Cranberry Meringue Bars

Schmitty 10-02-99 3:04 PM

Cranberry Meringue Bars

2 cups pecans, very finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 to 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup milk
4 egg yolks
1 jar (14 ounce) cranberry-orange relish

4 egg whites at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar

Topping: In 4 cup measure, combine pecans, sugar and cinnamon. Measure out 1 cup and set both portions aside.

Dough: In large bowl combine 4 cups flour, lemon peel and salt. With pastry blender or two knives used scissors fashion, cut in butter or margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add to dry ingredients with milk and egg yolks. Mix well and turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead 3 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Divide dough into thirds. Roll out one piece on lightly floured surface to a 16 x 11 inch rectangle. Fold in half and transfer to an ungreased 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 inch jelly roll pan; unfold and work up against sides of pan. Sprinkle evenly with larger portion of nuts.

Roll out second piece of dough large enough to cover nut layer, press down firmly. Spread with cranberry orange relish.

Roll out third piece of dough; cover cranberry layer and pinch edges to seal. Bake 35 minutes.

Meringue: Five minutes before baking time is up, beat egg whites in large mixer bowl until frothy. Gradually add sugar, beating just until firm peaks form. (Be careful not to overbeat.) Spread meringue over hot dough layer, sealing to edge of pan. Sprinkle with reserved nuts. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes more. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars while hot.

Makes 48.

To store, refrigerate in airtight container up to 2 weeks. Or wrap well, label and date, freeze up to 2 months.

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