Southern Peach Pecan Bars
I was invited to a blind wine tasting party at my friends Jessica and Richard’s home. Initially the wine was the focus of the evening, until Jess and Richard told everyone that they were flying in bbq from their favorite place in Texas. So much for the wine!
We, still, had a blast covering the bottles with white plastic garbage bags and blind tasting all of the wines. But I was a very happy lady once dinner began. The meat was out of this world and the veggies, cornbread and two different dishes of mac and cheese were perfectly suited to complement the main course.
I had posted a question on Desserts Required’s Facebook page asking for Southern dessert suggestions. Banana Pudding and a variety of peach desserts were, overwhelmingly, suggested. Such great ideas!
I decided to bring Banana Pudding and Southern Peach Pecan Bars on that particular evening. The pudding will be blogged about in the near future but today I had to share the bars.
I was inspired by my Apricot Walnut Bars but rather than using store bought jam, I made my own topping. I began by cooking the peaches on the stove, all 4½ pounds. I thought it was going to be a real pain to peel the peaches but they separated from their skin without a problem. I love the hint of cinnamon that comes through.
When I made the crust, I included pecans, because pecans are so Southern and they pair, beautifully, with peaches.
I knew Southern Peach Pecan Bars were a hit because people were taking the leftovers home with them. My friend Barb suggested using frozen peaches instead of fresh and swore that I would not notice the difference. Whereas I have not, yet, tried this, Barb is a fabulous baker so I am sure she is spot-on.
Let me know whether you use fresh or frozen peaches. The one thing I know is that your batch will disappear as quickly as mine.
|Southern Peach Pecan Bars|| |
- Peach layer
- 4½ pounds peaches
- juice of ½ lemon
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Crust and topping
- 2-1/3 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- 2 cups pecans halves, divided
- 24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into tablespoons
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- confectioners sugar
- For the peach layer
- Peel the peaches. Remove the pits and cut into medium size pieces. Place in a saucepan. Add the lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon.
- Cover the pan and cook over medium high heat until the peaches are softened. Uncover and continue to cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, stirring periodically. Cool completely.
- For the crust and topping
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray the bottom of a 13" x 9½" baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the flour, sugar and salt into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process to blend. Add the coconut and 1 cup of pecans. Process until smooth. Add the butter and vanilla. Pulse on/off just until the dough holds together. Don't worry if all of the butter is not completely blended.
- Use the palm of your hand to press the dough onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Spread the peaches over the dough.
- Break the remaining cup of pecans into pieces and spread them evenly over the top. Gently press the pecans into the peaches.
- Bake at 350° F for 55 minutes, rotating the pan front to back halfway through.
- Cool completely and refrigerate until cold.
- Lift the parchment paper out of the pan and transfer it to a cutting board. Cut into bars.
- Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve.