Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

Battle: Baked Goods – Test Run: Mini Pumpkin Pies

November’s Aluminum Chef is slated for this coming Saturday, and I am still having trouble deciding what to make.  My initial thought was to bake up some apple turnovers, but the idea to do something with pumpkin really took over.

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After looking through a bunch of recipes online, I opted for something simple — pumpkin pie.  It just seemed like a bad idea to make a big ol’ pie when everyone else is going to be bringing a big ol’ [insert baked good here], so when I ran across Bakerella’s Pumpkin Pie Bites, I knew I was on to something!

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The ingredients: pre-made pie crusts, cream cheese, eggs, canned pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.

Because this was the test run, and I didn’t want to have to eat 24 little pumpkin pies between now and Saturday, I cut the original recipe in half, mostly.  I always use heaps more vanilla than the original recipes ever call for, so that was a variation from the original.  Also, because it was the test run and I just didn’t have the ambition, I left off the cute little pumpkin stems.  (Honestly, it’s cute but they’re not going to taste any better for being cute.)

To get started, I had to roll out the ready-to-use pie crust a bit in order to get twelve little circles out of one crust.   It was about this time that I was kicking myself for not buying that Sil-Pin rolling pin at Sur La Table yesterday, because I don’t have a rolling pin!  What I found out is that a nice, evenly cylindrical olive oil bottle works just as well (after washing and flouring of course.)

Using a 3″ round cookie cutter, I was able to get my twelve little pie crusts cut out and pressed each one into a cup in my new 24 cup mini muffin tin.  (It’s made by ChicagoMetallic and, having now used it, I have to say that I would seriously consider buying any non-stick bakeware needed from them.  Wow!)

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Mini pie crusts awaiting their filling.

I put all the remaining ingredients into a bowl and mixed it all together.  I have to say that I was slightly concerned about the filling.  While I was mixing, I noticed that the cream cheese was not blending in smoothly.  The best I could figure was that it hadn’t completely come to room temperature.  So, I took a silicone spatula to the mix and tried to cream the lumps into the filling as best I could, but in the end, there were little tiny pearls of cream cheese in the mixture.  I used a heaping tablespoon of the mixture to fill each of those little pie shells up to the brim with pumpkin goodness and popped them in the oven.

The original recipe said that they would be done in 12-15 minutes, but that was not my experience.  I left them in for about 20-22 minutes, when the pie filling had puffed way up and the crusts actually browned a bit.

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Little pies deflating after coming out of the oven.

I removed the little guys from the tin and placed them on a wire rack to cool.  I was amazed at how easily they popped right out of those little cups!  Needless to say, it didn’t take long for them to cool down, small as they are.  Then it was time to snap a pretty picture and get to sampling!

When all was said and done, the one thing that was definitely off in my opinion was the amount of spice in the filling.  It needed a lot more of the pumpkin pie spice.  It was nowhere near as bland as the year my aunt made a pumpkin pie with NO spices in it at all, but this little pie was not the savory bite of pumpkin pie that I was anticipating.   As such, I’ve modified the original recipe to a) reduce it by half, b) add more vanilla, and c) add more spice!

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Mini Pumpkin Pies

Inspired by Bakerella’s Pumpkin Pie Bites

pumpkin_mini_pie04Ingredients:

1 – refrigerated pre-made pie crust
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Makes 12 mini pies.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Use 3″ cookie cutter to cut 12 rounds from the pie crust.  (You may need to roll the dough out a bit.)
  3. Press the dough rounds into alternating cups of a 24-cup mini muffin tray.  (This is to prevent the pies from touching each other, but if you’re not adding decorative edging, you could double the recipe and make all 24 in one tray.)
  4. In a medium bowl, beat one egg and brush top edges of pie crusts with egg mixture.  Reserve remaining egg.
  5. Add cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, vanilla and pumpkin pie mix to bowl with egg mixture.  Mix thoroughly.
  6. Spoon mixture into each pie crust.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until filling has risen and crust is golden brown.
  8. Remove pies from baking tray and place on a wire rack to cool.
  9. After cooling, keep refrigerated until ready to enjoy.
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