I love everything about Thanksgiving.
The big gatherings of family and friends. Remembering all of the reasons we have to be thankful throughout the year. Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The table settings and the decorations and the food. ALL of the food.
I even love braving the crowds at the grocery store. Call me crazy, but give me two hours alone without kids and I can make a trip to Whole Foods on the Sunday before Thanksgiving feel like a day at the spa. Why yes, I WILL sample all six wines you’ve chosen for the holiday. There’s brie en croute with cranberry chutney to go with that? Give me all. of. the. things.
But my favorite thing about Thanksgiving is the fact that it rings in the holiday season.
I woke up this past Sunday morning and I could FEEL it. THE HOLIDAYS HAVE BEGUN!
I’ve already queued up my favorite Christmas playlist on Spotify, and you better believe it’s been playing on repeat this whole week while I’ve been working in the kitchen. (Just don’t tell my husband. He has a strict “no Christmas music before Thanksgiving” policy.)
My Christmas shopping is already halfway done. My Christmas cards are designed and sitting patiently in my shopping cart (you know you wait all year for those Black Friday online sales, too!)
And with these pumpkin pie bites, I’ve officially started my holiday baking!
I made these little cuties for my son’s preschool Thanksgiving feast this week, and they were a HUGE hit with the five-and-under crowd. There were about half a dozen of them missing when I dropped them off at school this morning, so I think it’s safe to say that they are also a hit with the adults (ahem, husband, ahem).
I love these because they’re so poppable and portable. No plate or fork required.
And they solve the age-old problem of how to sample every dessert on the table at a holiday gathering. You want to try all five pies, but you hate being THAT person who cuts one slice of pie into four tiny pieces because you “just want a taste.”
They’re also super simple to throw together, so you still have plenty of time to add them to your Thanksgiving table.
I promise you won’t have any leftovers!
Pumpkin Pie Bites
Start to finish: 2 hours
Makes 4 dozen mini pies
For the pie crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water
For the pumpkin filling
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can evaporated milk
For the pie crust
Spray 2 mini muffin tins with baking spray; set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter (make sure it’s cold!), and process until the butter is broken up into pea-sized pieces, 8 to 10 seconds.
With food processor running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together. If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour.
Roll out pie dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch circle or flower cookie cutter, cut out 24 pieces. You may have to gather up your scraps of dough and roll it out again–this is fine!
Gently press each shape into the muffin tin wells. Place in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.
For the pumpkin filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs. Add sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, and pumpkin; whisk to combine. Gradually mix in evaporated milk. Stir until evenly combined.
Remove muffin tins from the refrigerator, and fill each crust with approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling (do not fill all the way to the top).
Place in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is just set (test for doneness with a toothpick–it should come out clean).
Remove from the oven. Allow to cool in the tins for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Top with pie crust shapes, whipped cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice). Serve room temperature or chilled. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days (add whipped cream right before serving).