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Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars. Instead of making a traditional pie crust, bake your pumpkin pie on top of a layer of tender shortbread.

Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars

Servings 9 (3" x 3") squares, or 36 (1 1/2") squares

Ingredients

For the shortbread crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the filling:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg I use freshly grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk (I used 2%)
  • Whipped cream for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9" square pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Make the crust. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and cornstarch. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing until combined. Add the flour mixture in and mix until well combined. Scrape bowl and beaters as necessary and don't over beat. You don't want to whip too much air into the mixture as you might for a cake. Just mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Press dough evenly into the bottom of prepared pan. It will be sticky and soft. I lay a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and use that to press so that it doesn't stick to my hands.
  6. Prick dough all over with a fork and bake for 13-15 min or until set and there's just a hint of light golden edge forming.
  7. Remove from oven and prick dough again to release air if any bubbles have formed. Set aside to cool completely.
  8. Make the filling. In a large bowl beat the eggs and brown sugar. Using a spoon, stir in the pumpkin and spices, then gradually stir in the milk until all is combined. We're not using a whisk because we don't want to create any bubbles that will collect on top of the pie when it's baked.

  9. Pour into cooled crust and bake for 45-50 minutes or just until filling looks set in the middle. If you over bake it, the filling may crack.
  10. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and top with fresh whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe Notes

*I tested this using 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup milk instead of the 12 ounces of evaporated milk. It was also really good, but I found that the evaporated milk offered a creamier texture.

*The spice ratios I used provides a nicely spiced pie. You could also use 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice instead of the individual spices or change the ratios of the spices I gave to suit your desired taste.

*I tested the crust with 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup of sugar. I thought the one cup was too sweet so I cut it in half. It now tastes like a classic, not too sweet shortbread and balances nicely with the filling. If you want a sweeter base, try 3/4 cup. At 1 cup, the crust was crispier and we thought, too sweet.

*I cut the bars two ways, in 3" squares and in 1 1/2" squares. The 1 1/2" squares are a perfect (2 bite) sized portion if you're serving a lot of different desserts.

*After the bars completely cool, store lightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can then serve cold, room temperature or warm up quickly in the microwave. For the cleanest cuts, I cut the bars when they are cold.

*Need more servings? Make a batch and a half and bake it in a 13 X 9" pan, if you want a similar thickness of crust and filling. You can double it but your crust and filling will be thicker than what the recipe shows and your bake times could be longer. Just keep an eye on the oven when you're nearing the end of recommended bake time for the smaller pan and decide when it's done by how it looks instead of worrying about a specific time. If you have a 10X15" jelly roll pan, that should work for doubling without too much difference in thickness. Just make sure your pan is deep enough to hold all of the filling!

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