The weather here in Cleveland is so confusing! It’s February and the temperature this week has been in the mid 50′s! Where is the snow? The bone-chilling wind? It’s so strange going outside and NOT feeling cold. I’m not complaining though!
My cravings this week have been out of whack as well. I’ve been craving fall flavors, especially pumpkin! I realize that autumn is still months away, but there is no reason why I can’t enjoy my favorite fall treats all year round, right?
The problem is, I haven’t been able to find any canned pumpkin puree at my local grocery stores. I searched high and low for weeks and I FINALLY came across a few (very overpriced) cans of Libby’s, and I immediately snatched one up!
The pumpkin barely made it home though. It’s sort of an embarssing story, but while Ahra and I were carrying our groceries back home, one of the bags ripped and the can of pumpkin rolled into the street. Ahra had to kick it across the street to save it from getting run over. The can was pretty beat up, but thankfully the pumpkin was uncontaminated!
I’ve been enjoying the pumpkin daily in my oatmeal and yogurt, and last night I made these delightful little pumpkin cream pies. The original recipe was for a regular 9-inch pie, but I decided to make individual pies in a muffin tin. Aren’t they just adorable? I love anything in miniature form!
The right thing to do would be to top these little pies with whipped cream, but unfortunately, I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand. So I garnished them with candied pecans and crushed graham crackers, which provided a wonderful crunchy texture contrast to the smooth and creamy filling.
These pies were delicious, but my pumpkin craving still isn’t satisfied! I think I’m going to have to go out and buy some more – even if it does cost me an arm and a leg!
Mini Pumpkin Cream Pies
For the crust:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 1 cup milk (I used nonfat)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/16 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- dash of salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 tablespoon butter, softened
1. Line 12 muffin cups with one 2-inch by 6-inch strip of parchment paper. (The ends will hang over the sides to be used as handles to lift out the pies).
2. To make the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl. Press a heaping tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
3. To make the filling, combine milk, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Heat over medium heat.
4. In a small bowl, beat together egg yolks, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and cornstarch.
5. Gradually whisk 1/4 cup of hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with remaining hot milk. Cook over medium, whisking constantly until heated through and thickened.
6. Remove from heat and immediately stir in pumpkin and butter until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine sieve to remove any lumps.
7. Spoon mixture evenly among the 12 muffin cups, on top of the chilled graham cracker crusts. Refrigerate for several hours or over night. Use parchment paper handles to gently remove pies from muffin tins. Garnish with whipped cream, candied nuts, and/or crushed graham crackers.