Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 9 (135g) full-sheet graham crackers (or 1 and 1/4 cups crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup (62g) chopped pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin (about 2 cups total; 450g)*
  • 1 cup (200g) light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • optional for topping: whipped cream and chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
  2. Make the crust: Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and pecans together into crumbs. A few larger pieces of nuts is OK! Add the sugar and melted butter and pulse until combined. Press tightly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9x13 baking pan. Pre-bake crust for 8 minutes. Leave oven on.
  3. Make the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or simply using a whisk) beat/whisk all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. Pour into warm crust.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly. Remove from the oven, set on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely. Once cool, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. Remove chilled bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares. Bars are best served chilled.
  5. Top with whipped cream and chopped pecans, if desired. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Make ahead tip: Cooled pumpkin pie bars can be frozen up to 3 months. The filling can be made, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before pouring into crust and baking. Bars pie freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

*I prefer canned pumpkin, not fresh pumpkin puree in this recipe. I like to use Libby's brand. Fresh will work in a pinch, but they're tastier and more firm with canned. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.

*Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon each: ground allspice and ground ginger AND 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves.

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