Chocolate pumpkin pie

I celebrated my birthday this year by hiking up Hong Kong’s lion rock, from which you can see the city and harbor in one direction and continuous undulating hills of green in the other. The words you use for this sort of thing–breathtaking, spectacular, humbling–they’re all true, but they also don’t quite capture the feeling of standing on top of this thing and just laughing because no other reaction makes sense. Also I ate snake, so overall a pretty great birthday.

Chocolate pumpkin pie |

More pictures of Hong Kong coming soon (so. many. pictures.), but in the meantime I came back to real life and celebrated my birthday in a much more traditional way–with baked goods! Our monthly birthdays-at-work celebration chose pies this time around, and I made this one. And then I made it again two days later for my (pizza) party, despite self-identifying as a cake person. It’s just that good.

Chocolate pumpkin pie | Chocolate pumpkin pie | Chocolate pumpkin pie |

I have to admit that it’s a little confusing. Some people called it pie, others considered it cheesecake, but most of us ignored semantics and went back for another slice. It has the custard base of a traditional pumpkin pie, but that’s about where the similarities end. With a cookie crumb crust, chocolate in the crust and the filling, and a little bit of cream cheese when you thought it couldn’t get richer, it certainly isn’t shy. For anyone who has always lamented the lack of chocolate on the Thanksgiving table, this is the perfect compromise between tradition and unabashed chocoholism.

Other than the requisite few hours to cool, it’s even pretty easy. Smash some cookies, melt some chocolate, and you’re halfway there. It doesn’t really need any adornment, but whipped cream (or chocolate whipped cream–you’re already going there, why not go all the way?) makes a simple but beautiful topping.

Chocolate pumpkin pie | Chocolate pumpkin pie |

Chocolate pumpkin pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Need some chocolate on your Thanksgiving table? Or just a new way to eat everyone's favorite fall vegetable? This spin on the classic pumpkin pie combines the best of both worlds.
  • CRUST:
  • 1½ c. (200 g) vanilla cookie crumbs
  • 2 T. (30 g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 2 oz.butter
  • 3 oz. dark chocolate (70%), chopped
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 3 oz. dark chocolate (70%), chopped
  • 1 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 oz. butter
  • 15 oz. (1 can, 420 g) pumpkin puree, or make your own squash puree!
  • ¾ c. (160 g) dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 T. (26 g) bourbon
  • 1 T. (10 g) cornstarch
  • 1½ t. (11 g) salt
  • 1½ t. cinnamon
  • ½ t. fresh ginger, grated
  • ¼ t. nutmeg, grated
  1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix the cookie crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Brown the butter and mix into the crumb mixture. Press firmly into the bottom of a springform pan or a pie tin.
  3. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until just turning golden brown. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the crust and return to the oven for one minute. Remove from the oven and gentlly spread the chocolate with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Don't worry about getting it totally even, and don't disturb the crust too much. Let cool.
  4. Make the filling: Heat the cream cheese, dark and milk chocolates, and butter over a double boiler or in short intervals in the microwave. Stir well until fully mixed.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, bourbon, cornstarch, salt, and spices. Stir in the chocolate mixture and mix until evenly colored. Pour into the chocolate-lined crust. Smooth the top.
  6. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until the top loses its sheen and the center feels firm to the touch.
  7. Let cool for 30 minutes, then chill for at least four hours or overnight. Serve with whipped cream if you like to live on the edge.
Inspired by this tart, but I didn’t have any whipped cream in the fridge so I mashed it up with this pie. And also went off-script a little–but when is bourbon not a good idea?

I roasted and pureed a butternut squash for the “pumpkin” in this recipe, which turned out great! I strained the puree as suggested here and it did wonders for the texture.