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The Thanksgiving season has officially arrived. As of now, I have four Thanksgiving celebrations to attend this November, and checked one of them off the list this past weekend. The hosts of the party were nice enough to provide the main meal, and just asked guest to bring a dessert and drinks. There ended up being about 20 different desserts at a party that had about 30 people at it, but somehow I managed to be the only one that brought some sort of pumpkin pie. What is thanksgiving without pumpkin pie?
I confess I am not really that into pumpkin pie, but it is just one of those things that has to be there on the table at the end of the meal. It's tradition! It's iconic! It's like the much neglected cranberry sauce, Thanksgiving just wouldn't be right without it.
This is a pretty standard, no frills pumpkin pie. I used my now-favorite pate brisee recipe for the crust, and Paula Deen's recipe for the filling (surprisingly it only has 1/2 stick of butter in it! Well the filling at least). Oh yes, and of course I made them miniature, I couldn't help myself. I liked them this way because there was a higher crust-to-filling ratio than a full sized pie. If you are one of those people that typically eats all the filling out of the pie and leaves the crust behind (not that there is anything wrong with that) this may not be the recipe for you.
adapted from Food Network and Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook
Makes about 24 3 1/2 inch tartlets
1 batch pate brisee, rolled out to 1/8 inch thick sheets and chilled (see recipe here)
1 cup pumkpin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 stick of butter (2 tablespoons) melted
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Using a 4 inch round cutter, cut 20-24 circles out of your pre-rolled pate brisee. Line each one of your tarts shells with one of the circles, being careful not to stretch the dough. Freeze lined tart shells for at least 20 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt and beat again until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and yolk, butter, half and half, and beat until combined. Add the vanilla, ginger, and cinnamon and beat just until incorporated.
Line tart shells with tin foil and fill with pie weights (I use beans or rice, whatever I have on hand). Par-bake your shells for about 10-12 minutes until they are just barely starting to brown and have dried out a bit.
Remove from oven, and take out the pie weights and tin foil and add a large spoonfull of the filling into each tart. Reduce oven heat to 350 F and bake for 40-45 minutes, until filling has set and the crust turns a golden brown.
Let cool completely on wire racks before un-molding from tart pans. Serve with fresh whipped cream, or nothing at all.
Here's to many more thanksgiving feasts to come!