Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Pielets

I have a thing for deconstructed desserts.

I also have a thing for turning traditional desserts into single serving desserts.

I'm hosting Thanksgiving at my apartment this year (eek!) and as I was planning my menu a thought occurred to me.  Why couldn't I perform a simple deconstruction of pumpkin pie, thereby making it healthier and easier to prepare?! Well I could, and I did.

Recipe and commentary after the break.

Pumpkin Pielets
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce can) evaporated low-fat milk
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin, such as Libby's
4-6 6-ounce porcelain ramekins

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth.
3. Fill ramekins with approximately 3/4 to 1 cup of pie filling.
4. Place ramekins in preheated oven and bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.
5. Decrease temperature to 350 degrees F and bake until the center no longer jiggles, approximately 30 minutes.
Note: You may have extra filling. It can be stored in a plastic container in the refrigerator for a few days.

1/2 package of pie dough, refrigerated, from a mix or homemade

1. Using a small pumpkin shaped cookie cutter, cut dough into pumpkin shapes.
2. Bake as instructed.

Note: You will have extra pumpkin shaped dough cutouts. It's up to you what you want to do with them. I stuck mine in the freezer to save them for a later day since making this is so simple.

The filling is simple to prepare and takes mere moments. Make sure you leave at least 1/2" from the top of the ramekin. The pumpkin pie filling will bubble up a bit and you don't want your oven to be a disaster! Once the centers are no longer jiggly (if the centers still wiggle like Jell-O, they're not done) remove them from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. If you did not put the ramekins on a cookie sheet (or other pan), please be very careful removing them from the oven. They are very hot!

I cut out the pie dough while the pielets were in the oven, and baked them while the pielets were cooling. As noted above, you're going to have extras. Like all of my other baking extras, I keep them in the freezer until they're needed again. This actually works out well since the pie filling recipe provides extra and can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. It makes tossing together a hearty, healthy single serving dessert a breeze.