Pumpkin. You love it or you hate it.
Me? I'm a lover. I adore anything pumpkin. Peter? Not so much. However, a couple years ago, we visited our local farmer's market and met these wonderful pie makers. I wish I could remember their name... Anyway, they had these amazing tiny pies that combined the best of pumpkin and pecan pies into one divine bite. The pastry shell was filled halfway with ground gingersnaps and pecans and then it was topped with pumpkin custard. And guess what? Peter loved them! He liked the maximum of crust and the minimum of pumpkin. So, for the past couple years, I have been attempting to recreate them. This year, I got pretty close. It is definitely a multi-step process, but they are really quite simple.
I started with Martha Stewart's pate brisee for the crust, but you could use any recipe—the store bought refrigerated stuff works great, too. I halved the recipe, since I only made about ten mini pies. I rolled it to about 1/8"-1/4", and used a 5" scalloped circle cutter. (You could easily use a bowl or cup to cut them out, if you don't have a cutter.) Next, I lightly coated a regular size muffin tin with cooking spray, and pushed in the circles of crust.
Next step was pulsing 1 cup of gingersnaps with 1/2 cup or so of pecans or walnuts in the food processor. (The exact proportions don't really matter.) I mixed in a few tablespoons of melted butter and pressed about 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture into the bottom of each crust. If you end up with extra crumb mixture, you can always store it in the freezer and use it later. It would be an awesome crust for a key lime pie...
Finally, I topped each pie with a couple tablespoons of pumpkin pie filling. I used the recipe from the Libby's pumpkin can. I'm the official pumpkin pie maker on my side of the family at Thanksgiving, so I just used some leftover filling.
I have these adorable leaf cookie cutter/punches from Williams-Sonoma (similar to these), so I always like to use them as a finishing touch. These cutters are absolutely foolproof, and are on my shortlist of favorite things in the whole world. I even bought a set of matching winter-themed cutters. Can't wait to try those out...
Anyway, back to the pies. I baked the leaves and acorns separately from the pies and just assembled them at the end. This ensured a crispy, clean top crust.
And here you have the finished product.
Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and are enjoying your leftovers. We're down to a piece of pecan pie and half a pan of green bean casserole. Poor green bean casserole. It always sticks around. Unlike these pies, which didn't survive the day.