1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. lightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
pinch of kosher salt
15 oz. pumpkin puree
3/4 cup evaporated milk
4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over all four edges of the pan about two inches. This will make the pie bars easier to remove after they’re baked. Lightly spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- For the crust, place the butter, sugars, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder mix on low speed until just combined.
- Dump the cookie dough into the prepared pan, lightly sprinkle with flour, and press evenly to the edges of the pan. Prick with a fork all over. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking for 15 to 18 minutes until just golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the filling.
- In a medium bowl whisk together sugars and eggs until well combined. Whisk in the spices and salt. Whisk in the pumpkin puree followed by the milk. Pour the filling over the par-baked cookie crust and bake until set – 35-40 minutes. The filling shouldn’t have wave-like jiggles if it’s baked through. It will shake if you give it a shimmer but won’t jiggle all over the place. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. You can speed up this process by placing the slightly cooked bars in the fridge or freezer.
- Place a medium saucepan with two inches of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer. In a clean medium bowl whisk together egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. Place the bowl over the simmering water and use a whisk (or better yet the whisk attachment on electric hand beaters) to whip the eggs as the mixture warms and the sugar melts. Whisk the eggs until they reach 140-160 degrees F. Remove the bowl from the double boiler and continue to whip with the hand beater (or place in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment) and beat for another 5 minutes until fluffy, glossy and holding stiff peaks.
- Just before serving, spoon the meringue atop the cooled pumpkin bars. Use an offset spatula to swoop the meringue around the bars, edge to edge. Use a kitchen torch to toast the top. Slice and serve! These bars will last several days in the refrigerator though the meringue will get a little slip and slide-y across the top of the bars.