Pecan Squares Americana

READY IN: 2mins




  • Butter a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan and then line it with aluminum foil as follows: Turn the pan upside down.
  • Center a piece of foil 18 to 19 inches long (12 inches wide) shiny side down over the pan; check the long sides to be sure there is the sameamount of overhang on each side.
  • Fold down the sides and the corners to shape the foil.
  • Remove the foil, turn the pan right side up, place the shaped foil in the pan, and press it carefully into place. Do not butter the foil.
  • Place the prepared pan in the freezer (it is easier to spread this dough on a cold pan--. the coldness will make the dough cling to the pan).
  • In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is softened.
  • Add the sugar, and beat to mix well.
  • Beat in the egg, salt, and lemon rind.
  • Gradually add the flour and beat, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula, until the mixture holds together.
  • Now you are going to line the pan with the dough; it is important that you have enough dough on the sides of the pan to reach generously to the top of the pan.
  • It will work best and be easiest if you place the dough, one rounded teaspoonful at a time, around the sides of the pan, just pressing against the raised sides
  • (I don't actually use teaspoons for this. It is. easiest to lift a generous mound of the dough, hold it. in your left hand, and use the fingers of your right. hand to break off teaspoon-size pieces.) Place the pieces about 1/2 to 1 inch apart.
  • Then place the remaining dough the same way all over the rest of the bottom of the pan.
  • Flour your fingertips (if. necessary) and start to press the mounds of dough, working up on the sides first and then the bottom, until you have formed a smooth layer all over the sides and bottom.
  • There must not be any thin spots on the bottom or any low spots on the sides (it is best. if it comes slightly above the top). Take your time; it is important for this shell to be right. PATIENCE is the name of the game.
  • With a fork, carefully prick the bottom at about 1/2-inch intervals.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  • Adjust a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes. Watch it constantly.
  • If the dough on the sides starts to slip down a bit, reach into the oven and press it with your fingertips or the back of a spoon to put it back into place (although this does. not seem to happen since I stopped buttering the. foil).
  • If the dough starts to puff up, prick it gently with a cake tester to release trapped air and flatten the dough.
  • (There have been times when it insisted on. puffing up, and it was a question of which one of us. would win. I did. Here's how: Place one or more pot holders on the puffed-up part for a few minutes. The. puffed-up dough will get the message and will know y) After 20 minutes, the edges of the dough will be lightly colored; the bottom will be pale but dry.
  • Remove from the oven but do not turn off the heat.
  • Prepare the topping: In a heavy 3-quart saucepan over moderately high heat, cook the butter and honey, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted.
  • Add both sugars, stir to dissolve, bring to a boil, and let boil without stirring for exactly 2 minutes. Without waiting, remove from the heat, stir in the heavy cream and then the pecans
  • (Although the original recipe says to do the next step immediately,. I have recently decided it is better to wait a bit.). Wait 5 minutes.
  • Then, with a large slotted spoon, place most of the pecans evenly over the crust.
  • Then drizzle the remaining mixture over the pecans so it is distributed evenly-- watch the corners.
  • Use a fork or a spoon to move around any nuts that are piled too high and place them in any empty or thin spots. (It will look like there is not enough of the thin syrupy. mixture, but it is OK.) Bake at 375 degrees with the rack one-third up from the bottom for 25 minutes.
  • (Now you will see that. syrupy mixture has spread out and boiled up and filled. in any hollows.) Cool to room temperature-do not chill.
  • Cover with a large rack or a cookie sheet, hold them firmly together, turn the pan and rack or sheet over, and remove the pan and the foil.
  • If the bottom of the dough looks very buttery you may pat it with a paper towel if you wish, but it is not really necessary, the dough absorbs it as it stands.
  • Cover with a rack or sheet and turn over again, leaving the cake right side up.
  • It is easiest to cut the cake into neat pieces if it is chilled first; chill it briefly in the refrigertor. Then transfer it to a large cutting board. Use a ruler and toothpicks to mark the cake into quarters. Use a long and heavy, sharp knife, and cut straight down (not back and forth).
  • These are very rich, and although most people like them cut into 48 bars, I know several cateresses who make them almost as small as lump sugar. I have made them larger because I wrap them individually in clear cellophane and it is more fun to wrap cookies that are not too small.