Creamy Pumpkin Orange Bars with Ginger-Orange Crust

The combination of orange and pumpkin is a new favorite in our home this season. I came across this recipe from a Natural Grocers “Delicious Living” magazine. It looked like an easy replacement for pumpkin pie, so I tried it and it’s absolutely delicious.

Bringing together the flavors of  pumpkin, orange and ginger is rich and warm but adds variety to a traditional holiday favorite…pumpkin pie.  Move over pumpkin pie this is our new holiday treat. Sooo yummy!

Creamy Pumpkin Bars with Ginger-Orange Crust

For the crust:

  • 1 box-7 ounces, Pamela’s Ginger Snaps Cookies
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons grape seed oil or oil of choice
  • 1/4 cup sucanat or turbinado or sugar of choice (if using dates, only add 1 tablespoon maple syrup, instead of sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 5 ounces medjool dates, pitted and chopped (about ¾ cup) (optional)

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line with unbleached parchment paper 8 x 8 square baking dish/pan, I used a 9 x 7; set aside.

In a food processor (I used a mini food processor) pulse ginger snaps until cookies resemble coarse sand, place in medium bowl. Then process pecans until finely chopped, add to bowl with cinnamon, oil, sugar and zest and stir together. Note: If using larger processor, you can process cookies, pecans, cinnamon and zest together. Then add dates and oil and process until mixture comes together. Mixture should come together when pressed between your fingers.

Transfer to prepared dish/pan and press evenly into bottom of dish/pan. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Keep oven on.

For the filling:

  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1(15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used lactose-free vanilla yogurt)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

 In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring ½ cup maple syrup to a boil. Reduce heat to keep syrup at a simmer for 5 minutes. Continue to reduce until about 6 tablespoons of thickened syrup remain.

Note: I did this but it would probably turn out the same if you skipped this step and just added the ½ cup maple syrup to recipe.

 While syrup is reducing, place pumpkin puree in a medium bowl. Let syrup cool and add to pumpkin, mix well. Stir in beaten eggs and yogurt, spice, vanilla and orange zest. Whisk until smooth.

Pour filling over crust and smooth top with a spatula. Bake until filling is set and slightly browning on top, 25 to 35 minutes. It took mine about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Then transfer to refrigerator to chill at least 2 hours before cutting. Garnish with more orange zest and chopped pecans.

 Enjoy!

 

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