Sweet Pumpkin

I usually make so many things that involve pumpkin that by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I have no desire for pumpkin pie at all.  This year between moving and unpacking I didn’t really get a chance to make much with pumpkin, so I was actually looking forward to having a pumpkin dessert at Thanksgiving.  I already had an apple pie in the freezer, a sweet potato pie on the menu, and a guest volunteering to bring a chocolate pecan pie so I didn’t think another pie was the best idea.  For whatever reason, no other pumpkin desserts were really appealing to me until I stumbled on these honey pumpkin bars.

Strangely enough, they’re a lot like pumpkin pie but without making a pie crust.  The oatmeal crust for these is great and really holds the creamy pumpkin custard together.  I was worried that all of the honey in these was going to make for an overly sweet dessert, but that wasn’t the case at all.  Originally, the recipe called for these to be garnished with candy pumpkins, and I skipped that because even though these aren’t overly sweet, they are sweet enough without the candy on top.  I do recommend topping these with some fresh whipped cream as suggested in the original- whipped cream makes everything better.

Honey Pumpkin Dessert Squares

Ingredients:

for the crust:

  • 1 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 C. quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 C. butter, softened
  • 1/4 C. packed brown sugar

for the filling:

  • 2 cans (15 oz each) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C. half-and-half
  • 1 C. honey
  • 3/4 C. packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix all crust ingredients with fork until crumbly.

Press the mixture into the bottom of  an ungreased 13×9-inch pan.

Bake 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking,  beat all filling ingredients with wire whisk or electric mixer on medium speed until blended.

Pour the pumpkin mixture over the partially baked crust.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until set and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely, about 40 minutes, before cutting.

Optional: top with whipped cream and/or a candy pumpkin.

Makes 16 servings.

Source: adapted from Pillsbury

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