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Daphne Oz has a little "beef" with pies. Unless you really take your time and nail the crust, she says, it's not as crispy and flaky and beautiful as it should be and always lets you down. Pies, she's decided, are more challenging than they need to be! But, these bars, which combine the flavors of pumpkin and pecan pie, are a different story. The shortbread base is easy and no-stress—and with the pecan streusel topping, the dessert is gorgeous and celebratory enough for your holiday table. The soft, melting pumpkin filling and contrast of textures are two more reasons she'll take these bars over pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving anytime! (They also hold up well, so you can make them a few days in advance.)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF, with a rack in the middle. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on the sides to act as handles. Set aside.
For the crust, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and brown sugar and beat until fluffy and combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, flour and salt and mix again until just combined and a soft dough forms.
Press the dough into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake until the edges are lightly golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together until just combined. Pour over the crust.
For the pecan topping, in a medium bowl, add the brown sugar, flour, pecans, oats, cinnamon and salt and mix to combine. Add the butter and toss to coat. Pinch the butter into the mixture using your fingers until pea-size crumbles form. Refrigerate until ready to use. Sprinkle over the pumpkin filling. Bake until set, 30 to 35 minutes.
Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire baking rack. Remove from the pan using the parchment paper, cut into bars and serve.