Honey Pecan Squares

Honey Pecan SquaresI made these Honey Pecan Squares because finally, The Great British Bake Off is back tonight! I thought I’d make them so I could have one on the couch with a cup of tea watching the bake off and smugly but naively feel like I’m as good as the people on the screen.

I should say that this recipe comes from Food52’s ‘Baking’ though I didn’t have the 9″ round baking tin that was required. I actually have 3 9″ cake tins but they’re loose-based and so would need a thicker batter so as not to not leak out. I eventually found a 9″ cake tin but it was square so I needed to work out how much more batter to make to fill the 9″ square tin to the same height as the 9″ round tin. Easy right? Wrong. It was so humbling to draw such a blank over something that I’m sure my 14 year old self would have been able to do it in his head. Eventually, I worked out that the squares area was 27% greater than the circles (feel free to let me know if that’s wrong) but because the circle recipe required 3 eggs, I decided to just add a third (or 33.33%) of all the ingredients. I know that’s 6.33% more batter than there should be and baking requires exact precision but that would have meant adding an extra 27% of the 3 separated eggs! To that nonsense I would say YOLO, am I right? My head was sore enough from thinking as it was.

Honey Pecan Squares

Ingredients

    For the Caramel:
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 90g honey
  • a generous pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 100 g pecans
  • For the Sponge:
  • 100g pecans
  • 180g plain flour
  • half a tsp of sea salt flakes
  • 1 generous tsp of baking powder
  • 150g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 90g honey
  • 160ml buttermilk

Instructions

    For the Caramel:
  1. Heat the butter, honey and salt in a small pan until the butter has melted and whisk to combine.
  2. Pour the mix into a 9" x 9" or 23cm x 23cm square baking tray lined with parchment and scatter over 100g of pecans. Set aside.
  3. For the Sponge:
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
  5. Blitz 100g of pecans in a food processor until they are a coarse rubbley powder.
  6. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the nuts and pulse to combine.
  7. In a freestanding mixer or with a wooden spoon, cream together the butter and sugar. Once they are nice and fluffy, add the yolks and beat until smooth and creamy.
  8. Add the vanilla extract, honey and buttermilk and beat again until combined. Then add the nut and flour mixture and beat until combined
  9. Now whisk the egg whites until they form stiff satiny peaks. If you have a second bowl for your mixer, use that. If not, transfer the flour and butter mixture into a large mixing bowl, five your mixer bowl a good scrub with a kitchen towel and proceed to whisk the eggs. Alternatively, just whip them up in another bowl with an egg beater or electric whisk.
  10. Once the whites are stiff, add them to the flour and butter mixture and gently fold in, keeping as much air inside as possible.
  11. Now pour the batter over the now cooled caramel in the cake tin. Spread it out evenly and transfer to the oven for 40 minutes.
  12. When it is taken out of the oven, allow it to cool slightly before you place an inverted serving platter or chopping board over the cake tin and carefully but quickly flip the tin upside-down. The cake will land on the platter or board, caramel-side up. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 9 squares.
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