Pumpkin Pie Bars with Maple Whipped Cream have all the deliciousness of pumpkin pie without the hassle of making a fancy pie crust!
It’s Pumpkin Season!
Now that September is here, I’m officially declaring it pumpkin season.
Even though I bake with pumpkin a LOT during the fall months, making countless batches of pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin you name it, it’s been years since I actually baked a pumpkin pie. You know, the original pumpkin treat which began all the pumpkin hype. The pumpkin pie is like the #PSL’s great-great grandma.
The thing is, pumpkin pie seems to have only one of the year when it seems appropriate, and that’s Thanksgiving. I wanted to make something that was pumpkin pie-like but a little more acceptable all fall long. That basically meant that I made pumpkin pie into a bar form.
Bars Vs. Pie
Not only do these Pumpkin Pie Bars with Maple Whipped Cream fit in any day of the pumpkin season, but they also seem less fancy and much easier than pie. To me, it’s a relief to not have to mess with making the pie crust edge pretty. I suppose my lack of trying isn’t doing anything to refine my pie crust skills, but if there’s a way to get around it, count me in. So, bars it is!
The crust of these Pumpkin Pie Bars with Maple Whipped Cream is an all butter pie crust, keeping them essentially identical to a traditional pumpkin pie. To jazz them up a bit, I made a lightly sweetened maple whipped cream topping. It complemented the pumpkin spices perfectly.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Vs. Individual Spices
Speaking of those pumpkin spices, I have to say that in the two times that I tested these Pumpkin Pie Bars with Maple Whipped Cream, the spices are what I played around with. The first time I used a jar of pumpkin pie spice, and I just was not fond of the flavor. It made me think that maybe that’s why some people don’t like pumpkin pie – it lacks flavor. The second time I used my own combination of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, and the results were much better.
The second time around I also set aside about ½ cup of the crust dough and added little leaf and pumpkin cutouts to the edges. It was a cute little touch that added a little fall flair, but definitely not necessary.
Now, let the pumpkin baking commence!
For the crust:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter cold and cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup ice cold water
For the pumpkin pie filling:
- 2 15 ounce cans pumpkin puree
- 2 12 ounce cans evaporated milk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ? teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the maple whipped cream:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- Extra ground cinnamon for garnish
- To make the crust:
- Place flour, butter sugar, and salt into a large food processor.
- Pulse until coarse crumbs form.
- Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until a ball of dough forms.
- Shape into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance.
- To make the pumpkin pie:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine all pie ingredients in a large bowl and beat until well combined with electric mixer.
- Press crust dough into the bottom of a 9x13” baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. *Note: I removed about ½ cup of the dough to roll out and make cut out leaves for decoration on top of the bars. I added them to the edge of the pan 30 minutes into the baking time, so they did not sink into the filling. You can skip this part and still use all of the dough for the crust, it will just be slightly thicker.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Pour pie mixture over baked crust.
- Bake another 50-60 minutes, until edges are set and filling is firm. Let cool completely and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To make maple whipped cream:
- Place heavy cream and maple syrup in a large bowl with electric mixer.
- Beat on high until medium peaks form.
- Dollop on top of pumpkin pie bar slices.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon for garnish, if desired.
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P.S. Love making bars? Check out these Double Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake Bars.