Sunday, October 10, 2010

Personal Pumpkin Pies

I am in no way advocating a dismissal of Grandmama’s Pumpkin Pie, or any other favorite family recipe for that classic fall dessert. But there may be a day when you need pumpkin pie, either to fulfill an obligation, help out a friend in need on short notice, or quench an incurable craving, and there just won’t be time for the real, homemade thing. That’s when these little treats will make your day.

I’m talking about a recipe I tried recently from the blog Baking Bites. It’s for cupcakes that are made basically of pumpkin pie filling with just enough flour and leavening to make a bit of a crust on their outer edges. They are so easy, you have almost no excuses not to make them. Never baked anything before in your life? Try these. Had bad experiences baking in the past and are afraid to even approach your oven? Brave the kitchen again with these. Bored enough to be just loafing around on the Internet and lingering on this page? Make these now.

When these first cooled down to room temperature (or just above. I was impatient.), they were okay, as in just okay. I chilled them as suggested in the original recipe and everything changed. The cupcakes sink in the middle as they cool (which makes a nice little well for whipped cream) and when they’re chilled, they firm up into a sort of dumpling consistency that might even be considered on its way to cheesecake. They can easily be eaten out of hand, although a fork will help keep the whipped cream in check a bit if you decide to go that route.

Really, there’s nothing more to these little, baby, personal pumpkin pies than whisking together the wet ingredients, whisking together the dry ingredients (or sifting them if you want), whisking the wet and dry together, scooping them into papered muffin tins and baking. It takes much longer to cool and chill them than to mix and bake them. And if you’re not inclined to self-control, it will take even less time to eat them all. If you’re particularly inclined to self-control, or want to make these more than a day or two before you need them, they also freeze well.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
Adapted from Baking Bites

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
3/4 cup half and half
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin, or 15 ounces homemade pumpkin puree
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Whisk together to mix well and ensure there are no lumps. Set aside.

2. In another medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Add the half and half and beat well. Add the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk together until well-combined and very smooth.

3. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk together until smooth.

4. Line a 12-cup muffin/cupcake pan with paper liners. Spoon about 1/3 cup batter into each lined cup. Bake at 350 F 20-25 minutes or until the top and edges appear well set. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan. They will sink in the middle as they cool. When the cupcakes are cool, cover and chill. Serve cold with sweetened whipped cream.

Makes 12 servings. Can be frozen by wrapping and sealing in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.

Another recipe like this one: Grandmama’s Pumpkin Pie

One year ago: Chorizo and Chipotle Chili

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