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

Food52 logo Food52 11/8/2018 Grant Melton

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.

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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.

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Pumpkin & Tahini Pie with Chocolate Pie Crust

By Grant Melton

For the Chocolate Pie Crust

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Pumpkin & Tahini Pie

  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup tahini, plus more for serving
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • Whipped cream, for serving

View Full Recipe


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

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