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In need…of pumpkin bars

October 23, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin bars

It’s that time of the year again. The leaves are falling and the rains have returned after what seems like an endless summer here. Thoughts are turning from the fertile garden beds to the warmth of the hearth. Our kitchen and freezers are burgeoning with the wealth of the harvests this year, venison, salmon, tuna, garlic, apples, onions and many lovely lovely winter squash.

Winter squash is so sense fulfilling from their gorgeous abundant forms and vibrant colors to their rich nutritious meat. I kinda have a love affair with squash every autumn. This year I am particularly seeking solace in squash as I lost my beloved 16 years old cat to bone cancer. The grief has me reaching for my kitchen knife and the winter squash that promise of a fine comfort food.

For the second year in a row our CSA has dropped a rouge vif d’Etampes AKA Cinderella squash on our doorstep. The rouge vif d’Etampes which loosely translated means “stamped red” is a very old French heirloom squash that looks just like the pumpkin Cinderella’s Godmother turned into her chariot. It is beautiful. It is also big and makes a lot of puree!

I roasted one, cut into fourths today and set in a parchment lined baking sheet in the oven. Then I scooped out the flesh and pureed it in the food processor till it was glowing orange and inviting me to create. It was time to make some gluten and grain free pumpkin bars from this great blog PaleOMG that had been haunting me since reading about them last week. Yes, I needed to try them. This was about emotional rescue folks.

The puree from the squash was a wee bit watery so first I drained it on a cheese cloth for a few hours then made the magic. These bars looked funny and surprised me since I didn’t fully read the recipe when I started. (Guilty as charged) The crust you bake but the topping is no bake. I was already half way into it so might as well finish! But if you have designs on eating these hot out of the oven, you will be disappointed. You need to cool the crust and then chill the filling for a few hours to make them hold together. They are worth the wait. Seriously.

I ended up giving a lot of them away to clients and friends, (Once again sans hunter in the house) and even the non paleo folks were impressed and asked for the recipe. They have a very rich pumpkin flavor that is also not overly sweet. Very nice nom noms. Make these anytime for guilt free emotional rescue and fill the house with the fragrance of autumn.

Paleo goodness indeed!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Bars
This recipe is basically from PaleOMG. I’ve liberally tweaked it.

For the crust;
8 dates, pits removed
1 cup of almond butter
2 farm fresh eggs
2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
Pinch of salt

For the filling;
1 14 oz can or 1 ¾ cups of pumpkin puree
½ cup of coconut milk
¼ cup of coconut butter (or the cream at the top of the can if you can’t find coconut butter)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted
¼ cup of maple syrup
2 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground ginger
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
¼ teaspoon of allspice and ginger
1/8 teaspoon of allspice

For the nummy pecan topping;
1 cup of pecans, unchopped
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Let’s put this all together now. First off, stoke the fire to 350 degrees, (turn on the oven) While that is heating up, time to make the crust. In you handy dandy food processor pulse all the ingredients together till well blended. Pour into a well-oiled 9×9 baking dish and smooth out with a rubber spatula. Tuck in the oven for 12-15 minutes or till the top barely starts to brown and is firm to the touch. Take it out and let it cool till it won’t melt the filling. Keep the oven on to roast the pecans.

While that is baking make your pumpkin filling. In your cleaned food processor or blender, add all the filling ingredients and give it a whirl till well blended. Pour into the cooled crust and smooth out with that handy rubber spatula.

The pecans are so easy you are going to be amazed. Pour the pecans into a one cup measuring device and then drizzle the maple syrup over them. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and mix till all the nuts are covered. Spread evenly on a small baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and roast for 8-10 minutes stirring once. When the maple syrup gets shiny and starts to bubble take them out and let them cool. (Before eating them so you won’t burn your fingers!) Sprinkle half of them over the filling and then place in the fridge for a couple hours to firm up before cutting. Enjoy the rest of the pecan as special little snacks or on salads.

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