Pumpkin pie bars feature a rich, dense, and creamy filling flavored with earthy and warming spices. The slight spice from cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger give this traditional holiday dessert all the zing it needs to command second servings.
What Goes Into Pumpkin Pie Bars?
Amazingly, for all the flavor you get from pumpkin pie, it takes only 8 ingredients. This classic holiday dessert is incredibly simple to make from scratch. So simple in fact, that once you make it, you’ll stop running by the bakery to grab one and start making your own.
All it takes is whisking together all the ingredients – the canned pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt – and then pouring them into an unbaked pie crust. Oh yes, and a pinch of patience as you wait for it to bake while the intoxicating aroma envelops you of course!
If you’ve ever wondered why we eat pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and during the winter holiday season, that’s because the early settlers in Plymouth were making a rudimentary version of our beloved pie. It began in 1621 though back then, they didn’t make it with a crust. It was filled in stewed pumpkins or pumpkin shells and then baked in a bed of hot ashes.
The kind of filling in pumpkin pie is classified as a custard. That means it tastes best served cold after being refrigerated or at room temperature shortly after baking.
Because of its rich, custardy filling, pumpkin pie is an outstanding pie to freeze. Once it cools completely, you can wrap it up in several layers. Make sure no air can get in, then you’re good to go for keeping it in the freezer for up to one month.
If you overbaked your pumpkin pie or cooled it too quickly, the eggs will tighten up and form cracks, tarnishing the surface of your pie. Follow the recipe and pull the pie out of the oven at the end of the baking time. The residual heat will continue cooking the filling even when you remove it and thus, you’ll avoid the cracks.
Homemade pumpkin pie bars need to go in the fridge because it lacks those preservatives that the store-bought ones have. While it’s fine to leave it out on the dessert table until everyone is full, be sure you wrap it up and put it in the fridge afterward.
- Set a timer so you don’t forget to reduce the oven temperature after 15 minutes. Failing to do so could result in a cracked surface.
- Use plain canned pumpkin for this recipe. Flavored pumpkin pie filling has unwanted additives and flavors that will compromise the taste of this recipe.
- Pumpkin pie bars are amazing with whipped cream on top, though feel free to get creative with chocolate sauce or candied pecans too!
Here’s looking at you, pumpkin!
Pumpkin Pie Bars
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 9 inch unbaked pie crust
- 1 15 oz. can pumpkin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Whisk together condensed milk, 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 large eggs, and spices in a large bowl until smooth and pour into a crust.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 425 F for around 15 minutes.
- Decrease the temperature of the oven to 350 F and bake until a knife inserted comes out clean from the center, for a further 35 to 40 minutes.
- Once done, allow to cool and garnish as needed.
- Leftovers can be stored in a refrigerator.