Pumpkin pie is a fall staple and it is hard to go wrong with a homemade one for any fall occasion, from well before Halloween to long after Thanksgiving. Unlike other pie recipes, there aren’t that many variations on a traditional pumpkin pie out there. While some recipes might switch things up for a slightly different spice blend, they all generally deliver a satisfying combination of spices, brown sugar and pumpkin. This Chocolate Pumpkin Pie is a departure from your traditional recipe and is the result of the many requests I’ve had from family members who like pumpkin but love chocolate.
Chocolate and pumpkin go really well together in general – think about pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips and similar desserts – and the idea for a chocolate pumpkin pie popped into my head when I was thinking about this fact. I couldn’t recall ever having seen a chocolate pumpkin pie and I certainly had never eaten one (before I made this one, of course), so I didn’t have a great reference to compare it to as I worked on this recipe.
Fortunately, this turned out to be a very delicious way to change things up the next time you bake a pumpkin pie.
It has the slightly custardy texture that is the signature of a good pumpkin pie with a decadent burst of chocolate flavor to give it richness. The flavor of the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices come through nicely, but balance with the bittersweet chocolate flavor of the cocoa powder. There is more than enough chocolate flavor to please a chocoholic. In fact, this may very well be the perfect dessert for the holidays because you will be able to please the pie lovers and the chocolate lovers with one seasonal dish (unless they only like pecans, not pumpkin, in which case you might want to opt for pecan cake for the family dinner and save this pie all for yourself later).
This pie is even more special if you bake it in a chocolate graham cracker crust (recipe below), but a traditional graham cracker crust will be just as tasty. Chill the pie before serving for the neatest slices and add a dollop of whipped cream if you’re feeling indulgent.
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
1 9-inch Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 – 15-oz. can pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk (low fat is fine)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine all crust ingredients into a medium bowl and stir to combine. Press wet crumbs into the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10 inch pie plate. Bake 12-15 minutes, until just beginning to brown at the corners.
Set aside to cool completely before filling.
Turn oven up to 425F.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until slightly foamy, about 1 minute. Whisk in all the remaining ingredients, except the milk, and beat until smooth. Then whisk in the milk.
Pour mixture into prepared, cooled pie crust (you can also use a pastry crust or a store-bought pie crust) and bake for 15 minutes at 425F. Reduce the temperature to 350F and bake for about 30 more minutes, until the pie filling jiggles only slightly and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting and refrigerate if storing leftovers.
*While I typically like graham cracker crusts with pumpkin pie (and the one pictured here has a graham crust), this pie is also excellent with a regular crust. Use the instructions for this single crust pie to make and prebake the shell, then fill it with the pumpkin filling and bake as directed above.