Mini Pumpkin Pies

Mini Pumpkin Pies_plated Growing up, there were several dishes that only made the menu on certain holidays. Honey baked ham at Easter, monkey bread on Christmas morning, and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. That was it. If you were absent, sick, or just forgot to grab a bite, you had 365 days until you got another shot. You can probably imagine the chaos that filled the home with 18 - 50 people all vying for the same piece of bread or slice of pie at the same time. Let's not forget about the "her slice is bigger" or "he got more monkey bread than me" argument. Cue the "it's not fair" whining and you have a fantastic start to the day. The way we'd cry and argue, you would think we were starved the rest of the year or that there wasn't plenty to go around. We weren't and there was. We simply understood just how special these dishes were and wanted to get our fill. If that meant a sister or cousin didn't get his or hers, then so be it. Survival of the fittest. We do better now. To avoid such chaos and mayhem at my son's daycare (they have a Thanksgiving lunch and every family brings something), I opted for individual pumpkin pies (we were signed up for pumpkin pie). This way, each serving was identical and, big bonus for the caregivers, no knife cutting or messy serving. In fact, these are most definitely finger food so no forks needed! As you can see, I opted against the traditional dallop of whipped cream per my husband's suggestion. I guess he felt that a bunch of kids under the age of 5 probably didn't need the extra sugar right before nap time. With or without the whipped cream, these mini pumpkin pies are delicious. Just be careful, they go down way too easily! Mini Pumpkin Pies_stacked We have taken these to several parties and get-togethers this season and they have always been a hit with kids and adults alike. It's a bonus that they are so easy, if a bit time consuming. Though, if you use store bought, ready to go mini shells, your workload will be cut by 3/4. I don't think the ready-made shells taste quite as good - they tend to be tougher and crispier - but that is just my humble opinion. I am thinking of capitalizing upon the success of these mini pumpkin pies and giving a boxed assortment to friends, family, colleagues this holiday season. What do you think?

Mini Pumpkin Pies

  • 1 1/2 batches pastry dough (store bought or homemade)
  • Pumpkin pie filling (I use the Libby's recipe on the back of the can)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place a rack in the middle.

Prepare the pumpkin pie filling according to the recipe on the back on the can or using your favorite. Set aside.

Roll the pastry dough to about 1/8" thick. Using a small circle cookie cutter (or a glass prep bowl, like I did. Not super efficient or easy, but it gets the job done), cut as many circles as you can fit. Pull up the excess dough. Place each circle into one of the mini muffin tins.

Note: To prevent the dough from getting too warm, a good practice is to cut it in half. Work with one half while leaving the other wrapped in saran wrap in the fridge.

Repeat the roll, cut, pick up, & place process until you have filled the entire tray.

Using a tablespoon, fill each mini pie crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until done.

Allow them to cool in the tin for 5 - 10 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack until they reach room temperature.

I have found that 1 batch of dough makes about 30 mini pies, but there is always leftover filling. You can either dump the filling or get the second batch of dough and do another round (hence the extra 1/2 dough in the ingredient list).

If you do this, you will have about 1/2 of the second dough leftover. You can use mini cookie cutters to cut leaves or other seasonal shapes to place on top of the mini pies while baking for an extra festive kick.

Serve with whipped cream.

Passing the Holiday Torch

Christmas Dining Room_night Thanksgiving has come and gone *sigh of relief* inserted here. Growing up, Turkey Day meant 50 of our closest family and friends would descend upon our home in the morning and stay all night, often until the wee hours of the following morning. My parents were so busy cooking, cleaning, and talking, they didn't have time to tell me to brush my hair, get out of the tree, put down the book, or help my sister with (fill in the blank with some chore I really did not want to do). It was a day of freedom - heaven in the eyes of my pre-teen self....

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Sunday Mornings

Cranberry Orange Scones_Plated

Cranberry orange scones

Breakfast in our home usually consists of a bowl of cheerios, some yogurt, or toast with peanut butter washed down with a glass of O.J., a cup of coffee, or a serving of milk. On really awesome days, we might have a package of instant oatmeal or toss in some granola with the yogurt. Then it is out the door and off to work, the gym, or daycare. Monday through Friday maintains this same basic pattern and it works to get us all out the door on time usually with a smile and kiss to boot! Saturday mornings are a slightly more drawn out version of this same pattern, but the meals remain the same: yogurt, O.J., cereal, and milk....

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Paso Robles 2015

Sunrise So Cal is not without its flaws. But summer in So Cal is a veritable buffet of activities. The times I have found myself saying, “there’s nothing to do” were really my way of saying, “I’m lazy and don’t’ feel like doing anything but don’t want to admit it so I’ll blame it on someone else.” I mean, where else can you go for a sunrise surf, hit the slopes by lunch, and be home for dinner, should you be so inclined? ...

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5 Things: April 24th

We used to sit down to dinner every night as a family and chat. This was before the time of smart phones and tablets (Blackberries were the cool tech of the moment). Every evening each of us would take turns saying what our favorite 5 Things of the day were. It could be anything from playing outside at recess to science class to an awesome team meeting at work. There were only three rules 1) all 5 things had to be positive, 2) you couldn’t copy what someone else said unless you elaborated and made it personal, and 3) no repeats from the previous night. It was really fun and usually resulted in some great conversation and ideas for things to do during the upcoming weekend. Somehow over the last ten years or so we let this tradition go and I miss it. So, in honor of this tradition and in hopes of bringing it back, every Friday I will share my 5 Things from the previous seven days. Please feel free to share yours with me – or just with those closest to you. Enjoy!
  1. I reconnected and had an awesome lunch (Cow's End) and conversation with an old friend / colleague who I haven’t seen or talked to in nearly 10 years. Bonus: I walked away from lunch with a whole bunch of awesome knowledge I didn’t know I didn’t know.
  2. Impromptu alfresco spaghetti and meatball dinner with friends. There is no better way to cap off hump day than with a delicious home cooked meal, a glass of wine, catching up with a good friend, and watching our little men get into all kinds of mischief.
  3. My little man’s first official soccer practice! There was way too much cuteness in one place – and my sister came to partake in the fun. If you live in LA and want to get in on the fun, check out Learn to Kick by Tiny Pros.
  4. Fresh, homemade rosemary olive French loaf. Seriously, the way my home smelled all day was fantastic. This will definitely be appearing on the blog soon!
  5. The long held belief that I was looked over when my parents were handing out the artistic gene has been confirmed. My attempt at an Elmo cupcake says it all (image at the end). But, the important part is that they taste like slices of heaven and the kids at his daycare all agreed. Now I just need to whip up a batch to take to his family b-day party tomorrow. Phew!
Rosemary Olive Bread_aerial

Seriously delicious rosemary olive french loaf.

Aiden Soccer_hurt eye

He collided with one of the other kids at soccer and ended up with a bit of a shiner. The red on the chin is lipstick from mommy's kiss that we couldn't get off.

Elmo

Man did this look way better in my head. I think I'll stick with abstract art.

Cupcakes_close up2

Obviously, I left the rest of these divine cupcakes in their beautiful and delicious state. Phew!