There are a whole lot of pumpkin recipes floating around these days but I’m really hoping you aren’t pumpkined out yet because these pumpkin cheesecake crumble bars are worth overdosing on pumpkin for, I promise.
A happy accident, I stumbled upon these bars while researching and tweaking recipes for a good, classic pumpkin cheesecake (coming soon!). In my effort not to consume 24 pumpkin cheesecakes through trial and error in less than two weeks, I settled on consuming these pumpkin cheesecake crumble bars instead. Justification is a wicked thing indeed.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little scared by the sour cream topping but I gratefully remembered the success of similar sour cream toppings in these dreamy orange cream bars and this over-the-top pomegranate cheesecake, so I forged onward and my fortitude was rewarded. The buttery, nutty crust is wonderfully complemented by the creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling and the light sour cream topping gives the perfect contrast to the richness of the dessert and the irresistible crumbly topping.
Apparently, these bars in one variation or another have been around since the ’70′s. Considering that’s the decade of my birth, I feel like it was meant to be that I found these, made them, and subsequently ate about five too many. Long live pumpkin season, baby!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, diced
- 1 cup pecan halves (about 4 ounces)
- 3/4 cup old-fashioned or quick rolled oats
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (light or regular), room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups canned pure pumpkin (a little less than a full 15-ounce can)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups sour cream
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9X13-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside. Blend the flour, brown sugar, salt, and butter by pulsing (in a blender or food processor) until the texture is like coarse meal. Add the pecans and pulse until the nuts are chipped. Add the oats, and again pulse until the mixture is moistened by not clumping. Press about 3 cups of the crumbs onto the bottom of the prepared 9X13-inch pan. Transfer the remaining crumbs to the lined baking sheet. Bake the crumbs until golden, stirring once, about 8-10 minutes. Cool crumbs. While they cool, bake the crust until golden, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside while preparing filling. Keep the oven turned on.
- For filling, blend all the ingredients in the same blender or food processor (no need to clean it in between) until smooth. Spread the filling over the warm crust and bake until it is slightly firm to the touch and the edges are just slightly risen, about 18-20 minutes. Keep that oven on!
- For the topping, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. Spread the topping evenly over the hot, baked filling. Bake until the topping sets and bubbles at the edges, about 5-7 minutes. Cool the bars completely in the pan set on a cooling rack. Once cooled, sprinkle the golden crumbs over the topping and gently press them into the topping. Cover the bars and chill until cold, about 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve.