National Pumpkin Pie Day

Pumpkin, the fall icon, has taken our stomachs by storm these past few years. From cereals to breakfast bars, ice cream to cookies, and of course, the infamous PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte), this plump, orange fruit offers many nutritional benefits. Now I know you might be thinking, “What is pumpkin pie doing in the December blog? This is only a fall food.” Well, forks up, people.

Food is personal.  Many people associate pumpkin pie with fall, Thanksgiving, family and friends.  However, food is also fuel, and while pumpkin may be deemed the “basic” necessity of all things fall-related, this Vitamin A packed fruit (yes, fruit! It has seeds, let’s not forget) is tasty enough to eat beyond the fall season.

Pumpkins are rich in Vitamin A and packed with fiber (1 cup contains 3g of fiber).  Carotenoids are the major contributors to the Vitamin A content, especially the provitamin beta-carotene. Vitamin A is key for healthy vision, cell growth and contributing to a strong immune system (which can be very important during the winter months!) This nutrient-packed food also contains high amounts of iron and heart-healthy magnesium. So why are we limiting this nutrient-dense glory to just the fall?

It should be noted that calorie and fat content do vary if you buy unflavored canned pumpkin vs. flavored pumpkin pie filling. Unflavored canned pumpkin would be similar to roasting a pumpkin, with 1 cup containing only 49 calories and 0.2g fat. Opt for the unflavored canned pumpkin and add your cinnamon and spices as needed!

The holidays are meant for good food and greater company.  If you can find some room at the table this year for even some Mini Pumpkin Pies, I promise your family, and their stomachs, won’t be disappointed. These treats are simple, tasty and rich in holiday spirit.

Happy Holidays to all!

Mini Pumpkin Pies
Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 15

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (3 ½ oz) box vanilla instant pudding mix
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pastry for double-crust pie

Directions

Roll out pastry dough to ¼ inch thickness.  Cut out 2 ½ inch circles from the dough. You should have 15.
Place each circle in a muffin cup and push in to fit pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat together pumpkin, sugar, milk, egg and vanilla.
Add the pudding mix and beat until blended. It will thicken nicely.
Add spices and stir to combine.
Fill pastry crusts evenly.
Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Cool on rack.
When cool, you can place in a rigid freezer container with layers of waxed paper in between. Freeze until needed. (You can thaw in the refrigerator or put in the microwave for ~1 minute)
Top with whip cream or pecans and enjoy!


Recipe & Photo: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/mini-pumpkin-pies-91412

Schaeffer, J. ‘Tis the Season for Pumpkin. Today’s Dietitian. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1115p20.shtml Published November 2015.  Accessed December 19, 2017.

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