For eating, sharing, enjoying the company of friends and family and celebrating and giving thanks for all of the blessings that we receive in our lives.
I LOVE pumpkin Pie, when it’s cooked perfectly and with an a smooth ,non-mushy custard filling. I found a recipe in ” Celia Lee’s Centennial Baking Book”, another of those amazing paperback pamphlet-size vintage cookbooks that I scored at a garage sale in Cortland New York. It is kept together with a spiral of metal in the binding, and boasts of several full-color photographs and many black and white renderings of baking utensils. The pages are yellowed as are many books of this era, and the best recipes were highlighted in large yellow boxes . I guess the pumpkin pie wasn’t one of the best.
Although the book is fun to look at and most of the recipes are better than some of our more conventional, re-constructed recipes, I have re-vamped the recipe to add more depth of flavor and have heated the filling to cut down on the baking time. I also blind-baked the pie crust so that the bottom stayed crispy. These are most definitely the BEST mini pumpkin pies I have ever eaten. But I am warning you, just because they are small does NOT mean you will eat less. BECAUSE they are so flippin cute, I downed at least four or five. I used small vintage children’s toy pie tins to create these, but you could alternatively use small false-bottom tart tins or Barquette molds ( as seen in the picture below). These would make a really fun alternative to one single pumpkin pie and would be sweet on a buffet table as part of your Thanksgiving spread,or on a vintage glass pedestal or tiered pastry stand.
Immediately after this recipe is another sequel of Norbert and Priscilla, my Vintage doll and Steiff teddy Bear sharing their Thanksgiving pie. It’s a cute one, so don’t skip it!
Perfect Cream Cheese Pie Crust
This recipe does not contain water; it’s not a mis-print! The cream cheese contains enough water to compensate. Don’t be afraid! It’s a buttery, flaky crust…I promise!
1-1/2 Cups All-Purpose, unbleached flour
2 Tbls Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbls Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into small chunks
3 Ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese, cold and cut into small chunks
- Place the flour,sugar,and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process for 45 seconds to one minute.
- Place the butter and cream cheese into the processor and pulse the mixture until the dough begins to gather into a mass on the side of the bowl. Remove the dough and finish it by slightly squeezing it together. Do not knead the dough, or the dough will form gluten and become tough. Pat the dough into a large flat ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour, and up to four hours.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll out slightly thinner than you would for a regular-sized pie. If the dough is too thick, the crust won’t be crisp.
- Cut out some mini leaves using small leaf cutters and bake separately for about 8-10 minutes. Watch them carefully because they can burn quickly. Set aside for a garnish later.
- Place the dough into lightly greased ( shortening) small pie tins or tart molds using various sized round cookie cutters to form the circles. Using a crimping tool, pinch the crimper on the edge of the crust all around the edge of the mini pies. this crimper gave the mini pies a perfect to-scale crimp, which is difficult to achieve without it. Place small pieces of parchment paper inside the mini pie shells and fill with beans, pie weights or pennies ( I used silver dragees for mine because they were small and they can be re-used).
- Bake the crusts in the oven for 15 -18 minutes or until browned slightly, remove from the oven and proceed by filling the hot crusts with hot custard. continue as directed below.
Perfect Pumpin Pie Filling
1- 1/2 Cups Pumpkin Puree
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
1 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 C. Light or Dark Brown Sugar ( dark if you prefer more of a molasses flavor)
4 large Eggs
- Whisk together the Pumpkin Puree, salt, and spices together in a large bowl.
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the heavy cream, brown sugar and eggs. Whip briefly to combine ingredients. Place the saucepan on the stove and cook on medium heat while constantly stirring, until the pumpkin custard begins to bubble around the edges and then remove from the heat.
Immediately pour the hot mixture into the hot mini pie tins and tart molds using a small measuring cup and place the tarts on a foil-covered sheet pan or cookie sheet.
Bake the mini pies approximately 20-24 minutes or until the crusts are browned and the custard still appears a bit jiggly in the center.
- Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Chill one hour.
- Whip 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with 1/3 cup brown sugar until medium stiff peaks form, add 1/2 tsp vanilla, whip until stiff enough to pipe. Pipe rosettes around the edge of the pie ( I made six rosettes using a small star tip). Garnish the middle with the leaves. Serve
Norbert the bear could hardly believe his luck…his best friend Priscilla stopped by his house to deliver the yummiest looking Pumpkin Pie ever. It was thick and bright orange with pretty little pastry leaves on top.
Priscilla told Norbert: ” Now Norbert, I am returning at 2 O,Clock for our Thanksgiving dinner with all of our friends, can you keep your paws off the pie until then?”.
Norbert LOVED pie, in fact, it was the one thing he could not resist.
Norbert turned his face down and slowly closed his eyes. The last time they were together for a summer picnic, Norbert polished off three quarters of a peach pie in less than one hour. Norbert replied: ” Yes Priscilla, I will be good. I will try really hard not to eat the pie”
Priscilla smiled sympathetically at Norbert and gave Norbert a big hug. She knew this would be very difficult for him. Priscilla left and Norbert sat down with his cup of milk tea.
Several minutes passed, and Norbert thought: ” What if I just LOOK at the pie, and maybe give it a whiff?”
He tentatively and slowly walked over to his kitchen counter with his paws behind his back. Norbert was short and sometimes had trouble reaching his sugar canister in the morning. He liked his morning Earl Grey.
There was the pie, the pumpkin custard glistening. He took a long deep whiff and could smell the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Then he could smell the buttery crust. A small rumble came from his tummy and he realized he hadn’t eaten his oatmeal that morning. He was busy watching the Macy’s Day Parade.
He gave the pie a closer look and realized it was missing something; Whipped cream!
“Yes” he said, it needs a special touch. So he climbed up onto the counter and pulled the pie closer to him
carrying his pie
Norbert reached into the refrigerator and took out the whipped cream he had left over from an ice cream sundae he had the day before. He piped small rosettes of whipped cream around the edge of the pie. It looked just beautiful! and it smelled even better. ”Let’s see” he thought to himself, “there are five coming for dinner, but there are six pieces of pie….Surely if I have just one slice, it will be okay right?”. So he sliced one piece for himself and sat back down to enjoy it
It was SOOOOO delicious! SO….. He sat down with the remaining pie…and….
Licked just a small bit of whipped cream off of one more of the swirls on top of the pie…his tummy rumbled again.He wanted another small slice, but what would Priscilla think? He would just bake another pie before Priscilla arrived and she would never know.
Norbert could not resist eating the rest of the glorious pie..all that was left were some crumbs and a smidgen of whipped cream on the spoon. ” what have I done?” he thought. He was sad that he let Priscilla down again. He felt very full and very guilty.
Norbert tried to recreate the pie but it was no use, it just didn’t look like Priscilla’s..she would know it wasn’t hers. He would have to tell her the truth when she arived.
What Norbert did not know is that Priscilla knew Norbert would not be able to resist the pie and later that day when she arrived she had another pie, just like the last. She hugged Norbert and told him that this Thanksgiving she was thankful for a friend who loved her pies SOOO much that he could eat a whole one all by himself. Norbert blushed and Priscilla hugged him. Norbert told her that he was blessed to have such a wonderful friend…one who baked him the most glorious pies EVER!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
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- Featured in ” Where Women Cook” Autumn, 2012
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- The Vintage Motherload!
- Miniature Croissants for Easter-Marions Vintage Bakeshop
- Miniature Cinnamon Rolls and Caramel Rolls-Marion’s Vintage Bakeshop
- Miniature Buche De Noel-Marion’s Vintage Bakeshop
- Miniature Gingerbread House-Marion’s Vintage Bakeshop
- Miniature Pumpkin Pies-Marion’s Vintage Bakeshop
- Cupcake Cereal and Nostalgia
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