These Make Ahead Pumpkin Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting give you a hit of pumpkin pie for fewer calories than a whole piece of pie would be.
The cream cheese frosting is piped on so you get the salty, sweet effect again with fewer calories than a full coverage frosting.
Have I convinced you this is a diet dessert? Ha!
These yummy little treats are a favourite among my family and friends
I make these for Thanksgiving when we have a crowd because there are so many family favourites it is hard to fit them all in! My sister's apple pies are to die for! Pumpkin pie and various other tarts and cakes must make an appearance. So I can still get a little fix of pumpkin pie even if I choose the apple pie for dessert! Family secret: I usually have my pumpkin pie for breakfast the morning after the turkey coma!
Chef's Tips for Make Ahead Pumpkin Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting
- The crust is almost a moist short bread. No rolling of dough here, you cut the butter in like you would for a pastry recipe but then you just pat it into the bottom of the pan.
- You must use unsalted butter in this crust. I learned a while back to measure my butter by the displacement method. I find the little bars on the wrapper are not good guides - the wrapper is often twisted and when I go to cut through the block I cut on an angle and who knows how much I am going to end up with. So I use a 2 cup measuring cup and put 1 cup of water in it. Then I cut my butter to what I think is the right amount. Then I immerse the butter in the cup of water. All the butter has to be covered by the water. When the water reaches the 2 cup line I know I have 1 cup of butter. Works perfect every time.
- When you frost the squares you an either pipe the frosting on in a decorative pattern or you can take a small baggie and cut a tiny tip off one corner. You can then drizzle the frosting over the top of the squares in a lattice pattern or whatever pattern you like.
And if it isn't enough that these squares are practically diet food (lol!), quick and easy to make, delicious - they also freeze beautifully so you can make them ahead! How good is that???
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups canned pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup cream
- 2 tsps lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 oz cream cheese, light room temperature
- 1 ½ Tbsps unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13" baking pan.
- For the base combine flour, icing sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter. Do not let dough form a ball. When butter is evenly cut into the size of peas, transfer the base mix into the baking pan. Pat or roll the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- Bake 15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Then add in all other filling ingredients and beat until well mixed.
- Pour filling over the crust after it has baked for the 15 minutes above.
- Bake a further 40 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean.
- Cool completely.
- Beat all frosting ingredients together until smooth. Using a piping bag you can make a lattice pattern over the pan or pipe small rosettes in rows, evenly distributed about 2 " apart. (The rosette will be the center of each square when you cut them.
- Refrigerate if serving right away or cut into squares and freeze the squares if making ahead. Allow squares to defrost at room temperature or in the fridge.