I finally feel that I can quiet myself long enough now to look around and enjoy what the Fall seasons in Pennsylvania has to offer. The past few years have been full with moving and welcoming Miss Ruby to our family. The changing leaves, the brisk breeze and pumpkins…so many pumpkins! I have not seen so many different colors and shapes before, and it’s inspiring. There I go filling up my arms with pie pumpkins, feeling championed by the idea that pumpkin puree is our next conquer in the kitchen. The Pumpkin Pie Pecan Squares use the purity of homemade pumpkin puree, and the results are confirmation that making your own is best.
From Prep to Completion 1hr 30min
Temperature Serve at room temperature or cold
Servings 9 (3x3in squares) or 18 bite size rectangles (cut each 3x3in square in half)
When It Is Done When the filling no longer jiggles when you give it a shake
- Oven Roasted Whole Chicken on a Bed of Leeks
- Vibrant Oven Roasted Beets and Carrots with Feta and Thyme
- Colorful Mixed Greens Salad with Versatile Rustic Dressing
Variations Switch out the pecans for walnuts or sweet potato for the pumpkin
A Little Bit About: Pumpkin Pie Pecan Squares
This dessert (or breakfast depending on who you are asking) has three distinct layers: short bread, toasted pecans and filling.
The short bread base is slightly sweet and not too hard that you can’t get your fork through it. It has a slight crumble and the brown sugar gives it a pretty hue that compliments its other layering counterparts. The toasted pecan layer is a must have but forgo, if you must. Toasting any nut increases its ‘nuttiness’ and transforms their flavor in depth. Pressing a layer of chopped pecans into the short bread once it has finished baking, is visually appetizing and provides the expected crunch that balances out the creaminess of the filling.
The filling I must divulge on a bit. Growing up I could not stand Pumpkin Pie but instead have always gravitated toward fruit pies. I tried Nathan’s Pumpkin Pie Pecan Squares very much expecting to not particularly love them but you know what? I did! And why? The homemade pumpkin puree! Canned anything is welcomely replaced with its pure counterpart and I could instantly tell the difference. Try it! Head over to our Pumpkin Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal recipe to learn how to make your own pumpkin puree, its so easy! You’ll be kicking yourself, as I was, for not making and using it sooner in my baking. It makes that big of a difference!
The closer we can get to how nature intended ingredients to taste, the better.
Pan Size vs. Cook Time For Pie Fillings
A quick note on pan size, it does make a difference. How? Cook time. Don’t have the 9×9 pan we are suggesting? Grab your 9×13 and know that because your filling will be thinner, that your cook time will be much less.
All in all try to stick to the suggested pan but if you can’t, keep an extra eye on how your sweets are baking. I grabbed this 9x9in square pan from Target to use for this recipe. It is always good to have a square pan…brownies next? Yes please!!
Making the Time
Plan it all and when it doesn’t turn out how you had expected then rejoice over that too! I love to plan, plan, plan. I get stuck in my ways of how something should look, sound, taste, feel and when anything jolts that expectation I get put off. This past week, Nathan and I had taken a good amount of time to plan our Thanksgiving post and needless to say it fell through…the lighting was off, a few recipes came out wacky and though I had spent a lot of mental time on ‘prepping’, plans changed. My bad mood emerged and with a quick reminder from Nathan, I remembered what it was really about, our family and the memories made. Take heart, you aren’t the only one, just remember your ‘why’ and let the rest fall where it shall.
Mise en Place:
Read the recipe first | Lay out your ingredients | Prepare your tools | Start cooking
Pumpkin Pie Pecan Squares
Pumpkin Pie Pecan Squares
Grab a pumpkin, some pecans and get going on these bars!
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups flour, scooped and leveled
1/2 tsp of salt
Pumpkin Pie Filling
3 large eggs, room temp
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground clove
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 rounded tsp of salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, soft peaks
- Preheat oven 350F. Put pecan on a baking sheet and toast for 6 minutes in the oven. You’ll smell their aroma, remove from oven and set aside to cool. Then give it a medium chop, not too big of pieces or too little.
- Short bread: Line a 9×9 inch square pan with aluminum foil that has been greased with butter (butter side up). Using a stand mixer, or hand mixer, cream butter and sugar for 2 minutes until smooth. Add flour and salt, mix for another 30 seconds. Your short bread should be crumbly and hold well when you try and squeeze some together.
- Press into square pan and compact, prick with a fork all over and bake for 15 minutes until edges are golden brown. After removing from oven, press in the chopped walnuts and set aside to cool for 15 min.
- Pie Filling: In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, condensed milk, pumpkin puree and vanilla bean paste until combined. Add in all spices and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Assembly: Pour filling over top. Tap the pan against counter to remove excess bubbles and bake for 50 min or until it no longer jiggles when given a shake. Set aside on a cooling rack and serve at room temperature or cold.
- While baking, whisk your heavy cream until soft peaks and place in fridge until ready to serve.
- Ready to serve: Cut pie into 3×3 inch squares or cut those 3×3 inch squares in half and make bite sized servings. Garnish with whipped cream and a candied pecan, sprinkle of cinnamon or cinnamon stick.
What to Consider
Make ahead: You can make this up to 2 days ahead of time and store it in the fridge. When you are ready to serve, either take it out an hour before serving to bring to room temperature or serve cold.
Quick note: I was nervous to place it into the fridge because of the dreaded condensation that is created and then drips onto the top of the pie. How to avoid this? Make sure your pie is at room temperature, place it into the fridge for 30 minutes and then take it out, clear wrap it and place it back in the fridge. The colder it is before wrapping = less condensation = happy baking!