October means Thanksgiving in Canada (November for our friends and family in the U.S.), and this year and our family will be gathering around the table to celebrate a year of many blessings.
One of my favourite Thanksgiving recipes is for Pumpkin Pie Dessert Bars. A friend made these many years ago for a Thanksgiving staff luncheon. They were so delicious we were all asking for the recipe! I have continued to make this recipe at Thanksgiving for my family as it can be easily adapted to a gluten free dairy free diet like mine and it still tastes yummy.
The friend who shared this recipe has since retired, yet every time I prepare this recipe I am reminded how thankful I am for her mentorship and the teaching she gave to so many little ones. This year I am going to send her a note thanking her for what she means to me and how her pumpkin pie dessert bars are still enjoyed so many years later.
Pumpkin Pie Dessert Bars
**Gluten Dairy free adaptations are in (brackets)
Preheat oven to 350F
13 x 9 inch un-greased cake pan
1 ½ c quick cooking rolled oats (GF oats)
1 ½ c packed brown sugar
1 ½ c all purpose flout (375 mL or approximately 1 ¼ c GF flour)
½ tsp salt
¾ c butter (Margarine)
3 c pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling
¾ c packed brown sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ tsp ground ginger
1 c evaporated milk (lactose free or non dairy milk replacement)
¾ c chopped pecans if desired (* I omit this for my family☺)
Base: In a bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, flour and salt. Using 2 knives, a pastry blender or your fingers, cut butter in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg and mix well. Set aside 1 ½ c of the mixture and and press remainder evenly in pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Place pan on a rack to cool slightly.
Filling: In a bowl, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until blended. Gradually stir in milk. Pour evenly over baked base.
In a small bowl, mix together reserved oat mixture and nuts. Sprinkle evenly over filling. Bake 30-35 minutes longer or until center is set. Place pan on a rack to cool completely then cut into bars and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.