Wednesday, November 12, 2014

thanksgiving recipe | mini "deconstructed" pumpkin pies

Did I mention I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year?  It's been a long time since I hosted and I'm really looking forward to it.  My brother, sister-in-law, and their three little boys will be in town so we'll have a full house and table!  My Mum will make a few dishes (right, Mum?!!) which is a huge help and frankly how Thanksgiving should be, everyone sharing and pitching in.  I will probably make the turkey (favorite recipes anyone?  I use an old Bon Appetit recipe, but I'm open for new ideas), gravy, and a few sides.  And while this post is all about a dessert idea, I will be picking up a couple pies from my favorite local bakery this year.  However, if I was attending dinner, especially a large gathering, I would absolutely bring these mini cups of pumpkin pie.  They would steal the show!

One of the homes on the kitchen tour last weekend served a version of these in mini shot classes, about half the size of what I have here. (they were created by Amy Tobin, a local chef in Cincinnati.)  I knew right away I would recreate my own version this week.  My family LOVED them and couldn't quite believe they were getting pumpkin pie before Thanksgiving, like it was their luckiest day ever! :)  And for my non-crust loving children (how can they possibly be related to me?) this is the ideal way to serve and eat pumpkin pie.

^^ Are these not the cutest?  Little pecan acorns! Probably my favorite detail and super fast and easy to make. I melted semi sweet chocolate chips in the microwave until just melted, then spread a little in between two pecan halves to stick them together.  Then I dipped the tops in more melted chocolate and chopped pecans to create the little acorn hat.  I let them set up at room temperature, which they did pretty quickly.^^

^^I used pre-made pie crusts, the kind that you unroll, to create the leaves.  I prefer Trader Joe's brand simply because it doesn't contain BHT, a petroleum based preservative that Andrew is sensitive to.  The mini leaf cutter is an old Pampered Chef item.  I brushed the "leaves" with an egg wash (one egg + 1 TBS water) and topped with turbinado sugar, then baked at 350 for about 12-15 minutes.^^

Crustless Pumpkin Pie Recipe
(Adapted from this Molasses Spice Pumpkin Pie)
**you can use any favorite pumpkin pie recipe you like, just skip the crust and grease the pie dish instead before pouring in the filling**
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses

Mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add pumpkin, eggs, cream, milk, and molasses; whisk filling to blend.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour filling into greased pie dish. Bake pie until set in center and slightly puffed around edges, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Pie will still giggle a little when you remove it from the oven, it will finish setting up as it cools.  Let pie cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours, then place in fridge.  Pumpkin pie is best made a day in advance.
To assemble - cut a bite size, or slightly larger if using ramekins like I did, piece of pie.  Top with fresh bourbon whipped cream (1 cup cold, heavy whipping cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 2 TBS powdered sugar, 1 TBS bourbon (optional), add a couple pie crust leaves and a pecan acorn and you are set!  If not eating right away, they should be kept on the fridge.  
(Note: For children I did not add bourbon to the whipped cream ;))


  1. Scrumptious looking dessert. Pinning it for future pumpkin delights. Here in Norton, Ohio, we will be hosting a buffet for the first time on Thanksgiving. The past thirty-two years we were able to have a sit down dinner, but the family is at twenty-two plus two new baby boys. As a retired teacher, I delegated menu items for each family to bring to the buffet. I now am planning games and other activities for the children. Hope Ohio's weather is good for that day.

  2. I just stopped by to get a little inspiration for the upcoming holidays. Looks like I may be polishing some silver and finding some greens to do a quick "spruce" up. Thank you for all your new posts, such fun to read.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I think these look so wonderful. Also wanted to let you know that I love your blog. I just found it a few days ago thanks to my friend.

  5. Someone asked how many "ramekin" sized portions I made from one pie... I must have deleted the comment by mistake... I would guess I made about 12... It was an after school snack and I had a few other children in addition to my own and it became a bit of a free for all, but close to 12 seems about right.

  6. I can't wait to try these! Thanks so much, Tessa, for sharing. For the past three years, the Mister has smoked our turkey on our Weber grill. The turkey turns out beautifully browned and delicious, and since we have only one oven, it makes preparing the side dishes much easier!

  7. My tried and true turkey recipe is Martha Stewart's original turkey covered in a cheese cloth and based in wine & butter. I made it the first thanksgiving I'm not a huge fan of turkey but her recipe is amazingly good.

  8. Those look great! And super cute, too!

  9. as pretty as surely it is delicious!

  10. What a great way to enjoy pumpkin pie in a new way. Love this idea! As always, your food looks amazing and so pretty. :)

    As far as turkey goes, my tried and true recipe is Alton Brown's brined turkey. Here's the link:
    It's always moist and perfectly cooked.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. This sounds like a great recipe! So glad I found it just in time for this weekend's friendsgiving. Just a quick question on the whole milk? Could I substitute almond or soy milk for it instead? I'm allergic to milk but want to be able to enjoy one of these individual pie ramekins too! :)
    Thank you for the recipe and happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  12. What an elegant twist on pumpkin pie...Love the leaves!

  13. Tessa! What a beautiful presentation of pumpkin pie. My husband doesn't like the crust anyway, so I am going to surprise him by making your version this week. Happiest of Thanksgivings to you and your darling family! xox, Emily