Pumpkin Bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177
degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom
and sides of a lightly
buttered 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) baking pan with a 22 inch (56 cm) long piece
of aluminum foil that has been buttered and floured.
Hazelnut Shortbread: Place
the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and
bake for approximately 15 minutes or until brown and fragrant and the skins
are starting to
peel. Remove from oven, place the hot hazelnuts in a clean dish towel, roll it
up, and let
the nuts 'steam' for about five minutes. Then briskly rub the
nuts to remove most of their skins. Set aside to let the nuts cool and then
Place the chopped hazelnuts, flour, and salt in the bowl of your food processor
fitted with a metal blade. Process the mixture until the hazelnuts are finely
the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and
sugar until light and fluffy (2 - 3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add
the flour mixture and beat until a soft dough forms. Press the dough evenly and
firmly onto the bottom of the foil-lined pan. Bake for about 15 minutes or until
the shortbread is set and beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from oven
and place on a wire rack.
Pumpkin Filling: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the
pumpkin, sugar, vanilla extract, spices, and salt and whisk to combine.
Gradually stir in the cream. Pour the filling over the pre baked crust and bake
for about 30-35 minutes, or until the filling is set in the center. Remove from
oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Run a knife around the inside edges of the pan.
Lift the pumpkin bars from the pan by holding onto the edges of the aluminum
foil. Place on a cutting board, peel back the aluminum foil, and cut into 32
bars. The bars can be covered and refrigerated up to three days. Serve chilled
or at room temperature.
Garnish: Whip 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream with the 1 tablespoons (15 grams) of
white sugar until stiff peaks form. Place the whipped
cream in a piping bag fitted with an open star tip and pipe a small rosette of cream on
top of each pumpkin bar.
Makes 32 pumpkin bars.