Peach Pecan Squares

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After a verrrrrrrrrrrrrry long hiatus, I’m back! (at least for now)  This has been a busy year with a move to Ohio, starting a new fellowship, making new friends and additionally, I lost the really sunny patio space I was lucky to be able to use for my photography “studio” in Boston.  This week after a minor baking spree, I finally found motivation (and a small sunny corner in my apartment) to photograph food and blog again.

My baking spree was inspired by The Peach Truck.  As a New Englander, I had no idea about the amazing deliciousness that is The Peach Truck. This company was started by a husband and wife team out of Nashville, to spread the joys of Georgia peaches every summer.  They run a tour a few times each summer selling boxes of peaches in several southern and midwestern cities.  Luckily, one of the stops is Columbus!

I decided I HAD to buy a 25 pound box (this is the minimum that you can purchase) and go crazy making peach EVERYTHING!  And yes, I of course waited in an about 100 person long line for them (it moved quickly). So far I have made peach lambic sorbet (courtesy of Jeni’s Ice Cream), peach liqueur (still infusing), peach, tomato, and burrata salads, and these peach pecan squares which are a slight modification of these smitten kitchen apricot pistachio squares.  The brown color of the pecan aren’t quite as pretty as the green of the pistachios but they are delicious!  Next baking projects are a peach creme fraiche pie and ginger peach muffins.  And I’ll still have a lot more peaches to go….

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Peach Pecan Squares (from smitten kitchen apricot pistachio squares)

Crust
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine

Filling
3/4 cup (a scant 4 ounces or 110 grams) pecans
1 tablespoon (10 grams) all purpose flour
Few pinches of sea salt
6 tablespoons (75 grams) sugar
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
1 large egg
1 pound peaches

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet. (If you have an 8-inch square springform, you can skip this and just butter it well.)

Make the crust: Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks, and add it to the bowl, then run the machine until the mixture forms large clumps — that’s right, just keep running it; it might take 30 seconds to 1 minute for it to come together, but it will. Transfer the dough clumps to your prepared baking pan and press it evenly across the bottom and 1/4-inch up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes, until very pale golden. For the sake of speed, transfer to a cooling rack in your freezer for 10 to 15 minutes while you prepare the filing.

Make the filling: In your food processor bowl (which I never bother cleaning between these steps), grind your pecans, sugar, flour and salt together until the nuts are powdery. Cut the butter into chunks and add it to the machine. Run the machine until no buttery bits are visible. Add the egg, blending until just combined.

Spread filling over mostly cooled (warmth is okay but it’s hoped that the freezer will have firmed the base enough that you can spread something over it) crust. Cut peaches in half and remove pits. Cut them into strips, then slide each cut half onto a butter knife or offset spatula, tilt it so that it fans a little, and slide it onto your pecan filling decoratively.

Bake the bars for 60 minutes, or until they are golden and a toothpick inserted into the pistachio portion comes out batter-free. This might take up to 10 minutes longer depending on the juiciness of your apricots and the amount you were able to nestle in. Let cool completely in pan; you can hasten this along in the fridge.

Cut bars into squares — chilled bars will give you the cleanest cuts. Keep leftover bars chilled.

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