Friday, November 18, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Pecan Squares

As we head full speed ahead into what will surely be a season of busy kitchens bustling with inspired cooking and baking of all kinds, this recipe is blissfully simple. Not quite a full-blown pie, these squares are a super delicious pastry for those of us who can’t bear to wait for that dose of traditional Thanksgiving dessert coming in a few short days. So this is a sort of sneak peek of pumpkin enjoyment right now. I think you’ll be thrilled you didn’t have to wait.

To be sure, all the familiar elements are here - lots of spice and a lovely crust. But there’s also the additional benefit of chewy oat goodness added to a pastry dough that is pressed into the pan rather than rolled. The orange zest in the pecan topping adds a little burst of fresh citrus flavor. The pecan topping really adds a lot of flavor without being overly sweet.

Easy to throw together in the midst of a full schedule, this test run for the holidays is an irresistible treat of creamy soft pumpkin custard and buttery brown sugar caramelized pecans, the best of both holiday pie worlds. You will likely be extremely tempted to eat more than your fair share. Let's get this party started!

Bench notes:
- Yes, you can smuggle some rum or brandy into the whipped cream. ‘Tis the season!
- You could make the pastry base in a mixer but it’s much more fun to just mix it with your hands.
- The pumpkin filling has to bake for 20 minutes to set up a bit before adding the pecan streusel to prevent it from sinking to the bottom.
- The squares will continue to firm up as they cool. Store leftovers in a covered contained in the refrigerator.
- This recipe makes 12 servings. It can be doubled and baked in a 9" x 13” pan. You won't be able to lift it out of the pan easily so just cut into squares and remove by sections.

Pumpkin Pie Pecan Squares
Makes 1 dozen squares


1/2 C flour
1/4 C oats
1/4 C brown sugar, packed
1/8 t salt
2 oz (4 T) butter

Pumpkin Filling

8 oz (1 C) canned pumpkin
1/2 C whole milk
1/4 C heavy cream
1 egg
1/4 C + 2 T sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/8 t cloves
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t vanilla

Pecan Streusel

1/4 C chopped toasted pecans
1/4 C brown sugar, packed
zest of half an orange
1 T butter

1/2 C heavy cream (optional)
1 1/2 t sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare an 8” square pan and line with parchment with a few inches overhang on two sides.

Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and work into the dry ingredients. The mixture should look like moist streusel. Press into the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 13 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Whisk together pumpkin filling ingredients and pour into the baked crust. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the pumpkin filling is baking, prepare the streusel by combining the pecans, brown sugar and orange zest. Cut the butter into small pieces and work it into the nut mixture until it's moist and crumbly.

When the pumpkin filling has baked for the initial 20 minutes, sprinkle the streusel evenly over the surface. Return to the oven and bake an additional 15 - 20 minutes until filling is set. Cool completely. Remove from pan and cut into 12 squares. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.


Heather said...

mmm...the best of both worlds!

anno said...

Oh man, my two favorite pies in one delectable combination. Wish I'd known about this years ago: could have saved time and calories.

Jo said...

This looks so good! I love how you incorporated both pumpkin and pecan.

Elly McCausland said...

I need this now. It looks like my absolute ideal dessert.

Luv'n Spoonfuls said...

This looks SOOOOOO delicious...I am a huge fan of pecans on my pumpkin pie, but these bars look even better. I am definitely making this next week! Thanks for another fabulous recipe and photos!

Nicole Gamble said...

Great recipe ! I made it! It`s delicious!!! Thanks for sharing!

pastry studio said...

Hello pumpkin pastry fans!

Nicole, so pleased you enjoyed them. It's hard not to like such classic ingredients assembled in this way. Enjoy!

The Food Hunter said...

Would love a piece of this right now.

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook said...

Looks fantastic!

Deb said...

What an exceptional recipe to celebrate the bounty of autumn. My family finds pumpkin pie boring, these bars are sure to delight them!

Luv'n Spoonfuls said...

Just checking back in to let you know that I made these for the holiday (substituted a more traditional crust for my rigid eaters ;-) and they were delicious! This is definitely a recipe I will make again. The sweet crunch of the topping contrasted beautifully with the smooth creaminess of the pumpkin. Delicious! Thank you for a new favorite recipe!

pastry studio said...

Hey, Luv'n Spoonfuls, thanks so much for the great feedback. My friends gobbled this down, too. I love how the topping and pumpkin co-exist in perfect Thanksgiving harmony!

Lexy said...

Would the same amount of ingredients fill a 9" Tart Pan with removable pleated edge? Would you bake for the same amount of time? Looks to be a winning recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Lexy said...

Could I use the same recipe to fill a 9" removable bottom Tart Pan?
So want to make this. Thanks.

pastry studio said...

Hi, Lexy, and thanks for your question. This is my favorite pumpkin dessert, ever. Hmmm, let me think about this for a minute......

Believe it or not, an 8" square pan has a couple more cups of volume 9" tart pan. So I'm wondering if this would work since anyway it's not a very pastry. And you'd also want to probably run the crust up the sides of the tart pan for easy removal. I think, essentially, it should work.... You may have a bit extra filling but I would try it! If you do, please let me know how it works out.

Lexy said...

I apologize for the two post question. I guess I didn't see it go through the first time.

Thanks for your very speedy appreciated. Actually I also have a 10 inch tart pan so I might just try it in that instead. I'll get back to you with the results. Again, thanks.

pastry studio said...

No problem!

I meant to say, it's not a very tall pastry.

Anonymous said...

I made this for thanksgiving and everyone raved about it! I even got a marriage proposal from one of the guests after he tried it! I am so thankful for your blog. you are really the best. i come back to your blog for special occasions, holidays, and just when i want to make something really spectacular. i hope you had a beautiful thanksgiving.

pastry studio said...

WHOA, WOW, not wait a minute: where's MY marriage proposal??!! Hahahahaha.

Thanks so much for your really wonderful feedback. It really fills my heart with glee and appreciation for all my incredible readers and pastry warriors. I also love this dessert and am so very pleased your guests loved it, too. It's simple but really, really hits the spot.

I hope you continue to find joy and l pleasure in these pages. And may you have the happiest of holidays and a blessed new year!!