Sunday, July 4, 2010

Guilt-Free Pecan Pie Squares

Pecan pie...sigh.

I make one (or two) for every holiday.  Well, I'm back on Weight Watchers (and I've lost 8 pounds in a month, thankyouverymuch).  My usual recipe just won't work for this Fourth of July.

Weight Watchers Annual Recipes for Success 2008 came to my rescue.  Their excellent recipe has all of the decadent ingredients--pecans, brown sugar, corn syrup and butter--but smaller amounts of them.  Plus, it's cut into 16 neat little squares for portion control.  (Each square=5 POINTS.)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
Cooking spray
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 large egg
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut butter into the mixture with a pastry blender until it achieves the texture of coarse meal.

Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.  ( I used a disposable aluminum pan for easy removal after baking.  I'll explain this at the end of the instructions.)  Pour the flour mixture into the pan and press firmly to make a bottom crust.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, mix together the brown sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan.  Heat until boiling over medium heat, stirring gently.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Whisk the eggs together in a small mixing bowl.  Pour one-fourth of the hot syrup into the eggs; whisk while pouring to prevent curdling the mixture.  Add this mixture back into the saucepan.  Stir in pecans and vanilla.  Pour the filling over the crust.

Continue baking for 30 minutes or until set.  Remove the pan from the oven.  Cool thoroughly on a wire cooling rack.  Cut around the sides of the pan to release the pie.

I snipped the corners of the pan with kitchen shears and flattened out the sides of the pan, thus removing the pie in one piece.  

Cut into 16 squares and enjoy!  
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