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Thursday, November 24,2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie in a Chocolate Crust

By Danette Randall

Oh Thanksgiving, you are such a lovely holiday. With your beautiful earthy, dark colors (which look fantastic on me, by the way) and the absence of gifts, and gift cards, and going broke, and, well … truth be told, I love all those things, but nice to have a holiday all about gatherings, football and, of course, food.

Thanksgiving always seems like the one time everyone digs into dessert. People may respectfully decline (losers) at dinner parties, or other events, but something about Turkey Day screams pass the pie, bring on the whipped cream, and keep your judgmental looks to yourself, ’cause I'm going to be making mmmm noises.

Well, this week’s treat will have you grabbing seconds, and I don't mean a piece, I mean a second pie. Why not? Got to give thanks for the tasty recipe, might as well make (eat) two.  

So, my recipe for this stuff-yourself-like-a-turkey kind of holiday is Chocolate Pumpkin Pie in a Chocolate Crust. Nothing wrong with stuffing yourself on that delicious treat, so give me a big ol’ “hello to the yum!”

Now, I know you don't always think of chocolate mixing with pumpkin, but let me say, try it, you'll like it. Chocolate smoothes out the pumpkin flavor, and makes it mellow, dude. The cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg go so swimmingly with the chocolate, you will want to spice up your chocolate from here on out.

I suggest semi-sweet, but if you like a lighter feel, you can do milk. I think semi-sweet or dark really works the best with the pumpkin, but you know yourself better, and what might work with your family and friends.

I don't think that deep when making up my menu, I just make what I like, and what I know I make well, and then they darn well better like something on the table, or Denny's is open 24/7, I tell them. Don't you wish you were invited to my place? And to top it all off, I might drag you to Target or Toys R Us, or some incredibly crowded place to save $10 on a stereo or microwave — or a Snuggie — good times!

This really is a somewhat simple little recipe. A basic pumpkin pie with a few twists. The filling will have a nice little chocolate surprise running through it, but it's the chocolate crust that makes this little dessert sing. Who can resist a chocolate-ey graham cracker crust with a smooth, creamy filling? Top off with whipped cream and some chocolate curls, and you will be the hostess with the mostess. Everyone will be thankful for you and your treat. You will be thankful for me, and the ability to read and follow my directions. I will be thankful for you, and that you followed my directions, and that you tolerate me saying things like, you will be thankful for me.

Geesh, who do I think I am, the tooth fairy? Anthony Bourdain? Whoever it is, I'm thinking pretty highly of my treats (myself) these days. It's OK, we all need to pat ourselves on the back sometimes. If you can't reach your own, give me a call, I will gladly come over and pat it for you. That's my real Thanksgiving treat for you.

Now, follow the directions, put some love into it, and invite me over when it's done. Happy Thanksgiving.

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie in a Chocolate Crust

2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 15-16 crackers — you can also use Oreo cookie crumbs)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
6 tbsp. melted butter
15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups if scooping out from a pumpkin)
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2/3 cup milk (I used 2%)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Mix well. Press down and up sides of 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 7-9 minutes until starting to harden up and lightly brown. Take out, let cool.

In large bowl, combine pumpkin and brown sugar. In small bowl, beat eggs and add them to pumpkin mixture. Mix in vanilla, cocoa powder and spices until well combined. Stir in milk.

Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until set, and center only slightly jiggles. Cool completely. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder, or chocolate shavings (if desired). Enjoy!

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