Friday, December 3, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake Crumble Squares

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE CRUMBLE SQUARES

It's time to get excited for the third edition of the Eat My Blog charity bake sale, hosted by The Gastronomer and friends at Tender Greens in West Hollywood (Los Angeles) this Saturday. For the last bake sale in June, I contributed an old family favorite--applesauce spice cake. This time, I wanted to try something new and settled on these pumpkin cheesecake bars. Any recipe with "cheesecake" in the title has the potential to be tricky, so I did a practice run last week. I'm pleased to report that the crumble squares came out great--delicious enough to bring to Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws.

Get there early on Saturday for the full selection of treats baked by ~70 LA food bloggers and chefs. This is no ordinary bake sale--expect a spread of truly creative, incredible desserts. All proceeds will be donated to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Hope to see you there!

Recipe by Bon Appetit, October 2006, courtesy of Epicurious

For Crust
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 cup pecan halves (about 4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
For Filling
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
For Topping
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make Crust

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Pulse first 4 ingredients in a processor until coarse meal forms. Add pecans; using on/off turns, process until nuts are chopped. Add oats; pulse until mixture is moistened but not clumping. Press 3 1/2 cups crumbs onto bottom of prepared square pan (do not clean processor). Transfer remaining crumbs to lined baking sheet. Bake crumbs on sheet until golden, stirring once, about 12 minutes. Cool crumbs. Bake crust until it is beginning to become golden, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.

Add Filling

Blend all ingredients in the same food processor until smooth. Spread filling over warm crust; bake until set, dry in center, and beginning to rise at edges, about 20 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Add Topping

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Spread evenly over hot filling. Bake until topping sets and bubbles at edges, about 5 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Sprinkle crumbs over topping; gently press into topping. Cover; chill until cold, about 2 hours. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Cut into squares.

Yield: 16 bars
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: Not given
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Substitutions: I used walnuts in place of pecans since we had a big bag on hand--this worked out fine. The original recipe said to bake the crust for 30 minutes before adding the filling, but I found that it was quite hard after 25 minutes (cutting the bars out of the pan was a bit difficult). Most user reviews on epicurious.com agreed that 30 minutes was too long.

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