Pecan Squares Americana

Maida instructs that before you bake, read the recipe entirely. Always. Her list of “before you bake” steps are sinking into my soul, becoming habit. This recipe was a long one with lots of details, so I read and re-read several times. I followed every step and all was going fine. The crust came together in a smooth, lovely way, I got it into the pan intricately like Maida directed. I watched it carefully as it baked to make sure it didn’t puff up or slide down the sides just like Maida directed. The last step was the pecan filling.

I have a calendar and I plan the recipes I’m going to make about three weeks in advance. I make a list of all the ingredients and buy in advance so I have them even if the plan has to change. These bars call for 20 ounces of pecans, that’s a lot. I bought four containers; I bought them two weeks before baking. My mind did not remember the containers were 6 ounces; I had purchased four to make sure I had enough. During my before baking ingredient readying, I got out all four containers.

I didn’t look at the ounces, I didn’t remember that I would have extra. I thought about checking but in my imperfect way poured them all into the pot of caramel-like syrup and then looked. How backwards is that? That’s certainly not following every detail. So my beautiful crust now would house 24 ounces of caramelized pecans instead of 20 ounces. I thought about taking some out but then I thought I would be short on caramel and so I just put them all into the shell. Overflowing pecan squares. This is what I have. But they cut fine and still tasted really amazing.

I’m trying to be the perfect student but I think the lesson is there is no such thing. I think I will still try. But I’m glad Maida’s recipes allow for imperfection, t

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