Do you have a recipe that you've made so many times, you can make it in your sleep?
I can't tell you how many times I've made these Mini Pumpkin Pecan Cups.
That's exactly what I was thinking, this time, as I was measuring out the ingredients.
Unfortunately, I got my answer, and I wasn't happy about it.
But more about that in a minute.
I don't remember which magazine I got this recipe from...Better Homes and Gardens, maybe? If you recognize it, let me know so I can give it proper credit.
The pumpkin cups are very easy to make, yet look like they take a lot of effort, which is my kind of recipe.
I was plugging along, making the dough, which is a snap -- it's three ingredients in the mixer, and comes together in a minute.
I rolled the dough into 24 balls, and put them in mini-muffin tins.
I shaped the little pie crusts, by pushing the dough into the bottoms and up the sides of the pan. Easy as pie, right?
Actually, it's easier than pie.
Everything was going great! I'd have these beauties ready to pop in the oven and still have enough daylight in the kitchen to start photographing them.
I don't know about you, but now that we've moved the clocks back, it really puts a damper on my photo shoots. The natural sunlight in the kitchen is fleeting, and I'm finding there's a really short window for taking pictures.
I was playing beat the clock with the sunlight, so I guess I was rushing a bit.
While the crusts were baking, I mixed up the filling. No matter how many times I make these, I always think there's not going to be enough filling, but there is.
I took the crusts out of the oven -- They always come out all puffy, but they're fine once filled.
After they cooled, I spooned the filling into the crusts with a teaspoon...
One of the tins slipped out of my hands... and half of the filling spilled into the oven.
I can't repeat what I said, because this is a family-friendly blog, but let's just say I didn't curse like a sailor...I cursed like all of them.
What. A. Mess.
Brown sugar, butter, and a hot oven do not a good combination make.
Half a roll of paper towel later, I got it cleaned up.
The pie crusts survived the disaster, and were intact...
...and there was that extra canned pumpkin.
So I whipped up another batch of filling and topping.
Good thing this recipe is easy, but I was not a happy camper.
Mr. Goo Shoes missed this entire kitchen debacle, so when he came in, I told him what happened.
He just looked at me and shook his head...and said...
" I'm gonna start calling you Miss Mess..."
...which is one of our nicknames for the dog.
I guess I can't argue with that title.
So this blog post took a different turn, and became about the mess I made, instead of writing about how great these are to make for Thanksgiving.
Anyway, they really are a great Thanksgiving dessert. It's a different take on the usual pumpkin or pecan pies. People will think you worked really hard to make them, but honestly? I bet you can have these in the oven before they even finish rolling out one full-size pie crust.
Although everyone is stuffed after a big Thanksgiving meal, there's always room for one of these little bites.
They taste even better warm...so if you can warm them up a bit just before serving, all the better. At the very least, let them come to room temperature.
MINI PUMPKIN PECAN CUPS
For the crust:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
For the filling:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. half-and-half, light cream, or milk
4 tsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. rum, or 1/4 tsp. rum flavoring
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
For the topping:
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
In a medium mixer bowl beat the 1/2 cup butter and the cream cheese with an electric mixer till well blended. Stir in flour. Divide dough into 24 balls, 1-inch in diameter, and press the dough evenly into bottom and up sides of 24 1-3/4" mini muffin pans. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 10 minutes.
Combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar, pumpkin, egg yolk, cream or milk, the 4 teaspoons of butter, rum or rum flavoring, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon into warm prebaked cups. Stir together nuts, remaining brown sugar, and remaining butter; sprinkle over pumpkin mixture.
Bake in 325-degree oven for 25 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Loosen and remove cups from pans. Serve warm or cool. Makes 24.
I hope you try this recipe, and if you do...
Hold on tight to your muffin pans!
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