Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pumpkin Creme Pies and Diwali

Lets take a trip down memory lane as well as get our history on, shall we?

A mere 2 years ago, which feel like a lifetime ago!, I was in India. Traipsing through magical white cities and blue cities, fort after fort, until the colorful sari's became a blur occasionally punctuated by a holy cow. One of the most memorable experiences I had during my time in India was Diwali, the Hindu New Year.

Diwali is a celebration of light, casting good over evil, washing the bright new year with joy and celebration. The memory that lingers the most were the small clay pots of oil, burning brightly everywhere. On stairs, in windows, in doorways. Everywhere you looked and turned there was light and warmth. 

The pots were often nestled around flower petals, creating more color and brightness to hail the shiny New Year. To me, it was the paradox of India. On one corner there is a brightly and colorful pot of light, flickering cheerfully. On another corner there is trash and decay. 

What does Diwali have to do with Pumpkin Creme Pies? Not a darn thing! Well, wait, hang on here. I'm sure I can come up with some type of parallel for you, Dear readers.

Ok, I got it! First, it's a sweet story to go with a sweet treat. That was lame, I know. One custom of Diwali is go give sweet treats to friends and family. Tables groaning under heaps of sticky sweet treats lined alleys and streets alike. While, Pumpkin Creme Pies are by no means a tradition Indian sweet, they are one of my favorites, which is all that matters at cskescapes. 

I hope you enjoy the creme pies as much as I enjoy Diwali!

*Disclaimer...ok, I realize that Diwali was like last week or whatever and that I'm just a touch late with this post, but we can all thank my lame work schedule for my slacker ways.

Pumpkin Creme Pies
Makes 20-24

For the Pies:
1 15oz can of pureed Pumpkin
1 cup Brown sugar
1 cup White sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1 cup Vegetable, Canola, or Coconut oil
3 cups All-purpose flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Pumpkin pie spices
1/2 tsp Salt

For the Filling:
1 8oz package Cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick Butter, room temperature
1lb Powdered sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1. In a large bowl mix the oil, pumpkin, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract until well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients (flour, salt, spices, baking soda, and baking powder) until well combined. Scrap down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated. 

2. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. 

3. The cookies can be made 2 ways. You can scoop a couple of teaspoons onto a baking sheet and smooth out the top. Or you can pipe out the dough into 2" pinwheels with a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with the tip cut off. I prefer the pinwheel method, I think the cookies come out more even and uniform and thinner. 

4. Scoop or pipe the dough onto a cookie sheet leaving a small amount of room in between cookies. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Do not be tempted to take them out before. The cookies may seem done before 10-11 minutes, but leaving them to bake for a few additional minutes makes them less sticky later. Trust me. I speak from many failed pumpkin creme pie experiences.

5. Carefully slide the baked cookies onto a cooling rack. Repeat until all the cookies are baked and cooled.

6. In a medium sized bowl mix the butter, cream cheese, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add 1/3 of the powdered sugar. Turning the mixer on slowly, you don't want to cover your kitchen in powdered sugar!, mix in the powdered sugar. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar. If you find the filling to be too thick add 1-2 tbsp of milk until desired consistency has been reached.

7. Once the cookies are cool set up an assembly system to fill the cookies. Scoop the filling to a pastry bag or ziplock bag with the tip cut off. Slowly pipe the filling onto one cookie, top side down. Top with another cookie, top side up. Repeat until all the cookies are completed. 

8. Keep the cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. The cookies will get sticky after a day or so. 


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