When I start to see big displays of canned pumpkin adorning the endcaps of supermarket aisles, my heart skips a beat. While I really enjoy baking with pumpkin, it’s also a sign that my favorite time of year is here. Yes, I love the beautiful, changing leaves (they are a million different colors right now!), the crisp air, cozy sweatshirts, and nightly mugs of hot chocolate. However, those displays also signal that the holidays are right around the corner. I love all holidays, but Thanksgiving has always been extra special to me. While Christmas is usually dominated by shopping and gifts, Thanksgiving is allowed to bask in the glory of amazing food, great wine and a day spent just being with friends and family. I think that’s why pumpkin tugs at my heart strings so much.
Never one to settle for plain pumpkin pie, I love experimenting with different pumpkin recipes. This combination of an oatmeal crumb bar and pumpkin pie filling is so unique, I didn’t wait long to try it.
This is the first time I tried a combination of oats and pumpkin. What took me so long?! The flavors are such a natural complement to each other, and the texture contrast between the oat crumb and the silky smooth pumpkin pie filling is fantastic. The top is nice and crunchy, then you get to the creamy pie layer, followed up by the firm crust. I may or may not have eaten multiple pieces when I originally cut into them. Oops!
These bars have got me in the mood to plan a Thanksgiving menu! Do you have any pumpkin recipe requests for this fall?
Make the Oatmeal Crumb: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and adjust oven racks to center and upper-middle positions. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang over the sides; set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda and salt to combine. Add both the granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix until no clumps remain. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract, then stir with a fork until the mixture is evenly moistened. Press half of the mixture into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack for 15 minutes.
Make the Pumpkin Pie Filling: Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Finally, whisk in the pumpkin, and then the evaporated milk until the mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined.
When the crust has finished baking, pour the pumpkin pie filling over the bottom crust and return it to the center rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven, pinch the remaining oatmeal crumb mixture into small pieces and sprinkle over the top of the pumpkin pie filling. Return the pan to the oven, placing it on the upper-middle rack, and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until it is golden on top and the center only jiggles slightly.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, at least 1 to 2 hours. Then, transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.