac and cheese) and it was so good that I nearly died. This is yet another to add to my pile of recipes to try.

    btw- I think the whole panties thing is perfect. Let's face it: decadent desserts are a lot like wild parties; even when you feel guilty, you smile thinking of all the delicious (yet oh-so-wrong) moments involved.

  8. These look fabulous. My family had somehow corrupted the name from "tassies" to "tossles" over the years of the recipe being passed down and it took me a long time to figure out what the correct name was. I really like the idea of using maple syrup.

  9. I made these for Thanksgiving, served with bourbon-spiked whipped cream, and they were a huge hit. You know something is good when a quiet hush descends on the table because people are too busy eating to talk!

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