I have a pumpkin-everything obsession. When it hits October, I’m drinking pumpkin spiced lattes (homemade of course read here), pumpkin beer, eating pumpkin infused dishes and desserts. I wanted a pumpkin pie dessert without all the crap in it so I decided to make my pumpkin pie this year into bars (for portion control) also vegan and gluten free. I have to confess that the first batch was a bit of a failure not because it didn’t taste good but the proportion of the spices were off and the filling was too watery. I tweaked a few things here and there and I can proudly say that these pumpkin pie bars will not have you missing the excess sugar and butter. It was successfully taste-tested by my family who didn’t know it was vegan and gluten free. I’m sort of thinking that I might not go back to the traditional recipe laden with butter, cream, and sugar. After all, the holiday season is upon us and we don’t want to miss out on our favorite desserts.
for the crust:
- 2 cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons coconut nectar syrup (I found it at Whole Foods)
for the pumpkin filling:
- 1 (14-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup natural cane sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- pinch fine grain sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.
- Prepare the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the graham crumbs, melted coconut oil, and sweetener until the crumbs are thoroughly coated in the mixture. Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Make sure you press firmly so that the graham cracker mixture sticks together.
- Pre-bake the crust, uncovered, for 10 minutes at 350F.
- Prepare the filling: In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk together using a hand-held blender until completely smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. When the crust has come out of the oven, immediately pour this filling on top of the baked crust and smooth out as evenly as possible with a spatula.
- Bake, uncovered, for around 40-45 minutes at 350F or until the filling has darkened slightly. The filling will still be a little soft. Place on a cooling rack for about 60 minutes and then into the fridge to set overnight.
- Slice into squares and serve with a dusting of cinnamon and chopped walnuts.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for later.