3pm, light sunny winter day is my favourite time of the day for food photography. If I´m around the home, of course. Watching and observing natural light evolve throughout the course of the day and seasons is something truly blissful. Not just that my photos will look much nicer, but it´s part of the process to explore a new place, and make it feel home.
And we are moving to a new place, soon. Thanks goodness it´s not another interstate move. Still, house moving is such a stressful process, and it always comes at the worst time. Always. *sigh*
All the stress of moving aside, I have to say that these cute mini pumpkin pies are absolutely wonderful. Why did I wait for so long to try pumpkin pies? They are so fragrant, so delicious! In mini form like this, they actually look a bit like egg tarts (my MIL actually called them pumpkin tart :D).
I know my tarts look on the rustic side (read: less than perfect) – it has been ages since I last worked with pastry and my lack of practice really showed. I can guarantee that they taste really good though.
Adapted minimally from Flo Braker. I made ½ of the recipe. Flo Braker used `pinch and press´ method while lining the dough into the tart tins. I prefer to roll the dough first, then line the tins.
Pastry – for 8 dozens miniature pumpkin pies
3 cups (390g) plain flour
½ tsp salt
340g (12 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cubed
9 ounces (250g pack) cold cream cheese, cubed
3/4 fresh kobacha (Japanese pumpkin)
2 cups (400g) sugar
1.5 cups sour cream
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup whole milk
2 tsp cinnamon powder + 1 tsp cardamom powder + freshly grated nutmeg
Prepare the pumpkin filling: remove the skin from the pumpkin, cut the pumpkin into large chunks. Bake in 190C oven until the pumpkin just turns soft. Puree when the pumpkin is still warm. We will need 3 cups (740g) in the end.
Make the pastry: in a food processor, combine the flour and salt, pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. While the motor is running, gradually add the butter and cream cheese. Process until the dough just comes together in the form of a ball. Wrap the dough with clingwrap and rest in the fridge for 30 mins or so.
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Have ready 12-cup small muffin tin or egg-tart tins. (I used my egg tart tins but the muffin pans work well, too)
Lightly flour the work surface. Roll the dough into 5mm thickness (more or less), cut off the dough and line the lightly greased tartlet tins. Repeat until finished. (You may have to work in batches. Chill the dough thoroughly in between)
Pumpkin filling: Mix the pumpkin puree with the spice, sour cream, eggs and milk until well blended.
Fill each tart shell with the pumpkin filling until ¾ full.
Bake the pies for 15 minutes, or until the pumpkin filling is set and puffy and the pastry is light gold. Cool on a wire rack before turn the pies out.
Repeat the process if needed.