The issue was, yes, I now have enough pumpkin for 7 pumpkin pies, but EVERYONE will be eating pumpkin pie this week. There was no reason to get an early start on it Monday. Also, I need my pie plates free & clean for the aforementioned pumpkin pies I'll be making for Thanksgiving, so having non-pumpkin pies in the plates on Monday would be inconvenient.
And then, the idea came: the mini-pie.
I used an embarrassing amount of pre-made ingredients for these, but they filled my requirement for being easy, relatively quick, yet something special before the holiday.
For the crust:
Unbaked pie crust, either homemade or store-bought. For each 2-crust store bought package (or, presumably, a 2-crust recipe) I got about 22 mini-pie-crusts.
Preheat the oven to 450. Spray cupcake tins with cooking spray. Spread the pie crust on the counter, and cut circles with a biscuit cutter or the top of a drinking glass. Press circles into cupcake tins and perforate with a fork. Bake for about 9 minutes, or until the tops of the pie crusts start to brown. Remove to a serving tray to cool.
So, now you have a whole bunch of little pies. I went with 4 fillings, but you could make them all the same and waste less of the filling ingredients. Some ideas:
Cherry: Canned cherry pie filling, topped with a dollop of Cool Whip. No need to bake. About 3 cherries fit in each crust.
Chocolate: Chocolate pudding (made from a mix) topped with s dollop of Cool Whip.
Coconut: Coconut pudding/pie filling (made from a mix), mixed with shredded coconut, topped with shredded coconut.
Pear: Canned pears, chopped and placed in the crust, topped with caramel. Could also use apple pie filling, or maybe even applesauce.
I also considered vanilla pudding, topped with cherry pie filling- The possibilities are endless!
I doubled this recipe (used 4 pie crusts instead of 2) and ended up with 45 mini-pies.
I liked this dessert because it was
- fairly easy
- made enough to feed the crowd
- provided variety for my guests- the one that didn't like fruit could have the chocolate pie, I could have my coconut, all the kids chose the pears, etc
Also on the upside, pudding mix is less than 40 cents, and, if I had made the pie crust from scratch, this would have been very inexpensive AND "fancy". As it was, it was both pretty and pretty cheap!