Mini Pumpkin Pies

November 2014 177I saved the best for last!  During the fall, I prefer to buy sugar pie pumpkins to roast and make my own pie filling – it’s just so delicious.  But the rest of the year, when sugar pie pumpkins aren’t in season I’ll used canned pumpkin – you can use either in this recipe.

I’ve seen many posts out there comparing organic canned pumpkin with canned pumpkin and freshly roasted pumpkin.  Unfortunately, a lot of people are unaware that you have to strain freshly roasted pumpkin puree.  It’s not optional, since pumpkin inherently contains copious amounts of water – you have to be sure to let it strain overnight so that your pumpkin pie is not watery, because it won’t set up properly and the consistency of your filling will be off.

Below I explain how to do this, if you’re using canned, feel free to skip down to the pie recipe!

Roasting Sugar Pie Pumpkins

Wash and dry the pumpkin(s).  Split each into quarters and scoop out the insides.  Place on a large rimmed sheet pan and add enough water just to cover the bottom.  Cover with foil.

Roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.  To check to see if they’re done, you want to see if the pumpkin is fork tender by poking through the skin with a fork.  I know, rocket science!

When they’re soft (fork tender), take the pan out of the oven and let the pumpkin sit covered until it’s easier to handle – about 15 minutes.

Then scoop the inside of the cooked pumpkin into a food processor and process until completely pureed, discard the skin.  Pour the pureed pumpkin into a large sieve set over a bowl and let drain – preferably overnight in the refrigerator – just cover the pumpkin puree & sieve/bowl with plastic wrap.

When you are ready to make your pumpkin pie, just weigh out 15 ounces with your handy scale and you’re all set.

The two sugar pie pumpkins I used yielded about 31 ounces of pureed pumpkin.  I divided them up and froze the remaining pumpkin to bake with another day.  However, I will strain it again before I use it, because the pumpkin can become watery from being in the freezer.

However, if you are going to use the remaining puree within two days, feel free to store it in a covered container in the refrigerator – no need to strain again!

Cinnamon Butter Pie Crust Adapted from Williams Sonoma

1 1/4 cups flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 stick unsalted butter, cold (cut into chunks)

3-4 Tablespoons ice water

In a food process pulse the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon just until combined.  Add the cold chunks of butter and process just until the butter is about the size of a pea.

Then pour the flour mixture into a mixing bowl and slowly add the water.  I use my hands to mix at this point so that I can tell when the dough is coming together – otherwise, I have been known to add too much water, which results in an overly sticky dough.

The dough should be nice and soft.  Scoop the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk and wrap well.  Refrigerate for an hour.

When the dough is ready, on a clean (floured surface) roll it as thinly as possible without tearing it, and cut it into large circles (I used a 3 7/8 circle cutter).  Then place the circles in a muffin pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray (I used ceramic muffin pans and had no issue with sticking).

Continue to roll out the dough and cut until all of it has been used.  Repeating as necessary.  Pour filling just below the top of the crust – it will rise!

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Carefully remove the pies from the pan and let them cool on a wire rack.  Once cooled, store them in the refrigerator.  These are best eaten within three days of making.

Pumpkin Pie Filling Adapted from Libby’s canned pumpkin

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 large eggs (I like to blend the eggs in my commercial blender and then strain through a sieve – optional)

15 ounces pureed (and strained) roasted pumpkin

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

In a large pot, whisk together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.  Then add the eggs and pureed pumpkin.  Whisk in the heavy cream.  Cook on medium heat until slightly thickened – about 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.

Take the pumpkin mixture off the heat and pour into unbaked pie shells.  I actually used my clean turkey baster to fill these mini pies – it worked beautifully!!!

Follow the baking instructions above and store cooled pies in the refrigerator.



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