If you love pumpkin pie and are a sucker for salted caramel, this is the Thanksgiving dessert for you. The buttery press-in crust eliminates the stress of rolling out pie dough, and baking it in a 9x13 pan means no crimping necessary. To make these pie bars extra special, we developed a simple homemade caramel sauce and stirred it right into the filling. The result? A warmly spiced pumpkin filling with sweet notes of caramel in every bite. Toasting the coconut for the garnish is easy. Simply spread the coconut flakes onto a baking sheet and bake in a 325°F oven, stirring once, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
For the crust:
Nonstick cooking spray
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1 29 oz. can pure pumpkin puree
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
6 large eggs
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips, toasted
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with two crisscrossed pieces of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Coat the parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
Make the crust: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Slowly add melted butter and stir with a fork and press gently with your hands until combined. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Prick all over with a fork. Bake until puffed and lightly browned, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.
Meanwhile, make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, cloves, and ½ teaspoon salt.
To make the caramel, combine granulated sugar and ⅓ cup water in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat and stir to combine. Cook until sugar melts, about 1 minute, then increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, swirling the pan every few minutes, until the syrup is a rich caramel color, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream (the mixture will bubble). Return to heat and simmer, whisking constantly, until smooth and thickened, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside two tablespoons of the caramel, then stir the rest into the pumpkin filling. Add the eggs and whisk to combine. Pour onto pie crust.
Bake, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and the center is just set, 25 to 30 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325°F and continue baking until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, top with toasted coconut and cut into squares. Drizzle with reserved caramel, and top with flaky salt.
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