I wanted something made with pumpkin that wasn’t pie. My pie is the best, however, it’s not very portable. So after talking with the youngest daughter I set out to make a pumpkin bar that would be portable and good, and be a bit different than most bars.
What I knew I wanted. A walnut crust. A less jiggly pumpkin top. And another element to give it dimension. First up the walnut crust. That was simple.
In a Cuisinart, or using a mortar and pestle, take 1.5 cups of English walnuts. Yes, those are the ones readily available in the stores, and grown in California. Add to it 1 cup of granulated sugar and three tablespoons of pastry flour. Mix well, mashing those walnuts to a paste. Now add 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted. Mix this all together and spoon into a tart pan, or a loaf pans lined with parchment paper. Press firmly down walnut mixture to 1/4 inch thick crust. Set aside. Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
For the pumpkin filling. You need:
1 large egg, and 1 egg yolk beat together. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat together.
Add in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon of ginger. Mix again.
Add 1 small can of pure pumpkin (Libby’s, Libby’s Libby’s!). Mix well.
The last thing to add in is 1/3 can of sweetened condensed milk. Stir in and incorporate all ingredients. Pour over crust. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until done. Pumpkin should be firm to the touch.
Allow to cool completely. Placing in the fridge if you’re in a hurry.
While the bars are cooking. Grab a frying pan. On medium to high heat add 1 cup of walnuts, 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, a scant teaspoon of sea salt and a 1/2 cup of sugar. Heat until sugar is melted and caramelizes. Mix well to coat walnuts. Add in 1/4 cup of heavy cream and stir quickly. Keep stirring and mix heavy cream in and caramel should come together quickly. pour onto to parchment lined baking sheet to cool. (if you have leftovers, they can be stored in a plastic container in the fridge)
When bars are cooled completely. Cut into wedges, or squares.
Top with whipped cream and salted caramel walnuts. Serve. These can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days if possible as mine disappeared within an hour. By cutting them into squares they are the perfect portable snack.