I know that posting a thanksgiving-y recipe on the very same day isn’t nice. But I’ve got a good excuse: I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving! Because in Mexico we have turkey for Christmas, as is proper. With pears and potatoes and lasagna. As is right. And of course by that I mean as we’ve always done chez moi. : )
But back to the thanksgiving issue. I actually made this for a themed dinner, and since it’s pumpkin season regardless of the holiday and the puree was homemade, I was left with about 1 lt. extra of the stuff. And the stuff is so yummy! You can make all sorts of pumpkin dishes, apparently something I’d never been aware of because we just don’t have that tradition. But now I am, and the inevitable pinterest search for pumpkin recipes did not disappoint. (Which probably means that I will disappoint and keep posting pumpkin truffles and pumpkin bread and pumpkin soup way past the appropriate date. I’m not even sorry). So, to begin with! Pumpkin cream cheese pie bars. This recipe, which I found originally at Taste of Home, is actually a bit complicated. But definitely worth it…pumpkin meringue over creamy cheesecake? Definitely worth it. And besides, the layers are so decorative you might want to make them just because of that. And you can cut them into decent-sized bars, or just make one large cheesecake! Sounds good right? Read more for the recipe.
Pumpkin cream cheese pie bars
Adapted from the recipe at Taste of home
1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1-1/3 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
430 grs pumpkin puree (or 15 oz can solid-pack pumpkin)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup whipping cream2 tbsp icing sugar
1/3 tsp vanilla
orange sparkles or nutmeg
In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and 1/3 cup sugar; stir in butter. Press into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and 2/3 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in 2 eggs just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, separate remaining eggs and set whites aside. In a large saucepan, combine the yolks, pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, salt and cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat for 10-12 minutes or until mixture is thickened and reaches 160°. Remove from the heat.In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir into pumpkin mixture; set aside.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of your mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat until frothy (about 2 min). In a small saucepan, place the remaining sugar and just enough water to cover it (the less the better). Cook on med-low until it reaches 236 or the petit boule stage. (Read more about cooking sugar right here) Go back to your egg whites; start whisking on high speed and slowly (very slowly, in a trickle) pour in the syrup you just made. Keep whisking until stiff peaks form.
Whisk a large dollop of the meringue into the pumpkin mixture (this will make folding in the rest way easier). Fold in the rest until evenly distributed. Pour over cream cheese layer and refrigerate until set.
Cut the cream cheese into squares or leave whole.
Whip the cream by whisking on high speed until thick, add the icing sugar and vanilla and keep beating until peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe on to your preference. Add sprinkles or freshly ground nutmeg.
NOTE: keep this refrigerated at all times or the meringue won’t look as glossy and stiff.