Pumpkin Pie Bars with Pecan Shortbread Crust

A delightful gluten-free, dairy-free, and FODMAP-friendly dessert.

Emma Hatcher
By Emma Hatcher
155 minutes | serves: 12

Looking for a delicious new dessert to try this season? Cookbook author Emma Hatcher from "She Can't Eat What?" developed this dairy-free, gluten-free, and low FODMAP recipe to delight your tastebuds, without upsetting your gut.

There are many things I love about pumpkin pie - the creamy spiced filling, the signal that Autumn is well and truly upon us and the happy notion that I’m sneaking some veggies into my dessert. Things I’m not always such a fan of however, include: waiting for the pastry to rest, the faff of lining a tart tin and having to convince the made-up minds of friends and family members with previous bad pumpkin pie experiences that it can be in fact, delicious.

One look and bite of these simple, stress-free, pumpkin pie bars with a press-in pecan crust will sway any pumpkin pie sceptics within an instant. They are deceptively good, taste even better the next day and they just so happen to be plant based, as well as low FODMAP, for any eaters that need them to be. A bonus element: the crust to filling ratio is almost 50/50, which for pumpkin pie is how I like it and think you might too.

Feel free to sub in dairy butter and lactose free milk and if you don’t have a strong blender to help blitz the pecans, you can use ground almonds instead.


for the pecan shortbread crust
  • 110g unsalted dairy-free butter, room temperature
  • 60g light brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 140g gluten-free plain flour blend
  • 30g cornflour
  • 70g pecans
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum (skip if your flour blend already contains it)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
for the filling
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 425g tin pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 250g canned coconut cream
  • 150ml dairy free milk, such as almond


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C, 170C fan and lightly grease and line an 8 inch square baking tin.
  2. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, cream together the softened butter and sugar until lighter, fluffier and combined.
  3. Put the flours, pecans, xanthan gum and salt into a powerful blender or food processor and blitz until fine. Add to the butter and sugar mix and stir everything together until it resembles sandy breadcrumbs.
  4. Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin and press it down with your hands or the back of a spoon until level. Place in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes before baking in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden at the edges. It will soften deliciously once the filling is poured on top, so it’s best to cook it all the way through now.
  5. While the shortbread is cooling slightly, prepare the filling by sifting all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add all of the wet ingredients and whisk together until smooth. Pour the filling over the shortbread base and smooth out to the edges. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until set and there’s just a small wobble in the centre when you give it a gentle shake.
  6. Let cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill fully. Remove from the tin and slice into bars.