Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday is PIE DAY!

It is a March day of nearly 80 degrees in Minnesota and I baked a pumpkin pie. The house was filled with the scent of toasting nuts, autumn spices and roasting pumpkin, and I was decked out in a t-shirt and flip flops with the front and back doors wide open. My sense of seasonal rightness is askew, but with good reason. Every year, I vow to shake things up at Thanksgiving with a new version of pumpkin pie. But, every year, I am met with requests for classic pumpkin pie-no nuts, no cream cheese, no nothing-just good old fashion pumpkin pie, please and thank you. I get it. Don't go messing with tradition. Taste buds and memories are all trained in and memories are ingrained. But, I want to be prepared for that year of wild abandon at the Thanksgiving table. I know it will come. The turkey will get a new glaze, the stuffing will have sausage or nuts or fruit in it (or all three!), mashed potatoes will mingle with parsnips, and this pie will be served.

Thus, I am baking a pumpkin pie on an 80 (nearly. close enough to say 80 for effect) degree day in March.
These are my two main ingredients for shaking things up: pecans and chocolate chili sugar (from here).
 It's gettin' crazy 'round here.
The first step in breaking the rules is a pecan crust. Using your favorite crust recipe, substitute 1/2 cup ground pecans for 1/2 cup of the flour in the recipe. Also, halve the amount of liquid in the recipe. Easy.
Roll it out just like a regular old crust, and fill with pumpkin pie filling-straight up, no frills here...yet.
The nuts in the crust give it a gorgeous dark brown flecked appearance.
So pretty with the bright pumpkin filling!
You could stop right there if you're not ready to take things to far.
I, however, am going for it. Get ready.
That pumpkin filling is about to get a thrill. And so are you.

More pecans, sugar and spice are combined in a super crunchy pie topping.
(With, naturally, a bit of butter to wrap it all up)
All mixed up (and I'm talking about the topping, not me) and ready for a little time in the oven.
The finishing touch? Chocolate, of course.
All happily jumbled together and rubbing elbows on top of the pumpkin.
Oh, what the heck, how about a bit more chocolate? Yes, you say? Alright then.
Drizzled on top for the final, taste bud tantalizing, tummy fluttering touch.
Ta-da! No more boring pumpkin around here. I should enjoy it now, because I'm sure come November,
classic pumpkin will be back in demand. But our day will come, my pretty little pumpkin pie, our day will come.

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Crunch Pie

single 9" pecan pie crust


2 cups canned pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t salt

-mix all in large bowl, whisking until creamy
-pour into prepared pie crust
-bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes
-decrease temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 45-50 additional minutes,
until toothpick test comes out clean


1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 T chocolate chili sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground cayenne
1/8 t salt
1 T butter, melted

1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate pieces, divided

-mix first five ingredients in small bowl
-pour butter over mixture and stir to combine
-spread in single layer on small baking sheet
-bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes

-let cool completely
-mix with 1/4 cup chopped chocolate
-layer on top of cooled pumpkin pie

-in double boiler, melt remaining 1/4 cup chocolate pieces,
stirring constantly until smooth
-using teaspoon, drizzle over top of pie


  1. I can smell the sweetness of this pie, wishing it was baking in my kitchen! :) Thanks for sharing and I love the topping! :) xo Heather

  2. pure joy my friend...pumpkin pie is one of my favourite...the crunch part sounds amazing.
    How can it be so nice down there? We are still freezing up here. Enjoy! Lucky you.

  3. Heather and Koralee you should give this one a whirl..we had a lot of taste testers for this one, and it was a huge hit!

    Still freezing there? Oh no...I say, perfect pie baking weather:)

    xo christine

  4. Where can i get Chocolate Chili Spice? This recipe sounds amazing!