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Table Talk » Pumpkin Chiffon Cup Pies

I love pumpkin, but I am not a fan of traditional pumpkin pie. It's the texture of the custardy filling more than the flavor that I dislike.

Last month I found a recipe for pumpkin chiffon tarts in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living. What first appealed to me is that the recipe is for individual tarts. I'm a sucker for individual desserts. I'll happily make mini pies, but I have no interest in making a normal pie. The Martha recipe had a gingersnap crust and a fluffy pumpkin filling, of course I would like it. As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew that I wanted to make it for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the perfect time for both pumpkin and mini desserts.

Although the recipe called for using six 5-inch pie tins, I decided to use a cupcake pan so they would truly be mini pies. I decided not to use sugar in the crust and to use maple sugar in the filling. I also used nonfat milk instead of the whole milk that the recipe called for. Cooling the filling in an ice bath helped reduce the cooling time. Whisking the filling after chilling it improved its texture. Unfortunately, Martha's recipe is not online, so I can't link to it so you can compare it to my version.

I made them on Thanksgiving Eve, and after watching Pushing Daisies later that night, I named them Pumpkin Chiffon Cup Pies. (If you aren't watching Pushing Daisies, you should be. In the 11/21 episode, Chuck decided to create cup pies, mini pies baked in cupcake pans.)

Pumpkin Chiffon Cup Pie


The recipe looks more complicated than it is. It took about 20 minutes to make the crusts and 30 minutes to make the filling. This is the perfect recipe to make the night before you want to serve them.

Pumpkin Chiffon Cup Pies
adapted by Patti Anastasia from Martha Stewart Living

serves 12

32 gingersnaps, coarsely broken
5 tablespoons butter, melted
Pumpkin Chiffon Filling:
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup maple sugar, divided
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

To make the crusts:
Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with sets of foil and paper liners.

Process gingersnaps in food processor until finely ground. Add melted butter and process until combined. Divide mixture among the cupcake cups, pressing into bottoms and up sides. Bake until darkened and firm, 9 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Do not remove the crusts from the pan. When the crusts are cool, cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the filling:
Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in bowl. Let stand until softened.

Combine pumpkin, egg yolks, maple sugar, milk, salt, and spices in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring until mixture begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Scrape mixture into a bowl and place the bowl in an ice bath to cool completely.

When pumpkin mixture is cool. beat egg whites with a mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup maple sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Whisk one-third of beaten egg whites into cooled pumpkin mixture. Gently fold in remaining whites. Refrigerate filling for at least one hour or overnight.

An hour before serving, use a whisk to lightly beat the filling. Spoon the filling into the crusts and refrigerate the cup pies for one hour. When ready to serve, remove the crusts from the cupcake pan. Serve the cup pies in the muffin papers or gently remove them from muffin papers.

Optional: Top with a a dollop of whipped cream.

Posted November 25, 2007 8:56 PM in Recipes, Test Kitchen

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3 Comment(s)

pedro said… (on November 25, 2007 at 23:03 PM #)

Those look super tasty. I like all the variations on pumpkin during the season, so I might have to either try to sneak these in this year, or remember to have them next year. :)

Cindy Barnard said… (on November 26, 2007 at 07:37 AM #)

Oh I am making these this week. I have a sugar pumpkin lingering in my garage and I think anything with gingersnaps is a winner. And like you Patti, I love the mini portions. Think I'll make a batch and share with my clients, thus saving Dan and me from "pig-dom". Thanks. This is such a great site!
Not sure about the maple sugar.....real maple sugar? Not syrup? If so, not sure where to get that.

Patti said… (on November 26, 2007 at 07:45 AM #)

Cindy, the Martha recipe said that if you use homemade pumpkin puree to let it sit in a colander for an hour before using to drain out excess water.

I think maple sugar is just evaporated maple syrup. I got a jar of it in a Christmas basket last year. I just happened to see it when I reached in the cabinet for something else, so I used it. It came from a local sugar house. I haven't looked for it in the grocery store, so I don't know if it is available. If you can't find it, regular sugar will be fine. The maple sugar doesn't have a strong maple flavor.

Have fun making these.


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