Pumpkin pie. Pecan Pie. Some sort of fruit Pie. That’s typically what pops into one’s mind when they think of the Thanksgiving dessert table. Yes, table. Growing up, we visited my family in middle Georgia and for dessert there was a TABLE filled with an array of desserts. And for a little kid peering down the long church borrowed folding table, it was a buffet of sweet and udder deliciousness meant for my tiny tummy. My Aunt Kathy, which I’ve mentioned in one of my previous posts, was a hell of a cook. Everything she made was comfort food at its finest. Buttery. Rich. Indulgent. Delicious. How could it be anything but delicious when it was being made by the hands of the sweetest woman on earth?
When I was thinking of pies to make this season my mind immediately went back to all three of the pies I mentioned above. The pumpkin recipe on the back of the Libby’s pumpkin can has always been a dependable recipe. The same goes for the ol’ faithful recipe for pecan pie located right on the Karo syrup bottle. The only exception I made with the pecan pie (after reading several other versions) of pecan pie was to cook the sugar and syrup before adding it to the recipe as opposed to just stirring everything together and pouring it in a pie shell. I also wanted to do a homemade crust for each.
The crust I used for all three mini pies was the same I used for my Southern Tomato Pie which is an awesome crust by Alton Brown that uses both lard and butter. It is the flakiest, richest, butteriest crust that’ll ever touch your tongue. And believe me, it won’t be there long.
I used muffin tins that make 12 muffins per tin and are about 3 inches in diameter. The pie crust will come up the tin only about half way, making a truly “mini” pie. The pecan and apple pies both benefit from a knife being run around the edges slightly to help loosen the baked on sugar. Once all of the pies have cooled completely they will release fairly easy from the greased muffin tin using the edge of a butter knife or a spoon.
6 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Lard
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
1/4 Cup Water, Iced
Make sure your fats (in this case your lard and butter are super cold…like put in the freezer cold). Mix Flour, Salt, and Sugar in bowl of food processor. Add in butter and pulse until butter is in pea sized clumps. Add lard and pulse just a couple of times until it is in small chunks as well. Through food processor feeder slowly add half the water and pulse a couple of times. If it’s still super dry, add rest of water.
Once it’s looking like the dough in the video you can watch here, remove it from the food processor and put it in a Ziploc bag. Gently shape it into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes. I left mine in the fridge for about an hour while I prepared everything else. The picture to the right is of a perfectly golden brown crust after it’s baked in the oven.
Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Mini’s
This recipe makes enough filling for about 25 mini pies! I doubled the recipe on the pie crust for this recipe.
Double recipe of Pie Dough/Divided
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
2 large eggs
1 Can (15 oz.) Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 Can (12 oz.) Carnation Evaporated Milk
Mix sugar and spices in bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar spice mix. Gradually add in milk. Put filling to side.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Spray a nonstick 12 count muffin pan lightly with cooking oil. Working with one recipe of dough at a time, roll out pastry to 1/8″ thickness. Keep the other dough in the fridge until ready to use. It’s much easier to work with cold dough versus warm dough. Using a cookie cutter ( 3 1/2″ – 4″ diameter) (or cup, or lid, or whatever you’ve got on hand with about the same diameter) cut out your pastries. You’ll probably only get 8 or 9 in the first go, so carefully gather your dough and roll it out again to get your remaining discs. If you need to refrigerate the dough again to firm it back up, feel free to do so now. Gently press each into the molds. Using a small measuring cup gently pour the pumpkin filling into each mold almost to the edge of the crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 350° and bake another 10 minutes until set.
This pie uses the ingredients exactly as they are written by Karo Corn Syrup. The method of preparing is only slightly different. This makes about 15 mini pecan pies.
1 Cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
1 Cup Sugar, granulated
2 Tablespoons, butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 cups pecans,chopped.
15 Additional pecan halves for decorating (optional)
Spray muffin tins with a nonstick cooking spray. Roll out dough to 1/8″ thickness. Using a cookie cutter gently cut out circles to form pies. Heat corn syrup and sugar in a sauce pot until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Beat eggs in medium sized bowl. Add butter to hot mixture and either let cool to room temperature or temper sugar into eggs slowly to avoid cooking eggs. Stir in extract and pecans. Using a small measuring cup, gently scoop the batter into the pie shells, filling almost to the tip top. Top each with a pecan half. Bake at 350° for 15 to 17 minutes or until filling is set. If you’re using a thermometer the temp should be 200° or you can insert a knife gently near the middle and it will come out clean when they are done cooking.
Pear Walnut Mini Pie:
This recipe makes 12-15 mini apple pies. I top each with a walnut half before baking.
7 Bartlett Pears, Peeled and Sliced (about 6 cups)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
1/2 Cup Walnuts, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Flour
Mix together both sugars and all spices and salt. In stock pot melt butter. Add Pears and sugar mixture and gently stir. Bring to a simmer and sprinkle over flour. Bring back to simmer and stir gently for a minute or two until thickened. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temp.
Roll out Pie Crust to 1/8″ and cut out rounds using a cookie cutter. Grease muffin tins and line with pie crust. Gently spoon in cooled filling and top with a walnut half.
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Lower oven temp to 350 and cook 25 to 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from muffin tin.
The pumpkin mini pies are delicious (and additive) and the recipe by Libby’s is pretty much no fail. You can always add a little more spice if you feel the need but it’s unnecessary. The pear and walnut pies are perfect lil bites of Autumn flavors with a bit of crunch from the walnuts. By far though, my favorite and family’s as well, were the pecan pies. This recipe has the perfect ratio of filling to pie crust. The pie crust is so rich and the filling so heavenly and sweet. We loved the added crunch from the pecans. Those were the first to be eaten. I may double the recipe next time so there’s more to go around.
When you think of Fall and desserts and family gatherings, what desserts in particular pop in your head? Have you ever tried your hand at a home made pie crust? It’s so worth it. To be able to handle the dough. Feel it squish between your fingers. Roll it out. Watch it go from some flour and butter to the tastiest little thing you’ve ever popped in your mouth! If you’ve never made one, what’s holding you back? Comment down below:)