Pumpkin Pie Panini

This is one of the paninis I demo'ed recently at the local library.

It's exactly like pumpkin pie in that it uses the best part of pumpkin pie:  the filling.  It's kinda-sorta like pumpkin pie with sweetened whipped cream on top of the filling in that it has cream-based sweetened cream cheese on top of the filling.  It's nothing like pumpkin pie in that it uses cinnamon-raisin bread instead of pie crust.

But what it is ... is delicious!  Just don't use regular 100% pure pumpkin straight out of a can (or a pumpkin).   A bit of sugar and spice to prevent the panini from tasting like a veggie sandwich.

The instructions assume you own a panini press.  I happen to not own one.  So to simulate a press, I fired up a grill pan over medium heat and placed a small but heavy frying pan on top of the sandwich to press it down into the grill ridges.  Had to flip the panini over half-way through, but as you can see, it was totally worth it.

Pumpkin Pie Panini
Yield: 2 paninis

4 slices cinnamon-raisin bread
4 Tbl. Pumpkin pie filling (store-bought or recipe below)
2 Tbl. soft-style cream cheese, whisked with 1 tsp. granulated or brown sugar olive oil cooking spray

Heat panini press to 400F. Meanwhile, arrange bread on work area in a single layer. Lightly spritz each slice with cooking spray.

Flip over 2 of the slices and spread with cream cheese mixture.

Spread pumpkin pie filling on top.

Top with remaining bread, greased sides up.

Transfer paninis to press; close cover; cook for 1 ½ - 2 minutes or until tops have nicely browned grill marks.

Use a spatula to transfer paninis to cutting board. Carefully slice each in half, then arrange 2 halves decoratively on each of 2 small plates.

Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Pie Filling
Adapted from the350degreeoven.com
Yield: about 2 cups filling

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/ cup milk (regular or low-fat)
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional)

Stir together all ingredients in a 4-cup heat-safe mixing bowl until smooth.

Cover bowl. Microwave at 100% power for 5 minutes.

Let cool for 15-20 minutes.   If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate up to 5 days. Stir if separated before using.


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