You can have your apple, your cherry and your peach pies. Even lemon cream, banana cream and French silk pies.

All pale by comparison to pecan pie.

This is the Mount Rushmore of piedom — a glorious feast on a fork, an ooey-gooey American-born creation that sometimes can be so sweet it makes your teeth throb.

Although some cooks insist pecan pie is a French creation, food historians beg to differ. It’s a 19th century American pie related to the chess pie, a rich, sweet Southern pie. Pecan pie is made with eggs, sugar, Karo syrup, butter, vanilla extract and pecans in a traditional pie crust. Keep your variations — bourbon, rum or whisky, shredded coconut, chocolate, crumb or cookie crust, too.

Why mess with perfection?

Unless there’s no time to bake a pecan pie. No problem — whip up these delicious Pecan Dream Bars. It’s one of my favorite older recipes, found in a 1981 Arizona Daily Star cookbook, “Fruits of the Desert.” And whether you pronounce it: pee-KAHN, pick-KAHN, PEE-can or PEE-kahn — it’s as close to pie as you’re likely to get.

Pecan dream bars


½ cup brown sugar

½ cup butter

1 cup flour


1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F.

To make crust, mix butter and sugar and blend in flour. Press into a 12 by 8-inch, lightly greased pan. (I prefer using parchment paper, pressing it into the pan and letting the ends hang over the edge so can easily lift the finished bars out of the pan.) Extend crust slightly up sides. Bake for 12 minutes; cool slightly.

To make filling: Mix sugar, flour and baking powder. Add to eggs. Stir in vanilla and nuts. Pour into crust. Bake 20 minutes at 350 F. Cut into squares while still warm.

Source: Fruits of the Desert, 1981, Sandal English, the Arizona Daily Star.

Melody Parker loves to bake and is sharing dessets from her own recipe box.