Fall baking is my absolute favorite! The smells…the cold weather…the yummy flavors…it's the best!
And if you have been reading my posts lately, you may have seen in my apple crisp recipe how I don't love pies because of the crust. The truth is, that wasn't always the case.
My grandma spent years teaching me how to make her simple, delicious pie crusts. She patiently walked me through the process every year when it was time to make apple or pumpkin pies.
I got pretty close in my efforts to make pie crusts as she did.
Unfortunately, my skills and knowledge never solidified because she suffered from Alzheimer's Disease and started telling me all kinds of crazy variations from her recipe.
Oh how I wish I had been forward-thinking enough to write down her recipe and method!
Now I'm embarrassed to admit that I let that knowledge slip. Life got busy, I got lazy. I didn't keep practicing. Instead, I started using store bought crusts. And my love for pies went out the door…
But I, like so many people, love pumpkin dishes. And pumpkin pie is right up there at the top.
Love pumpkin dishes too?
Easy Recipe for Canned Pumpkin
Next is the matter of the pumpkin filling. While I used to cut up the pumpkin and cook it down to use in pies, pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie bars really are perfect recipes for canned pumpkin.
Unfortunately (in my opinion), so many store-bought pumpkin pies contain pumpkin pie spice, which has 5 ingredients: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice.
Maybe it's the influence of my grandma's simple farm-life background, but for me, that's too many spices in a pumpkin pie. It just ends up tasting too busy for me, and I don't enjoy the pie.
My grandma only used cinnamon and nutmeg to spice her pumpkin pies, and that's the way I like it. Simple. Delicious!
So, I had to figure out a Plan B for pumpkin pies since pumpkin pies aren't as good with store-bought crusts, and I don't like any store-bought pies that I have tasted.
Problem Solved: Pumpkin Squares
Enter pumpkin pie bars! I had this idea many years ago to make bars instead of pumpkin pie.
I tried several recipes over the years and then played around with ingredients until I landed upon the winning combination.
Bonus: because you bake in a 9×13 pan, it is perfect for a family gathering or a potluck! Cut them into squares for an ultra easy-to-serve dessert! Holiday dinner, perhaps?
I know many people are attached to their traditions for many different reasons. Pumpkin pie is definitely a tradition to hold dear. However, if you make these as well, you may find that your crowd loves both!
My family has certainly adopted a love for these pumpkin pie bars (and trust me…they were pumpkin pie devotees!).
I personally love the ease of these bars, and I still get that pumpkin pie fix from the pumpkin filling layer. Plus, I get the crumble top that I love (it is optional if you don't like that) and the slightly crunchy bottom crust layer.
Yum! I hope you love them as much as we do!