Pumpkin pie is a ubiquitous autumnal staple, and one that I have looked forward to every year when the crisp air arrives ever since I was a child. I’m pleased to pass this anticipation on to my children, and First-Born especially favors them (she has literally cried at the thought of missing a slice of my pumpkin pie, and she has cried with excitement while making it… her pleasure for this traditional dessert might actually surpass my own!).
In order to blend with our dainty morsels on our afternoon tea table, I’ve begun baking mini versions of this classic. Perfect for occasions that require delicate finger-food, these pies can be baked ahead of time and stored in the freezer for unexpected guests, or as sensible portions when baking a whole pie is a bit overkill.
½ can pumpkin puree (approximately 1½ cups)
¾ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
small pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground nutmeg, with more for garnish
whipped cream, for garnish
1 pie crust (preferably my Tender Pie Crust)
Either pat pie crust dough into mini-pie or tart molds, or roll out and cut into rounds to fit your pan. If using the pat-in-pan method, the amount of dough per pie depends on the size of the pan(s) you are using. A ball of dough a little smaller than a golf ball is what works for me for each mini pie. Lightly flour your hands if you find the dough sticking to your fingertips.
Put crusts in the freezer while oven preheats (or about 15 minutes).
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg, sugar, salt and spices together in a bowl. Add the cream and stir carefully until completely combined. When the crusts have finished chilling, pour spoonfuls of filling into each mini pie, to the level of the top of the crust. Mine take about an even tablespoon. If there is filling left over, I like to pour the remainder into ramekins and serve as a “pumpkin custard”.
Carefully slide into the 425°F oven, and bake for 7 minutes. Lower heat to 350°F and bake for 15-20 minutes more, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool, then gently tease the pies out of the pan with a butter knife or fingertip (this is easily done when using my recipe due to the generous amount of butter). Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream – yes, homemade is best, when possible – and a sprinkle of grated nutmeg.