Mini pumpkin cheesecake puff pies…because, I love pumpkin, I love cheesecake, I love anything with puff pastry, and I really like the idea of small portions. Take all that and drizzle some salted caramel goodness over the top and you have a little bit of something pretty darn special. Oh, and quick and easy too!
I tried to make something you could eat with your hands. And technically, this is the perfect size for that. It’s about 4 bites or so of yumminess. However, I discovered that although it is the perfect size, the puff pastry crust, in all its flaky glory, posed somewhat of a crumb challenge.
So, if you eat it by hand, do it over a plate. Not so much so you don’t make a mess. More because you want something to catch those delicious, flaky crumbs. You don’t want those getting away! If the crumbs are caught on a plate, you can use the ball of your finger to press down and collect every golden flaky morsel. Puff pastry lovers, you know what I mean.
These mini pumpkin cheesecake pies are pretty versatile. Serve them as a sweet on party trays or as small bite desserts after dinner. They are great for children’s parties or potluck events. Just make them in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve.
This is what you need for the pumpkin cheese cake filling.
This is what you need for a quick and easy salted caramel topping.
Using a hand mixer (there is not enough filling, really, for a stand mixer), mix the cream cheese, the egg, and the sugar until smooth and creamy.
Then add the packed pumpkin, the vanilla, and the pumpkin pie spice. Mix until everything is well blended.
By the way, people, that little hand mixer in the picture was a wedding present! I love that little thing! It just never quits.
Using your hands or a rolling pin, flatten the puff pastry shells so that they are half again bigger than the original size. These shells are designed to puff up high, with a little lift-away cap in the center. Because you don’t want the center to puff up too high, you need to stretch it out and flatten it some.
You will see a side that says “top” printed into the pastry. I left those facing up, although I am not sure if that matters. I guess I could have experimented by facing one or more the other way, but I just didn’t think of it.
Line the center of a muffin pan, being sure to push the dough flat against the bottom and sides.
Then fill each dough cup with the pumpkin cheesecake mixture. Mine came out a perfect 2 full tablespoons per dough cup.
Bake at 375° F for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven. The filling should be set, and the puff pastry lightly golden on the sides. Don’t worry about little fissures on top. They mostly close as the mini pies cool.
Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then transfer to a covered container to store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Just before serving, melt the caramel squares with the heavy cream to a smooth, viscous consistency. You want it liquid enough to drizzle over the mini pies in streamers. If it is too liquid, it will just pool over the tops of the pies. If it is too thick to drizzle, add more cream or maybe a bit of water.
Then, pull out those cute little pies and drizzle the warm caramel on top. You’ll want to do it right away because the caramel will tend to re-solidify as it cools. If that happens before you are ready, you can microwave it for a few seconds to get it back to the right consistency.
Your mini pumpkin cheesecake puff pies are now ready to serve!
Sweet, light, creamy pumpkin cheesecake goodness in a cup of luscious, flaky crust. Perfectly offset with the salty caramel on top. Just enough sweet and tender, with just enough salty chewy flakiness. And in just the perfect portion. Of course, if you want more than 4 little bites, grab another! Who’s counting?
Whether you are planning a holiday party of just a seasonal dessert for your family or guests, give these mini pumpkin cheesecake puff pies a try. They really are just too yummy not to.
- FOR THE MINI PIES
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 egg
- ½ cup packed pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 boxes Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Shells, defrosted and at room temperature
- FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL TOPPING
- ½ cup caramel squares
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream, or more as needed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- With a hand mixer, whip the cream cheese, egg, and sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie seasoning, and vanilla extract. Blend until fully combined.
- Using your hands or a rolling pin, stretch each puff pastry shell until it is ½ again as large as the original, striving for an even thickness.
- Line the cups of a muffin pan with the dough, then spoon approximately 2 tablespoon of the filling into each dough cup until all the filling has been used.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheesecake filling has set and the crusts are a light golden color.
- Place on a rack and cool completely in the muffin pan, then transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Just before serving, melt the caramel squares and the cream until smooth and somewhat viscous. The mixture should be thick enough to drizzle in streams, but not so thick as to pool after drizzling. Add more cream or some water if necessary to thin the caramel.
- Stir in the salt.
- Drizzle the caramel over the chilled mini pies and serve.