Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! Today’s post will be short and sweet, since I imagine many of you guys will be either in the kitchen and/or spending much-needed time with your family or friends. In any case, that’s the way it should be.

Since my family isn’t American, I’ve never really celebrated Thanksgiving. I guess Erlend and I have been dating long enough that we’ve started our own traditions, which is that we roast a duck instead of turkey (since neither of us are particularly big fans of the latter). This year, with two additional housemates in tow, we’ve created an Asian-style feast to accompany the duck, including char siu buns, momofuku-style brussels sprouts, and this chocolate and pumpkin pie. And yes, while the chocolate and pumpkin pie is admittedly out of place, I wanted to make one as an homage to a more traditional Thanksgiving. Oh, and because it is delicious.

And of course, this year, I’m thankful for:

Finally finding a home for myself in Portland, OR. And I don’t mean that just in the literal sense (because, yes, I did buy an actual house this year, and my goodness I’m incredibly grateful for that too), but in the greater sense — after three lonely years in three unfamiliar cities, it’s a relief to really, truly know that Portland is where I want to be.

Having an awesome job at a technology company that I believe in, with team members I respect and a boss that I admire, all the while allowing me to afford luxuries like a Canon 5D Mark II, a West Elm dining table and a coat from Pendleton’s Portland Collection.

For my health. A few years ago, I had let my body deteriorate to the point where I couldn’t sit up straight properly and my poor posture was inducing carpal tunnel syndrome at the age of 20. Grim, right? How since then, I’ve biked across the country from New Hampshire to Vancouver, run a countless number of miles on both roads and trails, learned how to climb a 5.10d route with relative ease, and now have the ability to deadlift 225 pounds and clean 75% of my body weight.

Erlend, my boyfriend of four years (which is crazy to think about) — for growing up with me, and for putting up with my shit for as long as he has. For being my best friend.

My mom. For being a such a wonderful role model and how, when I was younger, she taught me so many important things, both major and minor, that pertain to almost all facets of my life. It’s only now that I realize their significance and how these lessons become more and more valuable every day.

My friends — whether here, San Francisco, New York, or London — knowing that I can rely on them no matter where we are or whatever distance separates us. How with technology, they are only ever an email, text or funny gif away. And how, despite only seeing each other once a year (or in the unfortunate case of my British friends, every 3 years), when we meet, it’s as if the time and geography that separates us doesn’t exist. I’m talking about you, Masterson, Julie, Tracy, Dan, Kiron and Nathan.

You and the rest of my readers. For taking the time to visit this site and read about my baking adventures, for your kind comments and your encouragement about this crazy, all-consuming hobby of mine. And, for putting up with my terrible iPhone photos in the beginning.

    Without further ado, the recipe. But first, some baker's notes:
    • Chocolate lovers, this pumpkin pie is for you. The pie's main flavors — pumpkin, chocolate and cinnamon — combine together and remind me of Mexican chocolate. The pumpkin and cinnamon give the chocolate just a little bit of a subtle, spicy kick.

    • If you can't find chocolate graham crackers, use Oreos that have been scraped free of frosting. Similarly, if you want a more contrasting pie (as opposed to a monotone pie like you see in the pictures — all chocolate everything for life!), use regular graham crackers.

    • I put chocolate chips in the filling because I love the contrasting texture that they give (they retain their shape when baked) when biting into the creamy pie filling and the crunchy crust. If you prefer a completely smooth pie filling, omit the chocolate chips.

    • This pie can be played in two ways — you can either have an all black, double layered pie like I did where it's chocolate up top, and orange pumpkin in the bottom (if this is what you want, follow the recipe below) or you can create a pie with marbled chocolate and pumpkin top. If you want a marbled pie, drop the chocolate pie filling in large blobs in different parts of the pie, and use a wooden skewer or a toothpick to gently drag the chocolate through the pumpkin to create a swirling effect. 

    Chocolate Pumpkin Pie




    For the Chocolate Crust:
    (makes one 9-inch pie)
    • 9 ounces chocolate graham cracker
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

    For the Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Filling:
    (makes one 9-inch pie)
    • 15 ounces (1 can) pumpkin puree
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for garnish
    • 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, plus more fore garnish



    For the Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 (F). Prepare a 9-inch pie plate by spraying liberally with cooking spray and place the prepared pie plate on a sheet pan.

    2. Combine 9 ounces chocolate graham crackers, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a food processor and pulse in short intervals until the graham crackers have fully crumbled and you have a mixture with the consistency of sand. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, and slowly stir in 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter, using a rubber spatula to toss the crumbs together until you have the consistency of wet sand.

    3. Transfer the moist crumbs to your prepared 9-inch pie pan. Use your palms and/or the back of your hand to press the crumbs onto the bottom and up the sides of the plate to create an even, consistent layer. Set aside.

    4. In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine 15 ounces pumpkin puree, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 eggs, and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Whisk on low speed until just combined and the mixture becomes a uniform, pale orange color.

    5. Transfer 1/2 cup of the pumpkin filling into a small bowl, preferably a liquid measuring cup with a spout. Pour 1/3 cup chocolate chips into the larger bowl of pumpkin filling, before pouring over the prepared pie crust in pie plate. Set aside. 

    6. Whisk 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder into the pumpkin filling until it is a uniform brown — at first the cocoa powder will sit up top the filling and refuse to integrate, so be sure to whisk vigorously. 

    7. Pour the chocolate-flavored pumpkin filling on top of orange pumpkin filling in the pie crust, starting in the center and spiraling out towards the edges. At first, the chocolate filling should leave a spiral trail, but the chocolate will expand and cover the top of the orange filling, turning the entire pie a uniform chocolate color.

    8. Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Be careful not to overbake! When the pie is finished baking, the edges will have set but it will still be slightly jiggly in the center — the pie will continue to set as it cools. Transfer the finished pie to a wire rack to cool completely, before garnishing with unsweetened cocoa powder before serving.



    1. This looks AWESOME!!! And I love it that you kept the pumpkin and chocolate elements separate. I tried a similar pie this past week with the pumpkin and chocolate elements combined and didn't like it at all. The chocolate totally dominated the pumpkin. Can 't wait to try this version. Happy Thanksgiving, Michelle! :-)

    2. I hope you had a delicious day yesterday! This pie looks totally killer; love the combination of chocolate and pumpkin and that you've got the distinct layers going on there.

    3. <3 <3
      This is an odd thing to comment on, but the texture of the linen looks amazing in the last photo. The pie does, too, of course.

    4. Oh that is one absolutely beautiful pumpkin pie!

    5. I made this pie yesterday, it was actually my 1st pumpkin pie and it was good but waaaaaay too sweet. I mean I like things sweet but that was too much even for me. Also it didn't become as thick as this one on the picture above, maybe because I substituted one of the eggs with cornstarch (I hate the eggy taste in bakes). Anyway it was delicious and thanks for the recipe! :)

      1. Hi there,

        I think your substitution of cornstarch instead of the egg is probably what made the pie too sweet — eggs, in addition to giving baked goods structure from their protein, help temper the sugar's taste. The pie isn't intended to have an eggy flavor anyway, so I think leaving it in there would have been fine and helped cut down on the sweetness that you experienced.

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