When a person tells me that something is “as easy as pie” I’m usually going to be the first one to call their bluff. Making pie is not that easy. Do you add vodka or water to the crust? Do you blind bake it? Is the filling thickened with tapioca or cornstarch? Butter or shortening? Will the crust burn before the filling is ready? There is a lot that makes pie baking challenging, at least to me. But these Maple Pecan Pie Bars are the perfect dessert for the pie-challenged.
The bars are truly easy to make–and quick! The press-in crust turns out perfectly light and crisp, and maple syrup-y crunchy goodness poured over the top. I got wind of this recipe when I asked Alice Choi, the Hip Foodie Mom, for and easy, foolproof dessert for a Thanksgiving spread that would travel well. She suggested the Pecan Pie Bars from Go Bold with Butter.
The only suggestion she made was to add a bit of cold water to the crust. Somehow I heard “vodka” and added about 2 tbsp of cold vodka instead. I was also out of honey, so I substituted real maple syrup from our friends who own Patterson Sugar Bush. Yep, the best maple syrup around. The bars were SUPER easy, and transported very well. They are tasty, light and flaky and if you are a pecan pie person, these truly are delicious, and, well, easy as pie.
Maple Pecan Pie Bars
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp cold vodka (not in original recipe)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (substituted for honey)
- 1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
- Vanilla ice cream
- Caramel ice cream topping
To make crust, preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter 9×13-inch baking dish and line with parchment paper.
In large bowl combine flour, powdered sugar and salt. Add butter and use pastry blender to cut it into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into prepared baking dish and bake until edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
To make filling, whisk together melted butter, honey, brown sugar and heavy cream until mixture is smooth. Add pecans and stir until all pecans are coated. Spread on top of crust.
Bake bars for 20 minutes until filling is bubbling. Let cool completely. Cut into squares and top with ice cream and caramel sauce.