Gluten Free: Pie-in-a-pumpkin

Pie-in-a-pumpkin, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Yesterday I got home from school earlier than I had all week.

In fact, I got home in time to take the dog on a quick one-mile walk AND go to the grocery store before my love got home. Sadly, this means that my backpack is also BURSTING with work yet to be done and that I will have to complete on Sunday. The best part was having a sunny Friday afternoon with the pup and knowing that Sunday is to be a rainy day. Perfect for grading papers and getting plans done, I think.

At the market, I found these cute little pumpkins. I know that most people use these for decorative purposes, but I had a different plan in mind. You see, my Love doesn’t really appreciate pumpkin (gasp!) nor squash. (And he doesn’t even eat CHOCOLATE! ). I knew he wouldn’t want to eat a whole mini-pumpkin (like the ones made for pumpkin pies) as I’ve tried that before. (They make the best soup pots……. but more on that another day.)

For these little babes, I had a sweet plan: Crust-less, in-the-pumpkin Pies.

OH! They were so good! It was the perfect little, healthy, sweet treat after dinner.

I’ve been avoiding baking and making sweet treats for myself as I know that every calorie is the equivalent of approximately 7,000 steps on the Elliptical Trainer at the gym. Roughly 7,000 – Give or take. 😀

Sometimes, however, dessert is not to be skipped. My sweet treats lately have included fat free meringues, Asian pears, apple slices with cinnamon peanut butter, and fat free delicious Greek yogurts. Pumpkin pie wasn’t on that list until now.

Most gluten free pie crusts have a ton of fat in them. And, since my Love isn’t a pumpkin eater, making a whole pie is not the ideal method of losing weight. One entire pumpkin pie hanging out at the house this weekend? Bad move.

Pumpkin...for pies!

So I made pumpkin pie the healthy way. These little pumpkins don’t have a ton of “meat” in them, so they are a nice sweet treat that doesn’t overwhelm. And the fact that they are small (about the size of a softball) means that they are great individual treats that also double as the serving dish. (Hooray! for less dirty dishes!)

These “pies” are also a snap to make. They bake in 25-30 minutes and take about 10 minutes to prepare.

I know these treats are going to become part of my regular fall menu. They will be great fun to serve to friends who come for dinner. And while I didn’t do it with these, a small scoop of vanilla ice cream will make for the perfect finishing touch on the mini-pie in a pumpkin.

I think I will head back to the store on Monday for more of these little pumpkins….I have a couple recipes bouncing around in my head. I think these individual pumpkins will make great stuffed pumpkin and soup-in-a-pumpkin servings. Oh, yea! I LOVE fall comfort food.

I hope you get a chance to try these out. And while the recipe below is structured for the mini-pumpkins, you can adjust the measurements to make in a larger pumpkin easily.


Pie-In-A-Pumpkin – Pumpkin Pie
Ingredients (listed ingredients make 2 mini-pumpkin pies)
2 mini pumpkins (about the size of a softball, see photo here)
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup crushed walnuts (or pecans, etc)
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch of sea salt (optional)
2 small scoops GF vanilla ice cream (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Cut off the top 1/2 inch of the small pumpkins. Scrap out the seeds and the pulp. (I reserve the seeds to roast later for great snacking goodness!)
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, walnuts, butter, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground ginger.
  4. Divide the sugar mixture in half, adding half to each pumpkin.
  5. Replace the tops on the pumpkins and place the pumpkins into a baking dish.
  6. Add about 2/3 cup of water in the bottom of the baking dish. (Enough to come up about 1/2 inch on the pumpkins while they bake.)
  7. Bake pumpkins for 25-30 minutes until tender.
  8. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream into each pumpkin and serve. (Or just serve as is without the ice cream.)
  9. Pie-in-a-pumpkin
    Enjoy the pie-in-pumpkin by scraping the sides (and top!) of the pumpkin and dipping in to the sweet center ingredients/nuts/sugar.

Happy Fall Pie-baking, All!
Oh yea. Gluten-free never tasted so good!

More Pie-in-A-Pumpkin Pictures can be found here.  I just couldn’t decide which ones to use!  LOL


  1. Oh my….those look divine! I am going to give that a try this week sometime! :)

  2. Looks so good! It just made my shopping list for tomorrow!

  3. This is a very cute idea :)!

  4. Oh I soo am doing this with my little gluten/casein and dairy-free kids!

    Thank you!

  5. I just discovered pumpkins for myself and I really love them. This recipe sounds sooo good! I wish I could make some tonight! 😉

  6. I love this idea, Kate! I am going to give this a try next week. Thanks!

  7. Oh my goodness, what a great idea! So adorable!

  8. Do you know what kind of pumpkins these are? When I asked for mini pumpkins at the local farmer’s market, the woman looked at me like I was making things up!

    I have been saving your recipe so that I can grow some pumpkins of my own, but I have no idea which variety will give me that same cute little pumpkin in your picture.

    Hi Veronica! I believe these were “Jack-Be-LIttle” pumpkins. Many miniature pumpkins ARE edible, though. I know some state “not for consumption” as they are not processed as FOOD – so be aware. Otherwise, ask the grocer. These were great. The next time I see the baby pumpkins, I will ask the grocer for the names of the other edible varieties. I’m sorry don’t have more info at the moment! – Kate

  9. Oh my goodness! Kate, these are the cuteset (and yummiest-looking) little things I’ve ever seen! I’m going to plant some tiny pumpkins this weekend, and enjoy this recipe in the fall. Very clever. Thank you!

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