Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blown Away!

I know there are many out there who love Fall because they love to eat pumpkin-flavored baked goods.  I am not one of these people.  I do not like pumpkin.  I mean, why would you put a squash in a perfectly good chocolate chip cookie???  No thanks.  However, my son acquired a sugar pie pumpkin at a preschool activity and was anxious for me to "cook it."  I don't like wasting produce, so I thought, "why not?"  I looked at that little pumpkin and was pretty sure it wasn't big enough to create a whole pumpkin pie.  I've never made pumpkin pie before but it seemed like a lot of pumpkin would be necessary.  So at the store last night, they were on sale and I bought a second one.  Today was a stay-at-home-day so I decided to embark upon making pumpkin pie completely from scratch (except the crust, I wasn't feeling *that* ambitious).
I started by roasting the pumpkins.  To do this, cut the stem off the pumpkin, then cut it in half.  Scoop out the seeds and strands until it's relatively clean.  On a foil lined sheet, place the pumpkin halves face down.  Then cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 1.5 hours.  After the pumpkin comes out of the oven, let it cool then scoop it out into a bowl (minus skin).  Puree until smooth.
After I did this, I realized I had way more pumpkin than I needed for one pie.  There's your second lesson: one pumpkin = one pie.  So I decided I would test out a couple of recipes and began googling.  I came across a chocolate pumpkin pie recipe from the Washington Post which I knew I immediately had to try.  Perhaps I would like pumpkin pie if it was masked in dark chocolate?  (The answer is YES!)  Then I looked for the most distinctive-flavored traditional pumpkin pie recipe I could find.  In the end, and remember I don't like pumpkin, they were both fantastic.  The chocolate one almost has the texture of cheesecake.  It is SO amazing and very rich.  The traditional one has a lemon zest flavor that runs through it that is delicious.  I would definitely make either of these recipes again and I didn't think using fresh pumpkins was that big of a deal, although it definitely does require more up-front time.  I don't have a frame of reference to know whether or not they taste lots better, but I would guess they do.
I made the traditional pumpkin pie recipe exactly as I found it.  I wouldn't change anything so HERE it is.
The chocolate pumpkin pie recipe I did tweak, so HERE is the original if you'd like to see it.  I changed it because it called for canned pumpkin and I was using fresh, I was unsure of the flavor combo of chocolate with some of the spices and I didn't have heavy cream so I used half-n-half.  Here is my rendition, and seriously, MAKE THIS:
Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Pie (adapted from the Midnight Pumpkin Pie recipe in the Washington Post)
1 cup half-n-half
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate bits (I used 3 rows of a Trader Joe's dark chocolate brick)
2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 prepared (raw) 9" pie crust
 1. Heat the oven to 350 F.
2. In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat the half-n-half until just bubbling. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until completely melted and smooth.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and the chocolate-mixture. Add the eggs, whisking until everything is thoroughly combined.
4. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared crust. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center is set.
Note about baking these pies: When you get to the last 5-10 minutes or so, baby the pie.  Check it often and get it out of the oven as soon as it is remotely close to being set.  Otherwise you get a dry pie.
The Chocolate.

The Traditional.
And now, go forth and stun your friends and family at Thanksgiving.  I promise you will be blown away.


  1. Wow! These really jazz up the traditional pumpkin pie recipes. I'll be sure to try them out and amaze everyone on Thanksgiving Day. Thanks!

  2. You are so good! I might try it- I'm like you, not really a fan of pumpkin. But chocolate always makes everything better!