I love pie. Lattice-topped apple, sweet potato or pumpkin pies are among my favorites. And I’ve tried to make them at home several times. But they never come out quite the same as the ones in restaurants; it is always disappointing when you can taste that there will be no caramelization of sugar on top of your pie (a technique even restaurant pastry chefs don’t use—it takes too much time). Or they turn out flat and doughy instead of flaky like good pie should be, with air bubbles only where the crust meets the filling. The worst part is that nothing ever seems to work out right until one day I had an idea: Why not start with homemade graham cracker crumbs made from scratch? Then what used to take me hours could now take just minutes! Try this recipe for a foolproof crust, guaranteed to please your family and friends!
MINI PUMPKIN PIE CUPS
Makes about 24 mini mason jars
Crust: 1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Filling: 3 tablespoons hot water plus ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about) ½ cup canned pumpkin purée*1 cup half-and-half or milk**2 large eggs***¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg ****assorted chopped candied ginger pieces