Easy Romanian Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Bars, Fall’s finest and most beloved dessert. Melt-in-your-mouth homemade pastry, delicious pumpkin and sweet potato filing with a vanilla touch, this is one recipe you gotta try!
It’s pumpkin season, whoo-hoo! Grab one nice pumpkin before it ends up being carved for Halloween, they are not around for too long, unfortunately.
In the UK, at least, you can only find pumpkins in supermarkets in October. Halloween over, and they are all gone. Shame tough, there are so many yummy recipes you can make.
And, unlike in the USA, you won’t find canned pumpkin anywhere. I know, how bad is that! I do try to make the most of it once l find some nice pumpkins, not all are sweet and best for cooking. Otherwise, l guess the next best thing are sweet potatoes, which can be easily found all year around and they taste pretty similar, don’t you think so?
My version of pumpkin bars are a bit different from what people might picture when they want something sweet. Let’s say these are the Romanian-style pumpkin squares. Oh, but they are so delicious. If you live in the countryside, happy you!
Lots of pumpkins everywhere, and most people will bake these pretty yummy little things. And, if you like cinnamon too, then you hit the jackpot, this recipe is just fabulous. You can use canned pumpkin if you have, otherwise you can bake one like l did.
How to make the best pumpkin squares
If you choose to roast the pumpkin and sweet potatoes, it’s best to start with the filling first, so it can cool down before we make the pie crust. In the oven they go until the flesh it soft, the time depends entirely on how big they are. Once they are ready, scoop the flesh out, add the cinnamon, sugar and vanilla extract, 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.
These squares have the best pumpkin pie crust, and you can easily make it from scratch too. Let’s see what we need to do:
- bring the milk, oil and sugar to the boil, so that the sugar can dissolve completely. Leave to cool, then beat in the egg, and add vanilla extract
- 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 heands 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 1/4 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 20-30 minutes until golden
Are these pumpkin bars healthy?
I would say, not too unhealthy. They 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 30 squares, I would say the amount per portion is not too bad at all.
Plus, the filling is made with sweet potatoes and pumpkin puree, which is not only delicious, but also healthy. 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.
Looking for more pumpkin treats? How about my:
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Easy Romanian Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Bars, Fall's finest dessert. Melt-in your-mouth homemade pastry, a delicious pumpkin and sweet potato filling with a vanilla touch, you gotta try this recipe! A nice dessert for Thanksgiving.
- 1 medium pumpkin (3 cups pumpkin puree)
- 2 large sweet potatoes (2 cups sweet potato puree)
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 400 g plain flour
- 7 tbsp full-fat milk
- 4 tbsp granulated sugar
- 7 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp semolina
- a pinch of salt
For the filling, cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, then arrange it on a roasting tray together with the sweet potatoes in their skin.
Bake at 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit) until soft.
Peel the sweet potatoes and scoop out the flesh from the pumpkin, add them to a bowl, then use a fork to mash them well.
Mix in the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract and allow to cool completely.
To make the crust, add the milk, sugar and oil to a pan and bring it to a boil.
Remove from the heat, and allow it to cool.
Once it has cooled down, beat one egg in and add the vanilla extract too.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt, then make a well in the middle and add 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. Semolina is perfect if you want to avoid soggy bottoms when you bake a crust.
Beat the egg and brush it over the pie.
Bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit) until golden, depending on your oven it might take about 20-30 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.