Mini Pumpkin Pies

I got sent a free turkey.


Turkey is a Thanksgivingy food. Thanksgiving means pie. Pumpkin Pie. I like pie.

I am hosting a Thanksgiving dinner party where this beast of a turkey bird will be served as the main attraction. But as we all know a great show is lacking when there isn't a delicious finale at the end of it.

By finale I mean dessert. The most important meal of all.

My first and only previous experience of pumpkin pie was when my Auntie Rachel made it one year (for Christmas I think). I loved it. It was great. Mum however wasn't so much a fan. She got a bit weirded out by a vegetable (slash actually a fruit) and sugar combination thrown into a sweet pie. To me that sounds excellent. Unfortunately I do not own a decent pie dish. There is only a quiche dish here. Great sadness I know. Then I thought, hey! what's better than a pie? Lots of mini pies! Everything is better in miniature. Like mini bagels. They are amazing.

(I'll tell you how to make the pecan ones tomorrow :))

I found a recipe to sort of follow in my Hummingbird Cookbook (of course). I was feeling lazy as I had a whole tonne of other things I needed to do so I bought some pre rolled sweet crust pastry. Sure it isn't as good as homemade but it sure is easier.

The recipe calls for 424g of tinned pumpkin puree. Last time I checked they don't sell that here. I googled the best way to make my own. The Pioneer Woman helped me out with this one. I baked around 700g of fresh pumpkin and it yielded me bang on 425g. Phew!

Because I was using mini muffin trays to cook these, the pie cases only held half a tablespoon of filling in each one. I only had enough pastry to make 30ish of these (I needed to save the other half of the pastry for my mini pecan pies later) and so I was left with quite a bit of left over filling. That is ok though, i'll just buy some more pastry and make some more later.

Mini Pumpkin Pies
makes 50-60
adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

4 sheets, pre rolled sweet short crust pastry
425g pumpkin puree (see here for instructions)
235ml evaporated milk
220g castor sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon flour
baking spray

mini muffin trays
a tart tamper
a 5cm circle shape you can use as a pastry cutter

Mix together the pumpkin, spices, evaporated milk, sugar, egg and flour with a wooden spoon until a smooth mixture is formed.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees on bake. Generously spray the mini muffin trays with baking spray.

Lightly flour your bench a place on it a defrosted sheet of sweet, short crust pastry.

Using the 5cm circle, cut out circles from the pastry. Using the tart tamper (or your fingers if you don't mind them being all knobbly) press the pastry circle into the mini muffin hole. Make sure there aren't any holes in the base.

Once you have filled up the tray with the cases, spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons (or half a tablespoon) of the pumpkin filling  mixture into each case.

Bake for 17 minutes or until the filling stops wobbling.

Leave to cool for a few minutes before twisting the mini pies in their trays to release them. Leave to cool on a clean tea towel or cake rack. Repeat until you have used up all your pastry and/or filling.

These are best eaten warm but are still delicious the next day. Once they are fully cooled, place them in an airtight container.

My favourite new (borrowed) toy!

My rolling pin for the day.

We made four bigger pies out of the pastry scraps we had
left :) nom!
I know what I am thankful for! That brilliant tart tamper device!


Enjoy! (I know Alix did)

Sophie x

Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Soup

Hello from a frosty Dunedin!

Yesterday (Sunday) was a dreary rainy morning (perfect for studying). It also coincided with the last weekend before exams start. Now dearest Alix is beginning to live at the library (gross) so dinner plans are a bit more fend for yourself than usual. A few weeks ago I bought this massive pumpkin down at the farmers market for $2 and it has been sitting getting hacked away at for various things. So since we (mainly Alix) was in need for nutritious food that wasn't in the form of frozen convenience meals I decided to procrastinate and make pumpkin soup. The funny thing is, is that I don't really like pumpkin soup. Never have. One cup and that will do me for the year. Leek and potato is way better. Anyway, I gave Mum a text and she replied (eventually) with basic instructions for her recipe.

Now this soup is more like add a bit of this and a splash of that. If you like garlic, you add more garlic. If you like curry powder, add more :) In the end I also added a few chopped carrots to bulk and thicken it up a bit.

By roasting your pumpkin first, you get a lovely caramelised flavour developing which just makes it extra tasty (if you like pumpkin soup that is). Also roasting garlic in whole cloves with the pumpkin is awesome. When they come out of the oven you can either peel their skin off or squeeze the gooey garlic pulp out into the soup. You don't get the strong bite of garlic, instead a nice subtle roasted flavour. Mmm mm.

Sophie's Mum's Pumpkin Soup
Makes 13-14 cups

What you will need:

A big stock pot
A food processor, blender or stick blender
A plastic bag

1 large pumpkin
1 bulb of garlic
2 teaspoons curry powder
salt and pepper
10-12 cups chicken stock
40ish grams of butter
2 onions, diced
(2-3 chopped carrots - optional)

Firstly pierce some holes in the top of your pumpkin skin. Place the pumpkin and a small bowl or mug of water in the microwave and microwave on high for about 10 minutes (checking after five or so). This will soften the pumpkin before you chop it, reducing the risk of pre-exam amputation.

Next, chop the pumpkin up into cubes and place in a plastic bag along with a good shake of salt and a good grind of pepper. Splash in some of your best oil, grab the bag around the top and give it a good shake to coat the cubes with oil. Tip the bag contents onto a roasting tray lined with baking paper.

Get your bulb of garlic and split the cloves up and dot them in between the pumpkin pieces.

Bake at 180 degrees for around 40 minutes (more until they are slightly black at the tips and soft in the middle).

Saute your onion and butter in the stock pot until the onion is translucent. Add the curry powder and stir for a minutes to help develop the flavours. Add your pumpkin cubes and squeeze out the garlic into the pot. Stir to coat the pumpkin in the curry powder.

Add your chicken stock and a few thinly chopped carrots (you can roast those too if you want), then leave to simmer for 45ish minutes (I just left mine simmering away while I did some more study.

Once the carrots are cooked through and you think it tastes all right, either use a stick blender, food processor or blender to purée it until the soup is more or less smooth. I personally like my thick soups a little bit chunky.

Pop it back into the pop to heat it up again if you are eating it straight away or leave to cool before transferring into a container. If you are planning on putting it in the fridge or freezer make sure it is completely cool before doing so. Won't take too long in a Dunedin flat kitchen and it prevents you raising the temperature of your fridge (which leads to increased growth rates of pathogens and spoilage organisms such as. . . . sorry micro study haha).

I am a bit of a garlic lover, I added a few more dried garlic
granules to pack some more garlicky punch!

Ok, so my pouring was a little messy . .

Water baths cool them down faster

I have all these left over pottles from work which fit a perfect serving size in them. I managed to get 12 pottles plus one mug of soup for me. I cooled them down in a cold water bath in the sink then froze them. That way when we need a quickie dinner we can just pop one from the freezer into the microwave and bam! 5 minutes to a healthier dinner.

Happy studying! (with soup!)