Pumpkin Pie Crumb Squares
November 19, 2012 § 10 Comments
This is not a place to be shy, so I’m going to just come out and tell you right now that it has been months since I began my search for new-age Thanksgiving recipes to bring to our turkey day feast. The turn of September is enough to declare my favorite American holiday as “just around the corner.”
It’s not that I don’t appreciate a good old fashioned lattice-top apple pie, and I certainly won’t deny grandma’s stuffing. But there are so many new and creative ways to taste the authentic flavors of fall and Thanksgiving, that are dying for a chance next to the classics.
(And, might I add, it isn’t JUST that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – I’ll do you one more and tell you that I like it better than my birthday.)
I’ve been in the [pumpkin. maple.] cheesecake mood lately, but cheesecake recipes worry me around Thanksgiving time. They’re totally high maintenance. They require a 2 day process; they can’t be too jiggly, and they can’t be too dense. There will surely be some anxiety around baking the right version just in time for the big day. But oh, how I love the first bite of cheesecake..
Let me remind you though. There are football games to watch, family members to catch up with, and little rug rats running around your feet. There is absolutely no time to mess around with mediocre ingredients and finicky cup measurements. Leave those temperature-specific, pan-dependent, and asking- for-malfunction-recipes behind for a snowy day.
So when you find a recipe that victory dances its way out of the oven and onto your plate, you’ve got to be vocal. This recipe is not as rich as cheesecake, but the cream cheese lends a thickening & full taste to the pumpkin purée.
Required tools: sticky fingers, a handheld beater (or maybe some elbow grease), and an 8 x 8 pan. Other mandatory accomplices: your favorite Louis Armstrong tune playing in the background. Compliment with a side of Nat King Cole. Or Ray LaMontagne (if we’re rolling with the new-age theme). Truuuust me. Tis the season, my friends. Get yourself in the mood, find that canned pumpkin, and put it to work.
pumpkin pie crumb squares
original recipe by Joy The Baker
makes 9 squares
for the crust:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
for the filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon all-spice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
9 roasted pecan halves for topping
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch square pan with butter or shortening. Line with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and oats. Add cold butter and quickly but thoroughly break the butter up into the dry ingredients. When broken down, some butter pieces will be the size of small peas, others will be the size of oat flakes. Add the chopped pecans and toss to thoroughly combine.
Remove about 1 1/2 (to 2 cup) of the mixture from the bowl and place in a small bowl in the refrigerator. This will be our crumble topping.
Dump the remaining crust mixture into the prepared pan. Using your fingers, evenly press the crust into the bottom of the pans. Try to make sure that the crust has an even thickness across the pan. Place the pressed crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
To prepare the filling place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat cream cheese on medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth and pliable. This will help the cream cheese be less chunky when combined with the pumpkin.
Add pumpkin and sugar to the softened cream cheese and beat on medium speed. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, ensuring that the pumpkin and cream cheese are thoroughly combined. If the cream cheese looks chunky, switch to the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until most of the cream cheese lumps are incorporated.
On medium speed add the egg and egg white. Beat to combine (about 1 minute). Add the spices, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat to combine.
Remove the pressed crust and loose crumb from the refrigerator. Pour the creamy pumpkin filling over the pressed crust. Sprinkle generously with crumb topping and top with pecan halves. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center no longer jiggles. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing. Slice and serve these bars chilled. (they become more dense, the longer you leave them refrigerated.)
To store, wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.