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Pumpkin Pie Bars | Hungry for the Holidays

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Forget the pie, these pumpkin squares look lovely served with a dollop of whipped cream and are a pleasant balance of sweet and spice.

Cooking Recipe

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp kosher salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp ice water
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 15-ounce can (about 1 ½ cups) unseasoned pumpkin purée
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp maple syrup
¼ tsp orange zest
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Whipped cream, for serving

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and ½ teaspoon salt. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until there are no butter pieces larger than a pea.

2. Drizzle ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water over the mixture, and stir until a shaggy ball of dough forms.
Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a 9” x 9” x 2” baking pan (or equivalent) with parchment paper.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a square that is slightly larger than the pan. Drape the dough into the pan, pressing the corners to reinforce them and crimping the edges. Prick the base with a fork, then cover the dough with a piece of aluminum foil and fill with uncooked beans or pie weights.

5. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, remove the beans and foil, and bake it for another 5 minutes. Remove crust from the oven and poke any air bubbles with a fork.

6. Reduce oven temperature to 325ºF, and set crust aside to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and remaining ¾ teaspoon salt.

Note: Use a microplane to grate whole nutmeg. The flavor will be brighter and much fresher than that of pre-ground nutmeg that’s been sitting around in a jar.

7. Stir in pumpkin purée, eggs, egg yolk, heavy cream, maple syrup, orange zest, and vanilla. Pour filling into partially baked crust, and bake for 1 hour. Cut into 9 squares and serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pie Bars | Hungry for the Holidays
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