Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes - Great Thanksgiving Dessert!

It's my husband's "year" for Thanksgiving, meaning we will be joining his family for the holiday this year. This means we get to drive 3 hours away and there will be something like 22 people there. It's a far cry from the Thanksgiving with my family, where there are maybe 10 people and it's less than 10 minutes away from my house. But, it must be done.

We go to my husband's Aunt's house and this year everyone needs to pitch in a little bit more because this poor woman tore her Achilles Tendon over the summer and can't really stand long enough to do much cooking. She asked us to do a dessert, which is fine, because I was thinking of doing that anyway.

I saw THIS recipe about a month back and thought it looked intriguing. Not particularly for me, because I HATE pumpkin, but my husband loves it and so do some members of his family. This recipe was different for sure, so I tested it out this past weekend.

The girl who made up this recipe is obviously a much better baker than I am and she made the cupcakes from scratch. I didn't! I had to cheat and use cake mix (it's just easier for me) but I did add some special touches of my own. Once they were completed I had my husband taste test them as well as my neighbors. They fared well, so I will definitely make them to bring up to Thanksgiving.

Here is what I used and how I made the cupcakes...


Pre-made refrigerated pie crust dough
Pure pumpkin (15 oz)
Evaporated milk
ground cinnamon
ground ginger
ground cloves
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs
Cake mix (or your favorite recipe to make cupcakes from scratch)
3 more eggs (based on my cake mix)
marshmallow fluff


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Take a mini cupcake pan and gently spray each cup.

Roll out your dough and cut circles that can cover the cup in the pan - bottom and sides. Like the girl from the original recipe suggested, I used a small juice glass opening and it turned out to be the perfect size.

Line the cups with the circles of dough.

Prepare your filling - I use Libby's pure pumpkin and the recipe for the pumpkin mix is right on the can but you mix all the dry ingredients (sugar, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and a pinch of salt). Then you add the pumpkin and the eggs - well beaten. Slowly add in the evaporated milk and stir until smooth.

Fill your little pie cups - only halfway since they will expand as they cook. But if you want bigger "pie bites" fill them up!

Bake these for 7 minutes at 425 degrees F, and then lower the oven to 350 degrees F and bake them for another 10 minutes or so, until the crust is brown and the filling is completely set.

Take them out of the oven and let them cool on a wire rack in the muffin pan...once cool, take them out and set them aside as you make your cupcake batter.

In my case, I just used boxed cake mix. I used white cake and mixed the eggs and water in, along with the applesauce. I prefer to use applesauce instead of the oil they recommend, because it's a little healthier and lighter. I use the exact same amount of applesauce for the amount of oil they ask for.

Once the batter was whipped up, I sprinkled in some cinnamon and nutmeg for a little extra flavor - but not overwhelmingly so.

Line regular muffin pans with baking cups. Put 1 tablespoon of batter in the bottom of each cup and then gently put a pie bite in the middle. Do not press the pie bite down to the bottom.

Put another heaping tablespoon of cupcake batter in each cup - make sure the pie bite is completely covered.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes until cupcakes are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.

Once my cupcakes were cooled, I used marshmallow fluff as my "icing" and smeared it on the top of each cupcake.

I then mixed plain white frosting with unsweetened cocoa powder and yellow food coloring to get a tan effect and used a piping bag to make the top of the cupcake look like a little pie.

On some cupcakes, I placed a candied pecan on the top.

I really hope my husband's family will enjoy these little creations!

I also made some "cherry" pies the same way, using cherry pie filling in the pie bites instead of pumpkin. They came out well, and I just used regular frosting on top - no marshmallow fluff. I will also be making a batch of some sort of fruit pie for Thanksgiving for the non pumpkin eaters like myself. I am just trying to decide between blueberry pies and strawberry pies.

I wish I had the talents of the girl who made this original recipe - they were so fancy - but as I previously mentioned, my husband is the baker in the family. While his shoulder is recuperating, I am filling in, and people will have to make due with plain old cake mix :-)

Happy Thanksgiving Cooking everyone!!

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