As a self-proclaimed pie lover, but as someone who also hasn’t always loved pumpkin pie, I’m shocked that I’m here, making a pumpkin pie recipe. Yet, here we are. Transparently, I actually haven’t really liked pumpkin things, let alone pumpkin pie until the last couple of years. As I tried more pumpkin recipes and pumpkin flavored things, the most I came to love them. So fast forward a few years, and pumpkin pie has evolved into one of my favorite pies and now I’ve made my own rendition of it!
These bars have an easy four ingredient shortbread crust and a fairly simple pumpkin pie filling. Plus, there is no need to blind-bake the crust… aka everything – the crust and the filling all bake at once! Super easy, super delicious, and super pumpkin-y (obviously).
As an evolving pumpkin-fanatic, and someone who enjoys Fall more than all other seasons throughout the year, these pumpkin pie bars are a new favorite. And I hope you love them as much as I do! 🙂
Taste & Texture
Taste… obviously pumpkin. But texture…. like pumpkin pie, but thicker and just as silky! The size of the pan makes these pumpkin bars thick and delicious and SO perfect.
What size pan is used for these bars?
For this recipe, its important to use a 9×5 loaf pan! The baking time is specific to this size of pan. 🙂
Making the Shortbread Crust
We will begin this recipe by first making the shortbread crust for the bars. The crust will rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so we want to make that first and let it rest while we prepare the pumpkin pie filling!
We’ll start the shortbread by first creaming the butter & sugar. Add your room temperature butter to a large mixing bowl. Then, mix the butter either with an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer for about 3 – 4 minutes.
Then, we’ll add the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar! This is as simple as adding the flour and salt into the mixing bowl with butter and sugar and mixing with a rubber spatula to combine. Simply fold the butter mixture and flour together until everything is fully incorporated.
Rolling out the dough for the crust
The next step is to roll out the shortbread dough and refrigerate it so that the butter can re-solidify. To do this, grab a large piece of plastic wrap and lay it flat. Place the ball of dough onto the plastic wrap and loosely form it into rectangle with your hands – it doesn’t have to be perfect! Then, drape the other half of the plastic wrap loosely over the dough so that it is fully covering the dough. Grab a rolling pin (or a wine bottle if you don’t own a rolling pin…) and roll it into a rectangle, about 1 centimeter thick.
Then, after rolling out the dough, carefully pick it up in the plastic wrap with two hands and move it to the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Making the Pumpkin Pie Filling
While the shortbread crust is chilling in the fridge, we’ll make the pumpkin pie filling! Preparing the filling is probably the simplest part of this entire recipe. We will combine (with an electric mixer) all ingredients for the filling – pumpkin puree, eggs, condensed milk, heavy cream, brown sugar & pumpkin pie seasoning – and just pour them right over top the shortbread crust. Oh and did I mention no blind baking here?? A dream.
Cutting the Shortbread Crust to fit the pan
After a half hour of the dough resting in the fridge, remove it from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, remove the shortbread dough from the plastic wrap and grab your baking pan. Place it directly over the shortbread dough and with a knife, cut the outline of the baking pan into the shortbread crust.
Pouring the Pumpkin Pie filling over the crust
For this next step, we will add the mixed filling over the unbaked crust that’s been added to your pan. The mixture is thin, but obviously thickens up as it bakes into pumpkin pie!
The final step
And for this final step… we bake! We’ll start by baking first at 415 degrees and then turning the oven down to 350 degrees and baking for the remainder of the time at 350 degrees. Specifically, we’ll bake first at 415 for 10 minutes and then for another 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
Baking at the two different temperatures is important as it helps the bars bake more evenly throughout. I tested this recipe at just one temperature and then at the two different temperatures and can confirm it does make a huge difference!
Final note here… it is very important to let the pumpkin pie bars to cool completely before cutting into them! As the bars cool down, the pumpkin pie filling will set and this time is essential to the structure (aka keeping the bars intact!).