If your family is anything like mine, the pie to human ratio on the Thanksgiving table is appallingly equal. In fact, there’s usually also at least one cake present as well to celebrate my Grammie’s late November birthday. Every year, by 6pm, everyone is ready to sink faster than the ship in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. We are all so stuffed that, like the title character in the novel, our reality and fantasy blend together, and we cannot think straight until well into Friday morning.
The real trouble is that we are spoiled for choice. If we commit ourselves to only one slice of pie, we miss out on the other glorious flavors. If we favor apple, we deprive ourselves of pecan, cherry, and pumpkin. Instead of sacrificing pie in the interest of saving our stomachs, perhaps the solution is to shrink the portions. Miniature pies allow for the same variety of flavors but prevent the heaping helpings that bend even the sturdiest of paper plates.
To get a sense of scale:
Pastry measurements are pretty constant, so I just used Martha Stewart’s pie dough recipe plus an extra pinch of sea salt. Click on the link for ingredients and method!
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 pint evaporated milk
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1. Roll out dough to about half centimeter thickness, then fit into tartlet dishes (I found mine at Whole Foods). Blind bake (using ceramic beads) in 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until edges start to turn golden. Remove beads and cook for an additional 7-10 minutes, until entire crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
2. To make filling: whisk all ingredients together. When crusts have cooled, pipe in pumpkin filling to the top of each, leaving a few millimeters so the tartlets don’t overflow.
3. Bake in oven for 25 or so minutes – until a toothpick comes clean out of the middle of the filling.
Enjoy pumpkin tartlets with Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!