As many of you know, the Bruin Mommy has an incredibly optimistic outlook on my cooking and baking abilities (that usually surpasses my own, except in the case of my first Apple Pie Crust when she was very wrong about how delicious my crust would be). The great part of this is that she encourages me to try anything. The bad part of this is that she occasionally throws out ridiculous suggestions like "Wouldn't it be great if you made miniature pumpkin chiffon pies? Then, people wouldn't feel full and they could try multiple desserts."
What I should have said was "NO, it would not be great if I made miniature pumpkin chiffon pies! It would be an incredible waste of time to end up with a small pie that is actually larger than a slice of pie that I cut myself if I want to try multiple desserts and isn't everyone we know responsible enough to be in control of there own dessert destiny?!" But what I actually said was, "Maybe, that could be cool. I'll test it on some of my friends." And that my dear readers is when I fell down the proverbial rabbit hole.
To be honest, if you are going to insist upon miniaturizing desserts this is a great dessert to do it with because it requires that you cook the filling separate of the crust so you have to make minimal adjustments to your baking time and ensure the same flavor and consistency without much effort. However, it is an enormous pain in the rear to miniaturize desserts in general and I would pick a regular size pie or cake over 98% of smaller desserts (Sprinkles cupcakes are a notable exception to this rule).
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
(you can substitute the graham cracker crumbs with gingersnap crumbs for a delicious kick, which is what I do when I make the full-size version of this pie)
First, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar.
Next, add melted butter to graham cracker crumb and sugar mix.
Stir until it resembles damp cornmeal.
Spoon crumbs into cupcake pan.
Press crumb mixture up the side of each cupcake section to create mini pie crust.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until mini pie crusts are slightly browned.
Word to the wise, if for whatever reason you're going to attempt this I strongly recommend using parchment paper in each little cupcake divot. Getting the miniature pies out of the cupcake pan was quite a battle especially once they've been refrigerated with the pie filling to help them set. I used a non-stick pan and it offered little to know help in the pie removal process, so learn from my mistakes. Better yet, really learn from my mistake and don't make these!
If you are continuing to ignore my warnings, what you'll need for the filling:
1 Envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
3/4 cup Milk
2 Egg yolks; lightly beaten
1 cup Canned pumpkin
2 Egg whites; beat until stiff peaks form
1/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Whipped cream
Combine gelatin, 1/2 cup of sugar, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg in a saucepan. Stir in milk, egg yolks and pumpkin.
Cook over medium heat until thick.
Chill saucepan in refrigerator until partially set—about 1 hour.
In a bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Fold in 1/2 cup of whipped cream.
Fold egg white mixture into filling.
Pour filling into mini pie crusts and chill for at least 1 hour.
Just before serving, top with remaining whipped cream. I piped the whipped cream into these little designs, but you could easily just go with a small dollop on each pie. The piping definitely confirmed my loathing of this miniature dessert process.
Next week, I'll be sharing a pumpkin dessert that is great for the holidays and that won't make you want to rip your hair out when you're finished making it : ) For now, just be glad that I saved you the trouble of making these pies. The flavor might be delicious, but you can achieve the exact same flavor with a 9" pie crust and save yourself a boatload of angst.