Crimping ain't easy, so baking expert Angela Garbacz is here to offer you an alternative to Thanksgiving's necessary pumpkin pie. This recipe from her successful Lincoln, Nebraska, bakery, Goldenrod Pastries, requires less effort and is decidedly simpler to portion out. It also happens to be vegan, but don't let that scare you away: Cornstarch holds the custard together in place of eggs, and you won't miss the butter after you get a taste of the nutty (gluten-free!) crust. Granola topping adds an extra texture pop and does double duty as tomorrow's breakfast.
You're best making these bars the day before your holiday feast: giving the filling time to set, the flavors time to meld and you time to fret over the t(of)urkey.
Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bars
Recipe adapted from Angela Garbacz, Goldenrod Pastries, Lincoln, NE
Yield: 24 bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus cooling and chilling time
Cook Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus cooling and chilling time
For the Crust:
4½ cups almond flour
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for garnish
1¼ cups melted coconut oil
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
For the Filling:
Three 15-ounce cans pumpkin purée
1½ cups dark brown sugar
¾ cup almond or coconut milk
¾ cup maple syrup
¾ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons melted coconut oil
For the Granola:
3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans
¾ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, stir together all the crust ingredients with a rubber spatula until a dough forms. Press evenly into a sheet pan to cover the entire bottom. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together all the filling ingredients, except for the coconut oil, then stir in the coconut oil at the very end.
3. When the crust comes out of the oven, pour the filling on top, using an offset spatula to spread into an even layer. Return to the oven and bake until set and the edges begin to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
4. Meanwhile, make the granola: In a medium bowl, combine all the granola ingredients and toss to coat. Spread evenly on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden, 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
5. Cut the tray into 4 rows and 6 columns to make 24 bars. Top each bar with a mound of granola and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, then serve.