Chai Teacup Pies

Butterball soaking in the tea brine? Check!

Sweet potatoes roasted? Check!

Spinach triple-washed? Check, check, check!

There’s one item I haven’t touched yet, and that’s dessert. Since I’ll be using a super simple and healthy recipe this year, I’m putting it as last on my to-do list before the Thanksgiving festivities begin.
I’m committed to making Thanksgiving super healthful this year, and by super healthful I mean less butter, less salt, and tons of herbs, spices, and of course…tea! My recipe for Chai Teacup Pies is adaptable to both apple and pumpkin variations. The recipe switches up the ratio of filling to crust, where elegant teacups becomes your easy-to-serve crust replacements.

You’ll want to use oven-safe teacups to make these teacup pies. Many contemporary teacups are perfect for the job, so just make sure not to use your fine porcelain china here. A leaf-shaped cookie cutter helps to cut out rustic pie crust cookies, so that you get just a touch of flakey richness without feeling deprived. A store-bought pie crust will work just fine…BUT if you make your own killer crust like my friend and award-winning pie maker, Sue over at Birgerbird does, you’ll savor each delectable leaf that much more!

If you prefer the apple pie version of this recipe, simply use the filling from my Crisp Apple Strudel recipe. Triple the recipe and swap out the spices with your favorite chai tea powder, adjusting the amount of tea powder you use to taste. And with that, I’d like to say good luck to all the cooks out there tonight! With so much to do and so little time left, these super easy Chai Teacup Pies might be just the dessert to call it a day with!

Chai Pumpkin Teacup Pies

Makes 6-8 teacup pies, depending on size of teacups

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups pumpkin purée (1 large can Libby’s)

2- 12 oz cans evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

4 Tbsp chai tea powder (preferably sugar-free like David Rio or Blue Lotus, adjusting to taste depending on brand)

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

4 eggs

egg wash or cinnamon (optional)

Equipment:

6-8 large oven-proof teacups

large mixing bowl

whisk

ladle

large leaf cookie cutter or sharp knife

large baking sheet

another large baking sheet fitted with parchment

Directions:

1.)  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk all of the filling ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. With a ladle, fill the teacups until just over 3/4 full.

2.)  Park the teacup pies on a large baking sheet and bake teacup pies for about 50 minutes, until the pie filling is set in the middle and slightly puffed.

3.)  Use a leaf cookie cutter to cut out pie crust leaves from chilled, rolled, unbaked pie crust. Use a sharp knife to score leaf veins for a rustic look. Place the leaves on a parchment fitted sheet pan so that they don’t touch, and bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until just slightly browned. If you prefer, you can paint them with egg wash before baking or dust them with cinnamon after baking for a decorative touch. Serve leaf pie crust cookies with Chai Teacup Pies, 1-2 leaves per teacup.

Pumpkin Chai Energy Balls

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that it’s pumpkin season again! Even though you can technically eat pumpkin anytime of the year, there’s something about eating it in the fall that makes it taste that much more satisfying and delicious.

The only thing better than eating pumpkin is eating pumpkin with a spicy chai tea. My recipe for Pumpkin Chai Energy Balls combine these autumn inspired ingredients together with a host of other nutritious add-ins including old-fashioned oatmeal, almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and of course…pumpkin purée!

These energy balls are completely flour-free, and don’t require any cooking. To give them bulk without making them too gritty, I use both pulverized oatmeal and almond meal. I reserve some of the oats to be left whole so that you still get a bit of chew and texture in each nibble.

When it comes to the chocolate chip addition, I like to add the darkest chocolate chips I can find. Good quality, slightly bitter-tasting chocolate chips make the bold chai flavors stand out and also help to balance out the mild sweetness of the maple syrup. These moist, flavorful bites are perfect as a mid-day pick me up or as a reasonable swap out when you are looking to get a cookie fix. Pumpkin Chai Energy Balls also make an ideal snack before hitting the gym and are convenient to-go treats as they are easy to pack and hold their shape well. If you please, even try enjoying a few for breakfast. You just might have to come back to this ingredient list to remind yourself that you aren’t actually eating dessert!

Pumpkin Chai Energy Balls

Makes 30 balls.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, ground to a meal in food processor

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, left whole

2 Tbsp ground flax seeds

2 Tbsp chia seeds

6 Tbsp chai tea mix (I used Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Tea Latte)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup pumpkin purée (just from a can)

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

Equipment:

large mixing bowl

mixing spoon

cookie scoop with 1 3/4″ diameter (2 Tbsp)

Directions:

1.)  Place all dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, then lightly toss together. Add the wet ingredients, then mix everything together with the spoon.

2.)  Use the ice cream scoop to scoop out a 2 Tbsp portion of the mixture, then roll it into a smooth ball. Repeat this process to form 30 energy balls. Store the energy balls in a sealed box or bag in the fridge.