This post is about pie. Glorious, glorious pie that I baked for Thanksgiving. And I suppose I should mention that Joe and I also ran a turkey trot on Thanksgiving! My husband does not love running – he prefers his cardio with chlorine and most of his workouts with free weights. But he laced up for his first official 5k for Thanksgiving (and for me!). It was cold. It was windy. It was through a cemetery, which I’ve only ever done for Halloween runs, so that was different. But it was fun! I love starting out a day dedicated to gluttony with a brisk run.
And now, let’s get to the real heroes of this post: pumpkin pie and chocolate cream pie. Now, I’m normally pretty traditional when it comes to holiday pies. I’ll do a pumpkin and an apple, because isn’t that what people want? But I decided to mix it up this year with chocolate cream pie, and it was a hit.
Pie #1: The Great Pumpkin Pie
The pumpkin pie recipe I’ve done before. It’s become a much-requested classic and has garnered praise like, “the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had.” So hats off to this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I also used her pie crust recipe for both the pumpkin and chocolate cream pie.
- 1 cup (120g) fresh cranberries1
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (240ml) water
- Homemade pie crust (full recipe makes 2 crusts: 1 for bottom, 1 for leaf decor)
- one 15oz can (about 2 cups; 450g) pumpkin puree2
- 3 large eggs
- 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark here)
- 1 Tablespoon (15g) cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger3
- 1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg3
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves3
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (60ml) milk (I use 1% – any is fine)
- egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk
- For the cranberries: Place cranberries in a large bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of sugar and the water to a boil and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Pour sugar syrup over the cranberries and stir. Let the cranberries sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight (ideal). You’ll notice the sugar syrup is quite thick after this amount of time. Drain the cranberries from the syrup and pour 1 cup of sugar on top. Toss the cranberries, coating them all the way around. Pour the sugared cranberries on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet and let them dry for at least 2 hours.
- Make the pie crust through step 5 according to my directions, tips, and pictures. Or use store-bought.
- For the pumpkin pie filling: Whisk the pumpkin, 3 eggs, and brown sugar together until combined. Add the cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cream, and milk. Vigorously whisk until everything is combined. Filling will be a little thick.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Roll out the chilled pie crust: Remove 1 disc of pie dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle. Make sure to turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. With a small and sharp knife, trim the extra overhang of crust and discard. Crimp the edges with your fingers, if desired. Brush edges lightly with egg wash mixture. Using pie weights, pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes.
- Pour pumpkin pie filling into the warm pre-baked crust. Only fill the crust about 3/4 of the way up. (Use extra to make mini pies with leftover pie dough scraps if you’d like.) Bake the pie until the center is almost set, about 55-60 minutes give or take. A small part of the center will be wobbly – that’s ok. After 25 minutes of baking, be sure to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or use a pie crust shield to prevent the edges from getting too brown. Check for doneness at minute 50, and then 55, and then 60, etc.
- Once done, transfer the pie to a wire rack and allow to cool completely for at least 3 hours. Decorate with sugared cranberries and pie crust leaves (see note). You’ll definitely have leftover cranberries – they’re tasty for snacking. Serve pie with whipped cream if desired. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
If you need a pumpkin pie recipe, use this one. Seriously. My husband, who claims not to like pumpkin pie, ate multiple slices. There was also enough left over to make some super cute mini pies in a muffin tin so I could sample them beforehand.
Pie #2: Chocolate Cream Pie
I love King Arthur Flour recipes. They never steer me wrong, and I have become the biggest King Arthur Flour fan girl (friends and family have still not heard the end of it from when KAF commented on one of my Instagram posts). So for a pie I’ve never made before, there was really nowhere else to turn for a recipe. So here it is.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional; for richer chocolate flavor*
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 cup heavy cream, divided
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*I did not have this, so I didn’t use it.
Place the chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract in a 2-quart mixing bowl; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan away from heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, espresso powder, and salt. Whisk in 1/4 cup of cold heavy cream until the mixture is smooth, with no lumps. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of the cream. Whisk in the egg yolks.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat, and gradually whisk in the remaining cream and milk.
- Bring to a boil, whisking constantly as the mixture thickens; boil for 1 minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the reserved chocolate and butter.
- Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Pass the filling through a strainer into a bowl to remove any lumps.
- Place plastic wrap or buttered parchment paper on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and chill thoroughly.
- Place the heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl.
- Whip until the whisk begins to leave tracks in the bowl.
- Add the sugar and vanilla and whip until the cream holds a medium peak.
- Transfer the cooled filling to the cooled, baked pie crust. Level the top with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
- Spoon or pipe the whipped cream on top.
- Chill the pie until ready to serve.