Caramel-Meringue Pumpkin Bars are a decadent frozen treat similar to ice cream with a gingersnap cookie crust, salted caramel drizzle, and crumbled meringue. [This post contains affiliate links] Jump to Recipe
These Caramel-Meringue Pumpkin Bars are an example of a successful failure. They were supposed to be something completely different: a three-layer meringue cake with pumpkin mousse and drizzled caramel. But unfortunately, I couldn’t get pumpkin mousse to act like chocolate mousse, where it is solid enough to be able to stand on its own without spreading out everywhere.
So I had to come up with something new. I probably could have made ice cream as well but I decided on doing frozen bars. The crust is made from finely ground gingersnap cookies and melted butter. I then layered the pumpkin mousse with crumbled meringue and salted caramel sauce.
While the end product is completely different, it still tastes pretty damn delicious. I used the meringues that I had made for the cake but you can easily buy meringue cookies and crumble them.
I used MI-DEL Swedish Style Ginger Snaps [this is the affiliate link] for the crust. So really all you have to make is the mousse. You can buy everything else. Make sure that you freeze the bars overnight and that the dish is completely flat in the freezer.
If you’re looking for some great salted caramel sauce recipes check out this Brown Butter Salted Caramel in this Pumpkin Layer Cake.
Caramel-Meringue Pumpkin Bars
- 10 ounces gingersnap cookies about 2 cups finely ground in a food processor
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 and 1/2 cups pumpkin puree*
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Amaretto or Disaronno
- 2 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups plain meringue cookies, crumbled
- pinch of finely ground sea salt
- salted caramel sauce*
Grease a large casserole dish (I used a 13 x 10-inch dish) with butter or shortening.
Put the gingersnap cookies in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground.
Mix with the melted butter and press into the prepared casserole dish, using the palm of your hand or the bottom of a measuring cup. Set aside.
Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and beat in the powdered sugar until the mixture has doubled.
Add the mascarpone cheese and beat until blended. Add the pumpkin puree, spices, salt, and Amaretto or Disaronno and beat on low speed until incorporated.
In a stainless steel or glass bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form and it holds its shape. Fold the cream into the pumpkin mixture and set aside.
Pour half of the pumpkin mixture onto of the gingersnap crust and sprinkle half of the crumbled meringues on top. Drizzle with the salted caramel.
Pour the rest of the pumpkin mixture on top, sprinkle with the rest of the crumbled meringues, and drizzle with caramel sauce again.
Put the dish in the freezer, making sure it lays flat. Freeze overnight before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.
I always use make my own homemade pumpkin puree because I don't like canned pumpkin:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut a sugar pie pumpkin in half, scrape out the seeds and pulp, and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes or until you can pierce the skins with a fork. Scoop out the pumpkin and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Make sure to grease the bottom of the casserole dish. I didn’t the first time I made this and the bars were hard to get out without leaving behind the crust.