Once the weather shifts, I feel like the scent of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves are impossible to escape. It’s pumpkin spice season, and that means pumpkin pie. I grew up eating my Aunt Tina’s pumpkin pecan pie every Thanksgiving, and while a slice of pie is a beautiful thing, it can also be a bit intimidating. A slice is a dessert, a square is a snack. So for more casual events and for my husband to bring treats into work, I’ve started doing pie bars around the holidays. It’s just as simple (or easy, as the saying goes) as making pie, but the results are even more inviting.
When Chex reached out about partnering with them through the holidays, I knew a pie would have to happen. Chex Cereal makes fantastic crumbs – perfectly crunchy and not too sweet – and I love using it for streusel. Pumpkin pie is so rich and velvety in texture, that the crunchy of Chex streusel is the perfect counterpoint to all of that lovely softness. Plus, it’s an excuse to add even more cinnamon to the recipe, so who doesn’t love that?
CINNAMON STREUSEL AND CRUST:
3 cups Chex cereal (I used a mix of Corn Chex and Wheat Chex)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup of white granulated sugar
1/3 cup of brown sugar
2 cups of canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
pinch of kosher salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup half and half
Preheat oven to 325.
Mix everything for the cinnamon streusel and crust together in a large bowl. Place half of the contents in a food processor and pulse into crumbs. It should have the texture of wet sand. Line and grease a 8×8 pan (spring form is you’ve got it). I like to leave the parchment hanging out the sides so that it’s easier to remove the bars later. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and set aside. Spread the remaining Chex mixture onto a lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until crispy and fragrant. Set aside.
Beat the eggs and both sugars together until light in color and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes if using an electric mixer). Lightly beat in the pumpkin puree and then the spices. Stir in cream and half and half. Pour over the Chex crust.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until filling is just set (it should jiggle in the center 3 inches). Cool the pumpkin bars until room temperature, about 2 hours. I like to refrigerate it over night to really set it. Before serving, top with streusel. Enjoy!