Mini Pumpkin Pumpkin Pies Failure

pumpkin pie mini pumpkins before baking

So, I guess this isn’t really a recipe review as the pumpkin pie mixture tasted fine.  No, this is my PSA on how not to do pumpkin pie inside mini pumpkins.  Don’t you hate it when you see a fabulous food photo then your effort turns out a colossal failure?  I’m just glad I did a test run before determining whether or not I was going to make these for the family Thanksgiving dinner.

Step 1 – Prepping the pumpkins

This was the most laborious part of the entire baking task – carving and scooping out the mini pumpkins.  Unlike the big jack-o-lantern pumpkins, these suckers were really hard to cut into (seriously, it’s much easier to cut into the big pumpkins).  I’m pretty anal about keeping the knives sharp, but even with sharp blades, I still had to put quite a bit of force into separating the tops of the minis.  I’m glad I chose to do my test run on only four minis.

While carving was the hardest part, scooping clean the minis was no quick task, either.  With the jack-o-lanterns, it really doesn’t matter how cleanly you scoop; I know mine frequently end up with pumpkin goo still inside, but no one’s going to eat it or look closely at it so who cares?  However, these minis were serving as the pumpkin pie vessels (edible if someone wished to eat them); the insides needed to be scraped clean of all goo.  Ever the perfectionist (when I want to be – see above), I spent a lot of time scraping them to ensure the mini pumpkins were container-worthy.

Step 2 – Filling the pumpkins

What…I missed the “mix the pumpkin pie base” step?  Here, read the recipe (not mine), https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/18470/libbys-famous-pumpkin-pie/; I got it off the back of the Libby can of pumpkin.  Like I said, there was no problem with that part of the project.

I didn’t follow the part about cutting the bottoms so the minis would sit flat.  They seemed pretty level to me.  Also, I was wondering how much should be cut because, if you cut too much, you’ve just destroyed the purpose of the mini pumpkin.  Well, clearly the tops weren’t level in this photo:

pumpkin pie mini pumpkins before baking

No worries – it was a test run after all.  I figured they were fine.  I thought they looked pretty good and looked forward to seeing how they turned out after baking.

Step 3 – Baking the pumpkins

The Libby’s can doesn’t give the info for making pumpkin pie tarts (a close approximation, I figured), so I went by the temp and time from this recipe, http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/1051739/pumpkin-pie-inside-pumpkin-recipe, and kept a close eye on them.  I also didn’t feel like unearthing a baking dish so I figured the pizza pan would work just fine (it did).  They seemed to turn out pretty well, I thought.

pumpkin pie mini pumpkins after baking

The filling baked up nicely to the edges of the mini-pumpkin shells.  The mini tops, unfortunately, looked a little worse for wear; I probably should’ve taken them out earlier.  However, they didn’t look too bad after I set them on top of the shells – at least, not for an initial test run.

pumpkin pie mini pumpkins with tops

Step 4 – Chilling the pumpkins

So, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always eaten pumpkin pie chilled.  Also, it’s been one of those wonderful things that can be made in advance, especially when you have ten million other things to take care of on Thanksgiving.  Well, I should’ve read that second recipe I referenced – you know, the one that actually talks about making mini pumpkin pumpkin pies?  They did not. look. good (the poster does state that the filling sets as it cools…I didn’t know that it would set THAT much!).

pumpkin pie mini pumpkins next day

That was some s-a-a-a-a-d mini pumpkin pumpkin pie aftermath!  This was them about 24 hours after baking.  They sank more and more as they cooled; this was about where they stopped.  I decided that these did not pass the quality test for a family Thanksgiving meal dessert (or sharing outside of my home, really).  I was pretty disappointed as I had visions of utter cuteness dancing in my head – individual mini pumpkin desserts for each family member.  Stuck to a regular pumpkin pie that year.

In conclusion

It’s been almost a year since the mini pumpkin pumpkin pie baking debacle.  I’ve had time to reflect.  I think I made the right choice stepping away from this idea but as I’ve had time to consider solutions, I think I might be ready to give them another go (now if I could just find someone to carve and scoop out a dozen or so mini pumpkins!).

#kakainna #minipumpkins #pumpkinpie #bakingfail #socalval

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