Sometime later, I came across THIS recipe -- again and again, all virtually identical, and most without giving a source. (Which you know frustrates me)! Eventually, I found a copy of the recipe which introduced it as a "hometown favorite of ours that is a signature dessert served at the Bean Palace Restaurant which is located inside the War Eagle Mill in Rogers, Arkansas. The mill was built in 1830 and is still a working water-powered grist mill."
Although I resisted making the recipe for sometime, I finally gave in this weekend - just before (re)starting my diet! The result was sweet and rich with a flavor and texture almost identical to pecan pie, EXCEPT that the filling, which was layered BETWEEN the filling, rather than beneath the filling, as it would be in a pie, was soft rather than crisp. The only changes I made in the recipe were to make the crust BEFORE preparing the filling, and to do so using my food processor and to roll the dough out between two sheets of waxed paper, which made it easier to transfer to the pan.
2 1/2 light corn syrup
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter melted
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
1 cup oat flour (1 cup of regular oatmeal processed to a fine powder. You can blend the oatmeal to a powder with your blender.)
1 cup unbleached flour (all-purpose flour will work)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Spray a 13X9 inch pan with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, mix together the syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs until very well combined.
Pour 1/3 of this filling into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Add pecans to the remaining filling mixture and set aside while preparing crust.
In medium sized bowl combine the two flours and salt.
Cut cold butter into small pieces and add to flours.
Combine butter into the flour using a fork or pastry cutter.
Add cold water, a little at a time, stirring until the dough forms into a ball that sticks together (I only used 1/4 cup of water but the original recipe called for 1/2 cup).
Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead gently about 4 or 5 times until it is no longer sticky.
Roll out dough into a 13 X 9 inch rectangle.
Carefully pick up the rolled dough and place in the pan on top of the filling mixture.
Pour the remaining filling mixture with the pecans onto the top of the dough.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until the center begins to set.
Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.