Thanksgiving in New Zealand

I really should have taken more pictures for this. I also should have posted it about 2 weeks ago, so sorry for the slackness! I do have the excuse of exams, then moving out of home and having no internet... But still, here we go. Because dad is American, we celebrate Thanksgiving every year. We celebrate it with another family, the Griffiths, because Zoe went on exchange to America for a year and it's cool to have people to celebrate with. Mum always cooks a huge turkey and we always have candied yams and scalloped potatoes and then other yummy things. We also always have pumpkin. Every year. But dad and Alex decided that this year they didn't want pumpkin pie. Who doesn't want pumpkin pie?! Instead they wanted peanut butter cheesecake. Which is very, very nice still, but... Pumpkin pie! Earlier on mum told me about these pumpkin pie cupcakes that she saw online, and seeing as we weren't going to have a real pumpkin pie, I decided it was my mission to find a recipe and make these cupcakes. The only problem is, in America you can get pumpkin pie filling in a can. Now, I do love America and all, but really? How can you call yourself a baker if you just buy a pie crust from the store, fill it with a can of pumpkin pie filling and then add some cool whip on the side. No, I decided (and the fact that New Zealand is too small to sell such things decided for me) that I would make my own pumpkin pie filling to replace the canned one in the recipe and then add a cream cheese frosting to the top. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the finished product, only the frosting-less cupcake but let me tell you, they were amazing! Even my flatmate who doesn't like pumpkin, and Becca my friend who doesn't like frosting liked them! They were that good. So it might be a bit late for Thanksgiving, but either just make them for autumn or put them on your list for next year, because you won't regret it!

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes (from scratch)

Makes 24-30 cupcakes


2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2t baking soda
2t baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs

800g pumpkin pieces (any type, or a small pumpkin that weighs that much)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1t nutmeg
1t cinnamon
1/2t salt

400g cream cheese (remember - only Philadelphia in New Zealand!)
160g butter
3 1/4 cups icing sugar

Directions:Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line muffins tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated. Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full. Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely before frosting how desired.

Pumpkin Pie Filling (from scratch):
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a tray with sides with baking paper. If not using pumpkin pieces, then cut off the top of the pumpkin in a circle and quarter them from the top down. Then scoop out the seeds and tendrils. Cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces, either halves or thirds. Smear the inner surfaces of the pumpkin with the butter. Rub with brown sugar and spices and salt. Use your hands to make sure they well seasoned. Bake for 30 minutes, or until you can easily stab through the middle with a fork. Let stand and cool (or if you're impatient like me, just let it stand for a minute) then pull/cut the skin away from the flesh. Put the pumpkin pieces in a bowl and mash until very liquidy.

Cream Cheese Frosting:In a mixer, blend together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the icing sugar gradually and continue mixing until well blended.

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