I’m in love with this recipe — Part cookie, part pie, Pecan Pie Shortbread is a fun twist on tradition.  It looks just like a classic pie, but underneath the crunchy pecans there’s a thick layer of  buttery vanilla shortbread.  It’s got the same familiar flavors, the same sweet touch that we’re looking for after dinner, but in a lighter form.  It makes a beautiful presentation with very little effort.  Great taste + easy to make + beautiful to look at = a winner recipe in my book.


To make this I spread a batch of my basic vanilla shortbread dough into a tart pan, and then I stud the top with pecan halves.  A small bag of nut halves was enough to cover the surface and it’s fun to create the design.  I pressed them in gently with the palm of my hand so they stay put when cutting later.   The pecans crisp up in the oven and develop a rich toasted flavor.  If you ask me they’re so much better this way than all candied up in pie goop (sorry pecan pie lovers.)  The shortbread puffs up just slightly in the oven, and the whole thing is just delightful.

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Another great feature of this shortbread is its versatility.  It goes from coffee break to holiday dessert…you can slice it just like pie and eat it with a fork, or pick it up with your hands.   I’ve eaten it for breakfast twice already.


I think this would make a great gift, especially if you leave it whole and wrap it up with cellophane.

Pecan Pie Shortbread

Yield: serves 10

A wonderfully easy, light alternative to traditional pecan pie, Serve with coffee or tea for the perfect end to a meal, whether it's the holidays, or every day.


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups pecan halves


  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Cream the butter and sugar well in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or use a hand held mixer.
  3. Blend in the vanilla, and then mix in the flour, just until it comes together to form a dough.
  4. Turn the dough out into a nonstick 9" tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom for neat cutting. Use your hands to smooth out the dough into an even layer. Finish smoothing with an offset spatula or spreader. You are looking for a flat even surface.
  5. Arrange the pecan halves decoratively across the entire surface. When you are satisfied with your design, press them into the dough with gentle pressure from the palm of your hand. This will ensure they won't fall off when you cut the shortbread.
  6. Cover the top of the tart loosely with a square of foil to keep the pecans from browining too much, and bake for about 35-40 minutes.
  7. Cool on a rack and then remove from the pan and slice into thin wedges with a sharp knife.


The vanilla bean paste is really worth it, it gives a richer vanilla flavor, plus you get the beautiful vanilla bean seeds throughout. It can sometimes be hard to find, but you can always order it online.



My husband discovered that adding a drizzle of the caramel sauce I made for the “Frozen Turkey” cocktails yesterday is not a bad idea at all…


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36 Responses to Pecan Pie Shortbread

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  2. […] I prefer my pecan pie as pie or as miniature tarts but here’s an alternative. […]

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  4. AmBo says:

    only have an 11inch tart pan! How long to bake?

  5. Tony says:

    Thanks so much for this simple recipe. Have baked two tarts thus far in two weeks for my family.
    One of the easiest baking recipes I have ever tried. This is definitely a coffee time treasure for mom visits and in-laws

    • Sue says:

      Really glad to hear it, Tony. Now that you’ve mastered the recipe, you’ll probably think of great ways to vary it. Hope Mom likes it!

  6. […] SOURCE : http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/2013/11/pecan-pie-shortbread.html […]

  7. grace says:

    such precise pecan placement! i’m sure you picked out all the perfect halves. :)

  8. Did you write that you want to gift this to me? My mailing address coming right up! I love the pecans – so pretty!

  9. […] Pecan Pie Shortbread Let me live… […]

  10. Liz says:

    I made this… ooo – la -la!!

    I am another of the “a sliver of pecan pie is goo, but hurts my teeth” camp and so this appealed to me greatly. I was NOT disappointed.

    I don’t have a tart pan but I DO have a springform pan…not as pretty but it worked.

    YUM! and a definite repeat!!

    • Sue says:

      I’m glad you liked it, I’m already planning to make it again.

    • Liz says:

      I haven’t made a candied pecan version yet, but this morning I made a candied almond version. It is not near as pretty visually but it is VERY good!


      I didn’t measure extracts exactly but filled what looked like 1/4 of my tablespoon with almond extract and then filled the rest with vanilla extract.

      For the topping, I frothed the white of 1 XL farm fresh egg, 2 T of sugar and 1 cup of shaved almonds. Mix and spread over the shortbread before baking. Just like with the pecans, I covered with foil to keep the nuts from over-browing but took the foil off for the last 10 minutes.

      The pecan pie shortbread is the first time I’ve made shortbread – wow, what I’ve been missing. Next on my list is your varieties of wine crackers.

      • Sue says:

        Beautiful almond shortbread, Liz — I really like your idea of candying the nuts. Glad you liked the original recipe, and I KNOW you’ll like the wine crackers…I’m so glad to have made another shortbread convert!

  11. Part cookie and part pie? Oh goodness, cut me a piece of this please!

  12. Foodiewife says:

    Every decade or so, I eat a sliver of pecan pie. Then, I get a toothache. This is, indeed, a beautiful tart. How fun would this be to make in a tartlette pan? I’ll let you know! I think these would make great gifts!

  13. Monique says:

    So pretty..
    I prefer shortbread to pie any day!!

  14. Mary says:

    Easy, beautiful and delicious is absolutely a win, win, win and this is it!
    Mary x

  15. Dom says:

    Simply stunning and such a clever idea to make it look like a pecan pie. I love your shortbread method too. The whole dish is very chic!

  16. I love pecan pie and you really had me fooled with the traditional look of this, must give it a go though – good twist.

  17. Any self-respecting Southerner would cry at the thought of less than gooey pecan pie but what a great idea. Since I’m an Aussie/Yank born north of the Mason-Dixon line, I think I’ve found my new Thanksgiving pecan pie!

  18. Bill says:

    Wow! Such a great substitute for pecan pie. I grew up in Mississippi and pecan pie was a staple, but it’s SO sweet. I love shortbread dough and not so sugary sweet. This is an awesome recipe and your photos are beautiful!

  19. I love shortbread, what a fabulous recipe!

  20. Kate says:

    You made me laugh, twice!
    1. “candied up in pie goop (sorry pecan pie lovers)” – I am 100% behind you on that one!
    2. “I’ve eaten it for breakfast twice already”. – a woman after my own heart ; )
    Very simple yet so fancy.
    Great idea. A winner for sure.
    Thanks, Sue.

  21. What a beautiful dessert, definitely a good alternative! And I love the gift idea. I’d be thrilled to receive something like this!

  22. Yes, I love this way more than pecan pie- or I imagine I would!! No more goopy pecans!!

  23. Rose says:

    Beautiful! And I love the mix of shortbread and pecans. What an inspired way to combine them. I’ll be bookmarking this one!

  24. Emily says:

    This looks so good! Definitely going to try it soon.

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