Triple-Chocolate Pumpkin Pie (Martha Stewart Living November 2008)
Zach's sister Cassidy was in charge of desserts for our Thanksgiving dinner. We didn't give her any direction other than "BRING US PIE!" Turns out, she knocked it out of the park!
We had initially planned on making an additional dessert -- a spiced cranberry bread pudding. But when Cassidy showed up with these two decadent pies, we tossed our plans our the window.
We had actually considered making this Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie ourselves after seeing it in the November issue of Martha Stewart Living. But Zach was a little unsure about the combination of chocolate and pumpkin -- might it be too weird?
Suffice it to say, we've all seen the light. This pie is a smooth, creamy treat. And the chocolate and flavors actually play off each other extremely well. The pumpkin taste doesn't compete, really. It just adds an amazing depth to the chocolate flavor -- almost an earthy, husky, semisweet taste that balances the chocolate and keeps it from being too sweet.
Ritz Mock Apple Pie (from the Kraft website via Pete Bakes)
The other pie that Cassidy brought also happened to be one we'd been curious to try. Earlier this year, our fellow DC food blogger Pete Bakes did a blind taste test of his mom's apple pie recipe vs. a "mock" apple pie that doesn't actually contain any apples. (Pete's blog is great, by the way, although we feel like we gain weight just by reading about all his delicious baked goods.)
Anyway, when Pete failed his own taste test and picked the mock pie as the real deal, our curiosity was piqued: How in the world could this recipe transform Ritz crackers, butter, lemon and cinnamon into a convincing apple pie?
Well, we still don't know how, but we can tell you it's true. This dish tastes exactly like a classic apple pie. Eating it is like experimenting with culinary illusion -- you know it shouldn't taste anything like apples, and yet it does. It's almost disconcerting.
Truth be told, in the
future we'd probably rather just make a pie with actual apples (this
mock pie may have the taste down, but there's something to be said for
the texture of a traditional apple pie).
But if you're in a pinch for time, this recipe could be Heaven-sent -- you can crush a stack of Ritz crackers a heckuva lot faster than you can peel, core and chop a half-dozen apples.
Keep reading for the recipes for these pies.
FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
* 2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers)
* 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
* 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
* 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61 percent cacao), finely chopped
FOR THE FILLING
* 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (preferably 55 percent cacao), chopped
* 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
* 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
* 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
* 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
* 3 large eggs
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* Ground cloves
* 1 ounce milk chocolate, melted
1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugars, salt, and cinnamon in bowl. Firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of a deep, 9 1/2-inch pie dish. Bake until firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Remove from oven, and sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over bottom of crust. Return to oven to melt chocolate, about 1 minute. Spread chocolate in a thin layer on bottom and up sides. Let cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
3. Make the filling: In a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt semisweet chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
4. Mix pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves in a medium bowl. Whisk 1/3 pumpkin mixture into chocolate mixture. Whisk in remaining pumpkin mixture until completely incorporated.
5. Transfer pie dish to a rimmed baking sheet, and pour pumpkin mixture into crust. Bake until center is set but still a bit wobbly, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pie dish on a wire rack. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours (preferably overnight). Before serving, drizzle melted milk chocolate on top. Serve immediately.
Ritz Mock Apple Pie
from the Kraft website via Pete Bakes
pastry for 2-crust 9″ pie
36 ritz crackers, coarsely broken (about 1 3/4 cups)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar
grated peel of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. preheat oven to 425 F. roll out half of the pastry and place in 9″ pie dish (or use ready-made pie crust dish). place cracker crumbs inside.
2. mix sugar and cream of tartar in medium saucepan. gradually stir in 1 3/4 cups water until blended. bring to a boil. reduce to a low heat and simmer for 15 minutes. add lemon peel and juice and cool.
3. pour syrup over cracker crumbs. dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. roll out remaining pastry and place over pie. trim and seal edges and slit top crust to allow steam to escape.
4. bake 30-35 mintues or until crust is golden and crisp. cool completely before eating. put the pie pan on a baking sheet in the oven in case any filling bubbles out.