Itsy bitsy Pumpkin Pies

20131105-193419.jpg I have never made pies, full-sized or mini. Don't get me wrong, I love pie. I want nothing more than to be able to form a perfectly flakey crust with a beautifully woven top. But honestly, I've always thought it was pretty time consuming. Just haven't been up to the challenge until this year.

However, Thanksgiving is around the corner! So I decided to give it a go... starting off with tiny little pies that fit in the palm of your hand. Perhaps this is a new chapter for me. Now I just want to try and make as many pies & mini pies as possible. If you're a pie novice like me, this is a great recipe to get your feet wet. Plus, they are pretty freaking adorable. Bring them to your next potluck. Wrap them up in little treat bags and gift them - force them onto your friends (like I do with all of my blog post foods). Or serve them with some whipped cream on top & a spot of tea for a party of one!

Ingredients: (crust) 1/2 cup butter (melted) 2 cups crushed graham crackers 1/2 cup brown sugar

(pumpkin pie filling) 2 cups pumpkin puree 1/2 cup milk 2 eggs 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon clove 1/4 teaspoon ginger 2 tablespoons cinnamon lemon zest

For the crust: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Melt butter over low heat and set aside. You can crush the graham crackers with a food processor. I just put them in a ziploc bag and crushed them by hand. (I was catching up on a couple episodes of Blacklist...) Mix the brown sugar & graham crackers into the melted butter until well-incorporated. I found it easier to knead everything together with my hands. Messy? Yes. Effective? Yes. I used silicone baking cups (used for cupcakes) to form the crust. Line a cupcake pan with the silicone cups. Scoop a spoonful of the graham cracker mixture into the cup. Use your hands to press the mixture into the bottom/sides of the cup, forming a shell. Don't be afraid to use a little elbow grease! You want a somewhat dense shell, something sturdy! Fill all cups and form shells!

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Note: I actually forgot to par bake my crusts in my initial run of this recipe. They turned out fine, but I'm sure the crust would have been crispier had I par-baked. Next time, I will definitely bake the crusts before filling them for about 10 minutes. If you want to give it a try, please do and let me know how it goes!

For the pie filling: Easy. Combine everything in a mixing bowl. Whisk together so that there are no lumps and everything is fully incorporated.

Assemble & Bake! Scoop the pie filling into your graham cracker crust cups! Leave about half an inch of space. Into the oven for about 15 minutes! Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 35-40 minutes. The consistency of the pie filling should be firm, but still a teensy but wobbly. Remove silicone cups from pan and set on a cooling rack. The pies will continue to set as they cool. Enjoy at room temperature with whipped cream!

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More pies coming soon. Blueberry? Apple? Peach? My aim is to make the perfect pies for our Thanksgiving feast. And I don't know, someone told me that practice makes perfect or something. But who the hell knows if that's true. Time to put in my 100,000 hours!

Miran