I don’t know if the concept of the “cup pie” was invented by the fabulous (yet tragically prematurely axed) show Pushing Daisies, or just popularized by it, but the idea seems to have caught on, and more and more cup pie recipes are turning up each month.
Cup pies are mini-pies baked in a muffin tin. I love them because my favorite part of a pie is the crust. With cup pies, you get more crust per serving. Also, they are also such cute single-serving pie desserts! You don’t have to pull out a pie and cut it (maybe cutting a bigger piece than you should). You just pop one on the plate. I’m looking forward to bringing these to pot lucks and dinner parties this holiday season, where people can just pluck a mini-pie off a big stacked tray.
This cup pie recipe I came up with is a tribute to one of my favorite shows and my favorite holidays. I will probably spend a few blustery nights this October curled up on the sofa, watching Pushing Daisies on blue-ray while eating my pumpkin cup pies. Enjoy!
Ingredients (makes about 10 cup pies):
Double pie crust pastry (see my Cinnamon Pie Crust recipe at the end of this article, or you can use your own favorite recipe or store-bought pastry)
Pumpkin pie filling for a 9 inch pie (see my Spice Autumn Pumpkin Pie recipe at the end of this article, or use your own favorite recipe or a pre-made canned pumpkin pie mix)
6 oz coarsely chopped pecans
6 oz butterscotch morsels (mini-morsels are best)
Optional- semi-sweet chocolate morsels (full sized are best)
If the pastry dough is frozen, defrost it in the fridge overnight. You want it chilled, but not hard.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cup Pie Recipe Directions:
Sprinkle flour or lay plastic wrap on the counter. Cut off about 1/3 piece of dough. Flour the rolling pin (or cover the dough with more plastic) and roll out the pie pastry in a rectangular sheet, about 1/8 inch thick.
Cut circles of dough, approximately 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Place these rounds in the cups of a muffin pan. Fold them inward to ensure they line the bottom. Gently press the pastry around the sides of the cup to flatten the overlapping folds. Cut away excess so there is about ½ inch of crust hanging over the top edge of the muffin cup.
Keep rolling out pastry to make more rounds until it’s all gone. How many you actually get will depend on your crust recipe and how deep your muffin tin cups are.
For each cup pie, crimp the edges of the dough. Alternately, fold the little lip down, press the edges gently against the pan with a fork to flatten them all the way around. Put them in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill and harden them.
Mix the pecans and the butterscotch morsels. Spoon about 1 to 1 ½ tbsp of this mixture into each cup. Just cover the bottom of each, you don’t want it to stack too high. Put them in the oven and bake them for 12 minutes.
Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Spoon in your pumpkin pie filling almost all the way to the top of the crust.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove them from the oven. A skin will already have formed on the top of the custard. Carefully arrange the chocolate chips on top like a face and return it to the oven to continue cooking. If you put these in too early, they will melt in the custard before it forms a skin and your pumpkin’s face will not be recognizable.
Return it to the oven and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes until the filling is set.
If you don’t want a face on your cup pie, just bake it straight through for 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove the muffin tray from the oven and set it somewhere to cool thoroughly. Cup pies will easily pop right out of the muffin tin. Chill them for at least an hour to fully set the custard.
Garnish with a mint leaf on top of the pumpkin’s “head.” Place it on a plate with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side if he has a face, or on top if there is no face.
Cinnamon Pie Crust Recipe:
This pie crust recipe is excellent for any pie filling that plays well with cinnamon. I love to use it for Halloween recipes and Thanksgiving recipes especially, since it gives it that little autumn season kick.
2 cups all purpose flour
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
6 tbsp shortening
1 heaping tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
5-8 tbsp ice cold water
Put the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix it with a whisk to blend. Incorporate butter into the flour with a pastry cutter. Work in the shortening until there are pea-sized crumbles or smaller.
Add 1 tbsp of water at a time and mix gently with a big spoon. If you live in a dry area you’ll need more water, if you live in a humid area you’ll need less. Add just enough to until the dough begins to hold together.
Scrape the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and fold the wrap over it gently. Mold it into a square “patty” shape in the plastic. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or up to 72 hours.
Autumn Spiced Pumpkin Pie Filling:
This pumpkin pie recipe has whipped cream cheese and heavy cream to make it light and creamy. Great for any Halloween recipe, or Thanksgiving recipe, that calls for a pumpkin pie filling.
1 cup mashed pumpkin (canned or fresh)
4 oz softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cream
2 tbsp of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
Pinch of ground cloves
Beat the cream cheese till creamy. Add pumpkin, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat to incorporate. Add eggs, cream and butter and beat until incorporated. Add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, beat to incorporate. Spoon pumpkin pie filling into cup pies.