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Pumpkin Bars Recipe

 

Pumpkin Bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom and sides of a lightly buttered 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) baking pan with a 22 inch (56 cm) long piece of aluminum foil that has been buttered and floured.

Hazelnut Shortbread: Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until brown and fragrant and the skins are starting to peel. Remove from oven, place the hot hazelnuts in a clean dish towel, roll it up, and let the nuts 'steam' for about five minutes. Then briskly rub the nuts to remove most of their skins. Set aside to let the nuts cool and then coarsely chop.

Place the chopped hazelnuts, flour, and salt in the bowl of your food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process the mixture until the hazelnuts are finely ground.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2 - 3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat until a soft dough forms. Press the dough evenly and firmly onto the bottom of the foil-lined pan. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the shortbread is set and beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.

Pumpkin Filling: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the pumpkin, sugar, vanilla extract, spices, and salt and whisk to combine. Gradually stir in the cream. Pour the filling over the pre baked crust and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the filling is set in the center. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Run a knife around the inside edges of the pan. Lift the pumpkin bars from the pan by holding onto the edges of the aluminum foil. Place on a cutting board, peel back the aluminum foil, and cut into 32 bars. The bars can be covered and refrigerated up to three days. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Garnish: Whip 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream with the 1 tablespoons (15 grams) of white sugar until stiff peaks form. Place the whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with an open star tip and pipe a small rosette of cream on top of each pumpkin bar.

Makes 32 pumpkin bars.

Hazelnut Shortbread:

1/2 cup (50 grams) raw unpeeled hazelnuts

1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (110 grams) light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pumpkin Filling:

2 large eggs

1 - 15 ounce can (425 grams) pure pumpkin (2 cups)

3/4 cup (165 grams) light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) heavy cream