- 8 (1/2 pound) mini pumpkins
- 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cloves
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned is just fine)
- (Optional mint leaves and birthday candles for garnish)
Side Bar: Before you start, set your cream cheese and butter out for several hours, so it can warm up to room temperature. Set rack in middle of oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Cut the tops off the pumpkins and set aside, With a teaspoon or grapefruit knife, scrape the fibrous pulp and seeds out of the pumpkins. Scrape some of the meat off the inner walls so they are no more than 3/8-inch thick. Put the cream cheese, butter, sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a large mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until blended. Take care not to mix too much air into the batter. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, until each is incorporated. Reduce the speed and beat in the sour cream, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Fill the pumpkin shells with the batter and bake, on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Turn the pan and place the tops next to the pumpkins. Bake for 10 more minutes, until barely set and firm. If, at any time, the cakes start to puff up, turn the oven down or remove them. Let cool, in the pan, then refrigerate.
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes until the berries have popped and form a thick sauce. Let cool. To serve, spoon cranberry sauce on top of filling. Place the pumpkin lid on a jaunty angle. Stick the birthday candle and mint sprig into the top.