Wendy’s Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Bars

Some of you may recognize this recipe from several years ago, but since it’s  more unusual than a traditional pumpkin pie, I’ve included it here. Wendy Kersher-Ninke, 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.  Several readers of my blog searching for this recipe have not been able to find it so I am publishing it again here!

Wendy’s Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Bars

1 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
10 tbsp (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled and diced, plus extra for the baking pan

One 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten to blend
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves

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

1.For crust, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven 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.

2.Place flour, oats, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse until a soft crumbly dough forms. Using your fingers, press dough into an even layer in the baking pan. Bake until crust is golden and firm, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, but retain oven temperature.

3.For filling, in a large mixing bowl whisk together pumpkin puree, cream, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves until all ingredients are blended and mixture is smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until mixture is set, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven but retain oven temperature.

4.For topping, using your fingers (as you would for a crumble), mix together pecans, sugar, and butter until mixture is crumbly. Then sprinkle it over the pumpkin filling. Return baking pan to oven, and bake until nuts are golden and crisp, 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours or better overnight. Remove pan from the refrigerator, and cut into 24 small squares. (Pumpkin bars can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate and bring to room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.)

5.If desired serve pumpkin pie bars garnished with a dollop of whipped cream.

© Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2010

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