Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkin Pockets and Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes!

One of my family's favorite things to do on our annual trip to the Central Coast is to stop by the Avila Valley Barn in Avila, Ca.  This little farm stand is open year round, selling locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers, ice cream, baked goods and gifts to the public.  It is a favorite stop for locals and visitors alike! 

The Avila Valley Barn is especially charming in the fall... it's complete with a giant pumpkin patch, pumpkins of every shape and size, hayrides, a hay maze, farm animals, and fresh seasonal baked goods! 

Every year, my family makes a mandatory stop by the farm stand to pick up our pumpkins and goodies.  One of the Avila Valley Barn's fall baked-good specialties is the inspiration for my newest recipe... Pumpkin Pockets (I nicknamed them "pumpkin pockets", but they are basically a pumpkin turnovers)!  It's like having a piece of pumpkin pie.. but in an easy to eat, hand-held, buttery pie crust pocket.

Pumpkin Pockets
makes about 14 - 4 inch pockets

2 - 9 inch unbaked pie crusts
1 can (15 oz.) canned pumpkin
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. soft margarine (or I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.

Unroll pie crusts and lay flat on another piece of (lightly floured, optional) parchment paper.  Using a large cup or other object with a round 4 inch diameter, cut out 6-7 circles per pie crust.  If needed, gather scrapes of pie crust together and re-roll crust to cut more circles.

Spoon pumpkin mix into center of pastry circles.  Fold crust over, edge to edge, and pinch together.  Place onto prepared baking sheets.

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon.  Gently butter the top of each pocket with a light layer of soft margarine (about 1 tsp.), then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top.

Bake in the preheated oven until pie crust is puffed and golden brown, about 12 minutes.  Cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then move pockets to a wire rack to cool completely.

And........... since I had about half of the pumpkin mixture leftover (I didn't have the full 2 pie crusts for the previous recipe), I decided I would make Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes too!  I couldn't just let the pumpkin mixture go to waste, seeing as how canned pumpkin is super EXPENSIVE right now!  Unlike regular fluffy cupcakes, these pumpkin pie cupcakes have a dense, custard-y consistency and are much like pumpkin pie filling.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
Based off a recipe I found on - Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
yields about 6 cupcakes

To the 1/2 batch of pumpkin mixture I still had (see above Pumpkin Pocket recipe) I added,

1/3 cup white, whole wheat flour
1 egg
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup fat-free milk (I used light vanilla soy milk)

Preheat oven to 350 (mine was already at 350).  Line a muffin-tin with about 6 cupcake foils or silicone liners.

Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 full with batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Cool cupcakes in tin, top with any remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture (from the Pumpkin Pocket recipe).  Cupcakes will sink as they cool.

Chill cupcakes before serving.

These cupcakes would be great topped with some fat-free Cool Whip!!  Just like pumpkin pie!

It's really beginning to feel (and taste) like fall around here. :) Thanks to the Avila Valley Barn for the seasonal baked-good inspiration and for getting me into the fall spirit again this year! 


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