Pumpkin Squares, or Romanian Pumpkin Pie, Fall's finest and most beloved dessert. Melt-in-your-mouth homemade shortcrust pastry, delicious pumpkin filling with a touch of cinnamon, this is one recipe you gotta try for Thanksgiving. It's not quite the classic pumpkin pie you are used to, but it's absolutely delicious, and so easy to make.
My version of pumpkin bars or squares is a bit different from what people might picture when they want a pumpkin dessert. Let's say this is the Romanian-style pumpkin goodness, rather than the classic American pumpkin pie. Oh, but they are so delicious!
It's closer in texture to the classic apple pie, and it has pie crust at the bottom as well as at the top. Unlike the classic shortcrust pastry, this one uses oil, which means it needs no chilling before baking, and no blind baking either.
The crust and filling are baked at the same time, and the bars are out of the oven in 25 minutes. That really is super easy, and quick too.
Unlike the more traditional pumpkin pie which is made with canned pumpkin puree, these bars are best made with roasted pumpkin, as we need a denser, chunkier texture for the pumpkin, otherwise the bars will ned up being rather messy.
- medium pumpkin -3 cups pumpkin puree
- granulated sugar - add more sugar to taste for the filling
- plain flour - to make the shortcrust
- full-fat milk
- vegetable oil
- eggs + 1 for brushing the pies
- bicarbonate of soda
- a pinch of salt
Step-by-step photos and instructions
It's best to start with the filling first, so it can cool down before we make the pie crust. In the oven the pumpkin goes until the flesh it soft, the time depends entirely on how big it is. Once it's baked, scoop the flesh out, add the cinnamon and sugar and leave to cool down completely.
Note! It's it very important to leave the filling to cool down completely, otherwise the crust will end up all soggy. Another thing that helps is to sprinkle semolina over the filling, before the second crust comes on top. This absorbs moisture, and helps the crust bake beautifully.
- beat the eggs with the sugar until it the mixture doubles its volume and had a pale yellow colour
- add the milk and oil, and mix again
- in a bowl, sift the flour, add the bicarb of soda and a pinch of salt
- combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, and use your hands to knead gently until you get a dough that does not stick to the hands
You can add more flour if you feel that the dough is still sticky, although you should not need too much more.
- divide the dough into 2 balls, roll one dough into about ¼ cm thickness
- arrange it on a baking tray lined with a parchment paper, then spread the filling over and sprinkle some semolina on top
- roll the second ball of dough, and line it over the filling
- bake for 25 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) until golden
- sprinkle over icing sugar
A healthier pumpkin dessert
These delicious pumpkin pies do not require a ridiculous amount of sugar, we only use 2 tablespoons for the filling, and 4 for the crust. But given that we end up with 20 squares, I would say the amount per portion is not too bad at all.
Plus, the filling is made with naturally sweet roasted pumpkin puree. There are no nasty hidden ingredients here, and we know exactly that we use only natural ingredients.
There are 7g of sugar per square, which is way lower than any other store-bought treat has. So, I would definitely consider these pumpkin bars to be on the healthy side. Do give them a go!
Other pumpkin desserts
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For the filling
- 1 medium pumpkin (3 cups pumpkin puree)
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar ( add more sugar to taste)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
For the crust
- 425 g plain flour
- ⅔ cup full-fat milk
- 4 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs + 1 for brushing the pies
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tablespoon semolina
- a pinch of salt
- For the filling, cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, then arrange it on a roasting tray.
- Bake at 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit) until the flesh it soft.
- Scoop out the flesh from the pumpkin, add it to a bowl, then use a fork to mash it well.
- Mix in the sugar and cinnamon and allow to cool completely.
- To make the crust, beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture doubles its volume and has a pale yellow colour.
- Pour in the milk and oil, and mix again.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt, then add them to the wet ingredients.
- Use your hands to work the dough until soft and no longer sticky.
- Shape it into 2 balls, then roll the first one so that it can cover the bottom of a baking pan that had been oiled and floured ( I used a large rectangle baking tray).
- Sprinkle one teaspoon of semolina over the bottom dough sheet, then spread the filling evenly, sprinkle one more teaspoon of semolina over it, and top it with the second dough sheet.
- Beat the egg and brush it over the pie.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) until golden, depending on your oven it might take about 25 minutes, but do check the oven regularly.
- Allow it to cool and sprinkle powdered sugar over it.
- Click on the US Customary link to see the measurements displayed in cups and ounces.
- The servings can be adjusted by clicking the number next to Servings.