Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars {with Brulee Topping}

September 27, 2015

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Rich and indulgent Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with a crisp and sweet toasted sugar brulee topping!

It’s a dessert worthy of any celebration but especially perfect for fall and Thanksgiving. They’re easy to prepare and destined to get compliments all around!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

At least once during fall you need to make pumpkin cheesecake right? This year I decided to go with a bruleed version because I remember last year seeing bruleed pumpkin pies and cheesecakes all over the place and they always looked amazing!

Well these pumpkin cheesecake bars with a brulee topping are just that and more!

I mean we could say that topping is optional but once you try it I think you’ll agree, it’s a must!

A Perfected Recipe

I made these several times to try and get that perfect cheesecake consistency. The trick was in reducing the liquid in the pumpkin puree simply by wrapping it in paper towels to remove some of the excess moisture. It’s a trick I like to do with pumpkin on occasion when I’m baking because it has such a high water content so sometimes it just helps to take some of that out.

It took the batter from a runny soup to a batter more similar to a regular cheesecake, meaning it gave a better end result.

Save this recipe because you’ll want to take them to any and every get together this fall, they’ll be the talk of the party! They have a perfectly spiced pumpkin flavor and the contrast of that crisp bruleed sugar shell next to the luscious creamy texture of the cheesecake is divine! Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on these!

Overhead image of sliced pumpkin cheesecake bars without toppings.

How to Make Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

  1. Prepare the graham cracker crust, press into pan and bake.
  2. Make the filling: mix sugars, flour and spices.
  3. Mix in cream cheese until smooth.
  4. Blend in eggs one at a time, then mix in sour cream and vanilla.
  5. Press pumpkin between paper towels to remove some moisture then mix into mixture.
  6. Pour over crust and bake.
  7. Let it chill in fridge completely before slicing and enjoying.

How to Store Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Since this is cheesecake is should be kept in the fridge (they can sit at room temp up to 2 hours but they are best very cold anyway). Store bars in an airtight container.

What If I Don’t Own a Culinary Torch?

If you don’t have a culinary torch to make the brulee topping, another good alternative on these cheesecake bars would be serving them covered in a generous amount of salted caramel sauce (I have a salted caramel sauce recipe with step-by-step photos here).

If you are considering buying a culinary torch I highly recommend having one! I use mine quite a bit, for torching meringue and bruleeing just about anything I can (have you tried bruleed oatmeal? So good!). They are a must have kitchen tool in my book.

Pumpkin cheesecake bars topped with a toasted sugar brulee topping, whipped cream, pecans and mint leaves.

More Pumpkin Desserts You’ll Love

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars {with Brulee Topping}

Decadent autumn inspired cheesecake bars! These are perfectly creamy, deliciously pumpkiny and spiced and finished with a caramelized crisp sugar shell. Three layers of utter bliss.
Servings: 12
Prep30 minutes
Cook55 minutes
Cool4 hours
Ready in: 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/3 cups (140g) finely crushed graham crackers (about 10 1/2 full sheets)
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 1/2 cup (110g) packed light-brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp (80g) granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp (28g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice or cloves
  • 2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups (326g) pumpkin puree

Topping

  • 6 Tbsp (80g) granulated sugar*
  • Whipped cream, pecans, mint leaves and cinnamon/nutmeg blend, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line a 9 by 9-inch baking sheet with two sheet of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Butter parchment, set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together crushed graham crackers, brown sugar and cinnamon.
  •  Pour in melted butter and mix with a fork until evenly moistened. Pour into prepared baking dish and press firmly into an evenly layer. Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes, remove from oven and cool on a wire cooling rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • For the filling: In a mixing bowl whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice (using fingertips to break up clumps of brown sugar as needed). 
  • Add cream cheese and using an electric hand mixer, blend just until cream cheese is smooth, about 20 - 30 seconds. Mix in eggs one at a time, mixing just until combined, then blend in sour cream and vanilla. 
  • Lay out several layers of paper towels and pour pumpkin onto paper towels then wrap paper towels over pumpkin to remove some of the excess moisture until you have removed 1/3 cup of the moisture, you should now have 1 cup pumpkin puree. 
  • Pour pumpkin into cream cheese mixture and blend just until combined. Tap bowl against countertop about 10 times to release large air pockets, then pour over crust and spread evenly. 
  • Bake in preheated oven 40 - 45 minutes, edges should be set but center should still jiggle slightly. Cool on wire rack 30 minutes then transfer to refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours (this portion can be made a day in advance).
  • Lift from pan using all sides of parchment overhang. Cut into bars and remove from parchment.
  • For the topping: Sprinkle each square with an even layer of sugar and melt sugar with a culinary torch (I did a few thin layers to get a thicker, more even shell and I'd fill the spaces where the sugar didn't melt. Melt sugar within several hours of serving because the sugar shell will start to soften).
  • Return to refrigerator and chill 30 - 60 minutes, or until that top layer that was heated from torching has set again. 
  • Pipe or spoon a small dollop of whipped cream over top, then add a pecan, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon/nutmeg blend and garnish with mint (garnish just before serving).

Notes

  • *If you don't own a kitchen torch you can skip the brulee sugar topping and serve with a caramel sauce instead.
Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars {with Brulee Topping}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 371 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 100mg33%
Sodium 224mg10%
Potassium 167mg5%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 30g33%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 5003IU100%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 78mg8%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.