Pumpkin Dessert Bars
1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1-1/3 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
Whipped topping and ground nutmeg, optional
1. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and 1/3 cup sugar; stir in butter. Press into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
2. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and 2/3 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in 2 eggs just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
3. Meanwhile, separate remaining eggs and set whites aside. In a large saucepan, combine the yolks, pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, salt and cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat for 10-12 minutes or until mixture is thickened and reaches 160°. Remove from the heat.
4. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir into pumpkin mixture; set aside.
5. In a large heavy saucepan, combine reserved egg whites and remaining sugar. With a portable mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating over low heat until mixture reaches 160°, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat; beat until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved.
6. Fold into pumpkin mixture; spread evenly over cream cheese layer. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. Garnish with whipped topping and nutmeg if desired. Yield: 15 servings.