Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mini-Pumpkin Pies

It's November! This is by far the best month of the year! No, it's not just because my birthday is in November. There are other great reasons this month is the best: it finally starts cooling off; the fair is in town; Daylight savings (we get an extra hour of sleep); football season (at any level) is at it's height; and Thanksgiving (and if you want, you can include Black Friday and Cyber Monday if that's your thing). One other GREAT thing about November is this month is the beginning of making some incredible comfort foods. One drawback of comfort foods, though, is they are meant to stick to your bones, and if you are trying to lose or keep off the weight, holiday food is not normally the way to go. I am constantly trying to adjust recipes to make them taste great but not be as fattening for me and my family. With the feasting season coming up, I like to give some recipes a try before I present them to my family and my husband's family. Yesterday was one of those days. I posted a picture on Facebook (yes, I'm a junkie) of mini-pumpkin pies with a meringue cookie topping. I got such a response, that I decided to share the recipe with yall. 

A great place to find healthier, yummy recipes is through Weight Watchers. Those people are dedicated to creating recipes that taste like the traditional food we eat, but substituting ingredients for healthier options. I have also found that reading the comments can help make the recipe even better. So the original recipe was for "Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust" (do a search for the original). I am in desperate need for portion control, so I made 12 mini pies, which reduced the amount of points, and was easier to keep me honest about how much I was putting in my body. 

Get on with the recipe, already!! Okay, I hear you. Here's the recipe: 

Mini-Pumpkin Pies with Meringue Cookie Topping


  • 6 sheets of reduced-fat cinnamon graham crackers
  • 1 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat butter (you can use regular butter. It doesn't change the pt value that much)
  • 6 Tbsp of Egg Beaters Refrigerated Egg Whites 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I made my own: a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (if you use fresh pumpkin, I think it reduces the pt value, but I'm not sure by how much)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
  • Fill 12-cup (or two 6-cup) muffin pan with cupcake wrappers. 
  • Place graham crackers and light brown sugar in a food processor; process into crumbs. Spoon crumbs into a small bowl; add melted butter and combine into a coarse meal. Spoon, evenly, into the bottoms and sides of each cupcake wrapper. I used the back of an ice cream scoop to fill and press tightly. Chill for 30 minutes. 
  • While crust is chilling, preheat oven to 350. After 30 minutes of chilling, bake the crusts until they start turning golden, about 8-10 minutes. Just keep an eye on them. Remove from oven and let cool. 
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip egg whites until frothy. In a separate smaller bowl, combine egg, dark brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, canned pumpkin, and evaporated milk. Mix well. Once the egg whites are frothy, fold in to the pumpkin mixture and gently stir until smooth. Pour into each cupcake wrapper. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. 
While that is cooking, prepare the meringue topping. 

Meringue Cookie Topping

  • 2 egg whites at room temperature (I'm not sure why this works, but I have been making meringue cookies the past few weeks, and I have found if I start with room temperature egg whites, they work better. I'm not fixing something that isn't broke)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tarter 
  • dash of salt
  • In a large bowl, mix egg whites, cream of tarter, and salt. Beat until eggs are frothy (about 3 minutes). 
  • Slowly add sugar. Once all the sugar is in, beat on high until it forms bright white, gleaming, stiff peaks (about 8 minutes). 
  • Gently spoon meringue into a pastry bag or ziplock bag (and then cut the tip off a corner to pipe). 
  • Once the pies have slightly cooled, pipe a little meringue onto each pie. 
  • Turn the oven down to about 270. Bake the pies for about 15 minutes. 
  • My own tip: I turned off the oven while the pies were still in there and let them sit. I had to run to the school to pick up the boys, so I didn't have time to get them out, put them on a plate, and let them cool in the fridge. It seemed to work great! It also gave the meringues just a few more minutes to cook. 
  • Serve warm OR put in the fridge and let them cool completely. Make sure you refrigerate any leftovers. They are better the second day! 
Here's the plate of Mini-Pumpkin Pies. Look how pretty they are! 

Here is a picture of the inside. The meringue set just enough that they were stiff on the tops and marshmallowy on the inside. The pie turned out almost like a pumpkin mousse. They were great! 

  And for those of you who are keeping track of points, each pie is worth 4 pts of Weight Watcher pt. plus. 

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