I have a sister-in-law who knows a great deal about etiquette. She’s the type of person that brings flowers when invited for dinner and knows exactly which utensil to use during a multi-course meal. Being the type of person who generally thinks my presence is gift enough and has to consult google the two times a year I decide to care which side of the plate forks go on, I’ve always admired this about her. Not surprisingly, she’s also an excellent hostess. Once Noel and I visited her in the Fall and even though she was living in a tiny house with roommates, she served us a festive squash soup on fall themed dinnerware and for dessert she served pumpkin pie squares made with Pecan Pumpkin Butter.
The bars were delicious, but since I’m too much of a cheapskate to buy Pecan Pumpkin Butter (let alone step into a Williams Sonoma without hyperventilating) I figured I would never eat them again. A few autumns ago I thought about those bars and wondered if someone more ambitious had come up with a homemade version and my google search affirmed that there are indeed people more culinarily motivated than I. After the pecan pumpkin butter was made I dug out the paper copy of the recipe that had miraculously survived all these years and got busy mixing. Maybe the flavor of the bars had grown as the memory diminished, but I was honestly disappointed. They were much too cakey for my liking, especially for a recipe with “pie” in the title, so back into the kitchen I went. After piecing together a few recipes, I bring you the new and improved pumpkin pecan bars. The buttery shortbread crust is the perfect base and only a thin layer of pumpkin and pecan is needed to balance out the dessert’s sweetness. This recipe is easily doubled and made in a 9″ X 13″ pan for those who are good hosts and hostesses and actually share.
Pumpkin Pecan Bars
- 12 TBSP butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 1 3/4 C flour
- 1 C pecan pumpkin butter
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 TBSP milk
- Preheat oven to 350 ºF
- Make the shortbread by creaming the butter and sugar. Once combined, add the vanilla and salt. Add the flour and mix until the dough just begins to come together. It will look crumbly.
- Reserve 3/4 C of the mixture and press the rest into an 8″ X 8″ pan.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is on the verge of browning.
- Meanwhile, mix together the pecan pumpkin butter, egg, and milk. Pour over the crust, spreading it to the edges. Sprinkle with reserved shortbread mixture.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. The crumbles on top should just be taking on a golden hue. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.