Cream the butter and sugar well in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or use a hand held mixer.
Blend in the vanilla, and then mix in the flour, just until it comes together to form a dough.
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.
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.
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.
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.
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/pecan-pie-shortbread/ November 16, 2013