These Pumpkin Pie Bars will be one of the easiest dishes to put together for your Thanksgiving feast. It features a creamy, rich, pumpkin pie filling, and a fun pumpkin seed shortbread crust; all the flavors of a classic Thanksgiving dessert.
Shortbread Pumpkin Pie Bars
Give me all the Pumpin Pie in the fall, from September to January...or, maybe even longer! It’s sweet and rich and definitely one of my favorite pies flavors. These Pumpkin Pie Bars pay homage to that classic, while also making it a bit easier to put together by turning them into a dessert bar instead.
If you are a bit nervous about making a pie (but hey, if that's you, keep reading on this site....lots of simple pie recipes to get you started!), or simply don't want to go through all the steps of making one, this is the perfect recipe.
Ingredients Needed for Pumpkin Pie
Here is an overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. The full recipe is listed below in greater detail.
- pumpkin puree
- pumpkin seeds
- all-purpose flour
- unsalted butter
- large eggs
- sugar: brown sugar + granulated sugar + powdered sugar
- spices: cinnamon + nutmeg + cloves
- salt (always salt in baked goods for balance)
- sour cream + milk
Here is a list of some of the primary tools I used in this recipe. You won't necessarily choose to use them all, but they are exactly what I used here. The links may contain affiliate links.
- food processor
- 8" baking dish
- parchment paper
- essentials: bowls, whisks, spatula
How to Make the Pumpkin Seed Shortbread Crust
The shortbread crust on these Pumpkin Pie Bars has a subtle yet earthy flavor, thanks to the inclusion of pumpkin seeds. The pumpkin seeds make this recipe unique, as it allows a little bit more of that pumpkin flavor to shine through. In addition to pumpkin seeds, this crust uses sour cream to bind it together, lending a slight tang to it that is very complimentary to the pumpkin filling.
Making the shortbread is pretty simple, as it's all done in the food processor. Here is an overview of the steps:
- Process the pumpkin seeds along with the other dry ingredients until they are a fine powder.
- Add in the butter and pulse until it's broken up into small pieces.
- Add in the sour cream and pulse together until the dough forms a cohesive ball.
Next, you just need to pat the shortbread into a prepared baking dish. I recommend lining your dish with a parchment paper sling, so you can easily remove the bars from the dish after it's baked. That will help for nice and neat slicing!
It needs to blind bake first, since pumpkin pie filling is baked at a relatively low temperature. This ensures the shortbread is properly cooked.
Please note that when you bake the shortbread for the specified amount of time in the recipe, it might feel like it hasn't fully cooked yet. That is just because the shortbread needs time to briefly cool. As it cools, it stiffens up and becomes more set.
Tips for Baking the Pumpkin Filling
Pumpkin pie filling is so easy to put together; simply whisk together in a bowl, and then let your oven do its job!
However, it can be a little tricky to know exactly when a custard filling is done. The goal is to cook it until it's just about set and avoid overcooking it, which will cause unsightly cracks on the top of that beautiful filling.
You'll know the filling is done by looking at the outer edges and seeing if it has begun to “soufflé”, or puff up. Look for the soufflé effect to appear about 2-2-½″ from the outer edge, and for the center of the filling to still be wobbly. The center should be softly set, but it shouldn’t be completely liquid in the middle. Once it has reached that point, you want to take the pie bars out of the oven, and place it (on a cooling rack, if possible) at room temperature to cool.
If all the filling is fully set or puffed up, then it has unfortunately been overcooked. However, don’t despair if this happens, it's still going to taste good, I promise.
Once it’s fully cool at room temperature, move it to the refrigerator to cool for at least 6 hours. During this period it will fully set up.
How to Serve Pumpkin Pie Bars
Once the bars are chilled, carefully lift them out of the baking dish using the parchment paper sling. Cut them into squares and serve with a simple whipped cream or maple whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
More Pumpkin Recipes:Print
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