Pumpkin Pie Gets a Creamy, Nutty Upgrade From This One Ingredient

Oh, and it has a chocolate crust.

November  8, 2018

As an unapologetic choco-holic, I’ve always been a little disappointed at Thanksgiving. Nothing against pumpkin or pecan pie—I always save room for a slice of both. But when it comes to dessert, the flavor I’m most thankful for is chocolate.

I wanted to add a chocolate element to this year's dessert table, but without adding a whole new dessert. So, I decided to give a chocolatey twist to a classic.

I thought of a few ideas to add a little cocoa flair to traditional holiday pies without creating any extra work. And the one I liked most can be applied to any pie you make by simply adding cocoa powder to pie dough. Yep, you heard right: Chocolate pie crust.

When making the dough, subtract a little flour, add some cocoa, a little extra sugar than normal (to contrast the bitterness of the cocoa), and splash more water to make the crust easy to roll. Once baked, the crust is just as crisp, buttery, and flaky as regular pie crust, but a bit sweeter and, of course, chocolatey. A coworker of mine even compared the taste of the crust to a Chocolate Fudge Pop-Tart. (In other words, I nailed it.)

To balance the sweetness of the crust, I grabbed an ingredient I’ve been obsessed with lately, tahini, to make a pumpkin pie that’s slightly less sweet and extremely creamy.

When making Zahav’s Hummus Tehina a few weeks ago and I learned that tahini, once blended with chickpeas and cold water, takes on a light and airy texture. I applied this same method to my pie filling. Blending the canned pumpkin with lots of tahini and cold milk with a food processor creates a luscious filling far creamier than your average pumpkin pie.

Once the pie is baked and cooled, top it off with a cloud of fluffy whipped cream and a little drizzle of tahini. If you’re a fan of whipped cream from the can, that’s fine too.

So, whether you make this pumpkin and tahini pie or use the chocolate crust recipe on another Thanksgiving favorite, I’m certain everyone will be thankful that chocolate has finally made its way to the Thanksgiving table.

Does your Thanksgiving table include a chocolate dessert? Tell us what you make in the comments section below!

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Grant Melton is an Emmy Award-Winning producer, recipe developer and food writer. His favorite food is chocolate chip cookies (with salt.)

1 Comment

catalinalacruz December 11, 2018
Nope, this didn't work for me. I really prefer the pure pumpkin flavor (with spices) than the pumpkin flavor diluted with tahini. For the best pumpkin pie recipe, try The Great Pumpkin Pie by Rose Levy Beranbaum on Epicurious.