Pecan pie bars are a favorite Thanksgiving dessert in our house. I chose this pumpkin pie version to serve along with a tried and true brown-butter and vanilla bean apple pie for our intimate Thanksgiving feast. (Yes, we had leftover dessert for at least a week!)
This recipe was adapted from a “staff favorite” Food and Wine recipe, contributed by Sarah Jordan. I appreciated the press-in crust and we all absolutely loved the consistency of the bars. Pie bars have the bonus of easier portion control too- which is crucial on Thanksgiving. 😉 Great.
Yield: Makes on 9×13-inch pie
For the Press-In-Crust:
- 2 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour sifted with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter with the sugars at medium speed for 2 minutes.
- With the mixer at low speed, beat in the sifted flour-and-salt mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 350°, preferably on convection.
- Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on the 2 long sides. (I used a pyrex pan.)
- Transfer the dough to the pan and press it over the bottom and 1 1/4 inches up the side all around. (You can cover the dough with plastic wrap and press with the bottom of a measuring cup.) Be sure the corners are not too thick.
- Refrigerate until firm.
- Bake the crust for 25 to 35 minutes, until golden brown; halfway through baking, use the back of a spoon to smooth the sides and corners of the crust.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the crust cool before filling.
For the Filling:
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom, optional (I omitted it)
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 large eggs
- One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
- One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- Baked Press-In Crust (above)
- crème fraîche or whipped cream, for serving, optional
- Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
- In a small bowl, whisk the sugars with the spices and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs.
- Whisk in the sugar mixture, then whisk in the pumpkin puree and the evaporated milk until smooth.
- Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 10 minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350° and bake for about 25 minutes longer, until the filling is fully set.
- Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
- Cut into bars and serve with whipped cream or crème fraîche, as desired.
Note: Bars should be stored in the refrigerator. Serve chilled or at room temperature. (I prepared them a day prior to serving.)