Then, I saw the cute little pumpkin pie bites on Bakerella's blog. Perfect - I love pumpkin treats, and I liked that these were finger foods for easy nibbling at the party. A little extra decoration, and these are even more festive! I made my own pie crust instead of using packaged, but that is the only change I made to her recipe. (Check out Bakerella's post for pictures of each step if you want more detail.)
Pumpkin Pie Bites
ala Bakerella; makes 24 bites (see notes at end)
2 pie crusts (see dough recipe below, or use packaged)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. canned 100% pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter (or round shape)
1/2 cup chocolate morsels
re-sealable plastic bags
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Use cookie cutter to cut 12 pumpkin shapes from each pie crust. You will need to roll the dough thinner than it comes out of the box.
3. Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray. (Make 12 at a time, alternating cups to make sure pie crusts don’t overlap each other.)
4. Apply egg whites from one egg to the top edges of each pie.
5. Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined. Spoon mixture into each pumpkin-shaped pie crust.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
7. Remove pies to cool and repeat with second pie crust. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to cool it quickly for re-use. Makes 24 pies. Keep refrigerated.
8. Optional: To decorate, melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave on medium. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Add a little vegetable oil to make the chocolate more fluid. Transfer to a re-sealable plastic bag and cut the corner off. Drizzle or draw faces on pies.
Note: The cutter Bakerella used was 3 3/4 inches wide, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry. Just use a round cutter around that size or slightly smaller to cut circle shapes out of the dough. Then make stems with the scraps. Press each stem over the edge and down the side of the dough before filling.Pastry crust dough (enough for 1 double crust or 2 single crusts)
from Martha Stewart
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (much smaller than peas,but don't let it form a paste), 8 to 10 seconds.
2. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.
I had a couple issues, but nothing show-stopping. First, roll out the dough super thin. I though the ratio of dough-to-filling was way off in my bites, because there was too much dough. Secondly, I think I overfilled my muffin cups, as the filling puffed up a lot more than the pictures on Bakerella's blog, and then sunk way down. The real issue was that it sunk unevenly, which made them hard to decorate. Finally, I would say this filling recipe actually makes enough for 36 bites, maybe even more. I ran out of dough first, so I had to throw at least 1/3 of the batch away. Next time, I will either make more dough, or make less filling. I also think these would be good with the standard pumpkin pie filling (the kind with evaporated milk on the side of the pumpkin can). I might try this in the future; I imagine the baking time might change a little. These would be great for a Thanksgiving get together as well, maybe without the pumpkin faces :) Oh yeah - the most important part of the review: They still tasted great!
Hope you had a happy, safe, and SWEET Halloween!