Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Has anyone out there been making chocolate pumpkin pies? Searches of Blogger, Google, and Technorati would seem to indicate that no one has, or at least no one has baked and blogged. You have to try this! You won't believe you ever lived without them. Now I hope you'll agree that in general I am the most reasonable of bloggers. I don't go around insisting that anybody has to decorticate chickpeas, or peel favas. I do however insist that you have to make this pie. This just may be the pie that saves the universe. If you want to skip the crust and bake the custard in ramekins, I am willing to go along with that.
Chocolate and pumpkin are both exquisitely suited to the pie-medium, and the bittersweet chocolate smoothes and strengthens both the flavor and the texture of the pumpkin custard. And then there are the antioxidants! Please forgive me for going on, but this is a wonderful recipe; better even than I thought it would be. I don't think it takes too great a leap of faith to mix chocolate into a pumpkin pie; not nearly as nutty as, say, leaving your bread dough lying around for 18 hours.
This pie justifies my blog. Here’s the best bit—I did not prebake the crust! I hate doing that. I will cheerfully decorticate several pints of cooked chickpeas or shell and peel any number of favas, but really, one go-round should do it for piecrust .
Prepare this pastry—here’s the recipe again:
Butter and coconut oil pie crust

12 ounces all-purpose flour, about 3 cups

4 ounces sweet butter, one stick, one half cup

4 ounces coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

Blend the butter and coconut oil into the flour with your fingers or a pastry blender. Break the egg into a measuring cup and add water to come up to the half-cup line. Beat the egg and water with a fork, and add half a teaspoon salt. Pour the egg water into the flour and stir with the fork until it just holds together. Form the dough into two circles, wrap them up, and chill for at least one hour.
Chocolate Pumpkin Filling or Custard
4 ounces chocolate
2 ounces coconut oil
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup pumpkin puree, 8 ounces
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 cup light brown sugar (8 ounces)
4 eggs
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil over hot water. Dissolve the espresso powder in 2 tablespoons boiling water, and stir it into the chocolate. Stir the melted chocolate and set it aside to cool slightly.
In a food processor, combine the pumpkin purée with sugar and coconut milk. Process to blend very thoroughly. Add the eggs and process just to blend. Stir in the chocolate, vanilla, and salt.
Assemble and Bake the Pies and/or Custards
Heat the oven to 425F.
Dust your work surface with flour. Roll half of the dough into a circle 1/8 of an inch thick. Lay the circle of dough in a 9 inch pie plate and trim the edges. Fold the excess dough under the rim, and shape, pinch, or crimp the edge to make a decorative shell. You can roll the remaining dough to make a few small tartlets, or save it for your next pie. Pour the pumpkin custard into the pie shell. If you have too much for one pie, bake the excess in small tartlets, or simply bake it on its own as a custard in small ramekins.
Place the pie on a baking sheet, and put it in the lower third of the oven. Bake for 40 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350, and move the pie to the oven floor (do not move the crustless custards to the floor). Bake five minutes more. Allow the pie to cool at room temperature for several hours or overnight so that the custard can sort of settle into itself. If possible, keep the pie at room temperature rather than refrigerated. The crusts stayed wonderfully crisp and flaky for as long as the pie lasted.


One of the recipes I consulted while I was putting this together was Best-Ever Pumpkin Pie from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax. This looks like a very good recipe and I promise to try in the original version soon. I was briefly acquainted with Richard Sax, of blessed memory, when I was an intern at The Glossy Dessert Magazine. I have always been a big fan of his, especially since the publication of this magnum opus. Classic Home Desserts is an encyclopedic compilation of just about every home-style desert I can think of, and every recipe I have tried so far is really beautifully put together. My one quibble with the recipes in this book is that Sax indulges in a bit of what I call vanilla-abuse. I'm crazy about vanilla, but there are desserts where it just doesn't belong, and I strongly feel that Sicilian Rice Pie and Challah Pudding are among these desserts.
It's not especially chatty especially as dessert books go, but as you read it, there emerges as a counterpoint an austere elegy for a beloved friend. This paragraph accompanies the recipe for Best-Ever Pumpkin Pie:
Once I got it right, I've baked this pie every year at Thanksgiving. When I first met my friend Mick, as autumn was livening up New York City, he told me that when he was a kid, he always a pie for breakfast. Ever the cook-provider, I baked him a pumpkin pie and carried it downtown to Bleecker Street in a shopping bag.
Every year after that, I would make this pie for our Thanksgiving dinner, even if—especially if—it was just two for the holiday feast. Now that it's just me, this pie will always remind me of feeding him.
Now that it's just me.
You see why we need pie.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi... i'm allergic to coconut, can you suggest an alternative to the coconut oil?
thanks!
-tanyay

12:00 AM  
Blogger sher said...

Oh, your word is my command! I'll make it. It looks FABULOUS!!! And pumkin and chocolate would be perfect. I can taste it now..........

2:32 AM  
Anonymous Virginie said...

Very nice idea, with black chocolate. I've never tried a coconut oil crust (always used it for body cream...)- for a next time...

1:40 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

anonymous, If you can't eat coconut I would suggest using a combination of cream and milk for the coco oil and coconut milk in this recipe as in most traditional pumpkin pie recipes. If you can't have coconut or dairy products, I guess soymilk, or cashew milk.

sher, Enjoy it in good health!
I look forward to reading how it works out for you!

virginie, Thanks very much. I see your white chocolate pumpkin pie is a great companion to this pie. I also like how you use pumpkin seeds in the crust. I will make a link to this--in the meantime, have a look at virginie's lovely recipe, folks.

9:28 AM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Everyone, please note I have corrected the recipe.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Fiber said...

Okay, wow. I absolutely must make this. It looks completely fantastic.

8:43 PM  
Blogger mommy said...

hi, thanks for the recipe- i was just dreaming up what would be a good alternative to regular pumpkin pie for our upcoming Canadian thanksgiving- I typed in the ingredients i was dreaming of and voila! here you have it! i have one question- what kind of chocolate do you use? baker's or something sweet?

2:08 PM  

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