Wendy’s Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Bars

Some of you may recognize this recipe from last year, but since it was popular and more unusual than a traditional pumpkin pie, I’ve included it here. Wendy Kersker, who has tested recipes for many of my books, sent me the recipe. She says that these delectable bars have replaced pumpkin pie at her holiday table.

Wendy’s Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Bars

1 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus extra for the baking pan, chilled and diced

One 1-pound can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 cup heavy cream, whipped for garnish, optional

1. For crust, arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit and butter the paper. Place flour, oats, and sugar in a food processor and pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse until a soft crumbly dough forms. Press evenly over bottom of baking pan. Bake until crust is golden and firm, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, but retain oven temperature.

2. For filling, in a large mixing bowl whisk together pumpkin puree, half and half, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves until all ingredients are blended well and mixture is smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until mixture is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven but retain oven temperature.

3. For topping, mix together pecans, sugar, and butter, then sprinkle over the pumpkin filling. Return to oven and bake until nuts are golden and crisp, 20 minutes or longer. Cool to room temperature. Cut into 12 large bars or 24 small squares. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes or longer before serving.)

4. If desired, serve with a scoop of whipped cream Yields 12 large bars or 24 small squares.

© Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2010

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