Today was the first cool (ok, cool-ish) day of the fall out in my neck of the woods and it seemed like the perfect excuse to bring out a fall favorite: pumpkin pie. I love the spicy sweet taste of pumpkin pie, and the smooth texture of a well-made one. Last year, I came up with a chocolate variation on my pumpkin pie that was a big hit with me and my family, so it was the first batch I decided to go with this fall.
I baked this pie up in bar form, rather than as a standard round pie. It still has the same rich, satisfying filling to it, but it is a bit easier to make and a lot easier to serve to a group. It is also very easy to transport, so you might want to consider it as an option for a holiday potluck. The crust is a shortbread type that is pressed into the pan and baked to set it up. This type of crust is very easy to put together and requires no special ingredients, so while a graham cracker crust can easily be adapted to work for this pumpkin pie format, there is no need to keep grahams on hand or to run to the store to pick them up before baking.
The crust worked out very well with the chocolate pumpkin filing and was a nice change from a graham cracker or pastry crust. It was light and very tender, a great contrast for the richer filling. It was also very sturdy, so the bars are easy to eat out of hand and do not require a knife and fork.
As always, I really like to use my Baker’s Edge pan to bake bars and bar cookies, so I used it for this batch of pumpkin pie bars. A 9×13-inch baking pan is a good substitution for this pan, although since the filling will be spread out a bit more in a rectangular pan, you will want to check it a few minutes early, just to be on the safe side.
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Bars
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Filling:
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 – 15-oz. can pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk (low fat is fine)
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9Ã—13-inch baking pan (or used the Bakerâ€™s Edge).
Begin by making the crust.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into prepared pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.
While the crust bakes, make the filling.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until slightly foamy, about 1 minute. Whisk in all the remaining ingredients, except the milk, and beat until smooth. Then whisk in the milk, trying to keep the bubbles in the mixture to a minimum.
When the crust is done, pull it out of the oven and carefully pour the pumpkin pie filling over the still-hot crust. Return the pan to the oven. Bake for an additional 24-28 minutes, until pumpkin filling is set.
Cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving.
Bars should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.
Makes 20 bars.
sharonOctober 3, 2008
Fall is my favorite season mainly because of all the good pumpkin flavored foods! i love the idea of baking these as a bar rather than a pie.
AndreaOctober 3, 2008
I love love love pumpkin desserts and it might be the biggest reason I look forward to fall. These look so good!
KierstenOctober 4, 2008
I love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate together. This recipe sounds really good!
StaceyOctober 4, 2008
Thanks for posting this, I can’t wait to have an excuse to make them!
CookiePieOctober 5, 2008
LOVE pumpkin pie, love chocolate! I’ll have to try these bars — they look amazing!!
PolliwoggyOctober 5, 2008
I just made these tonight. My apartment smells like the holiday season, and it’s making me feel warm and cozy. Plus they’re delicious. Thanks for sharing!
KatieOctober 7, 2008
These don’t look as dark and chocolatey as your chocolate pumpkin pie. Did you use a lighter cocoa powder? Or is it just the photograph?
NicoleOctober 7, 2008
Katie – It’s partially the photograph and the lighting, and it’s partially the fact that the pumpkin layer is a bit thinner in the bars than it is in the full-sized pumpkin pie. It’s possible that I used a different brand of cocoa powder, but I can’t honestly remember what I used for the pie in the picture.
The color will vary slightly for each person who bakes this, I suspect (brand of pumpkin could play a role, too, in terms of color), but the chocolaty flavor will be satisfying no matter what.
MelissaOctober 7, 2008
These looks really good. Do you have any ideas on what could be used instead of eggs? I usually use soy yogurt instead in other baking, but I have a feeling that may not work well here. Maybe just extra soft tofu. Hmm. I’ll have to try it.
NicoleOctober 7, 2008
Melissa – I would experiment with a combination of cornstarch and tofu or soy yogurt. The eggs are what hold the pumpkin filling together, like a firm pudding. A lot of vegan/eggless pudding recipes use cornstarch as a thickener and, while you would have to experiment with the amount, I think that might give you a better result than tofu alone (which would add thickness, but not act as a binder).
marlaNovember 11, 2008
hi! loved these!
where can i buy this pan?? i’ve looked online and none of them look as sturdy as yours…
SophiaNovember 25, 2008
mmm… these look really good. i will probably make these later today.
MavenAugust 15, 2010
Reposted to Halloween_Food
with link. They look incredible!
DanielleNovember 11, 2010
I was being a bit adventurous and tried using a pumpkin pie mix instead of the plain pumpkin puree. I think it was a mistake! My pie filling turned out really watery because there was already sugar added in the mix. Thickened it up with some flour and just stuck it in the oven. A bit scared, a bit excited. Hope it turned out okay! I think I’ll try this again and actually follow the recipe, cause this looks mighty tasty 😀