After putting my guests on beverage and bread detail in the interests of a cohesive Thanksgiving feast, I’ll cop to my easygoing attitude toward desserts.
I’m fortunate to know so many people who like to bake because, if I had my way, I would skip dessert altogether. The image of guests tearing me to bits like the turkey-crazed hounds in “A Christmas Story” makes me think better of depriving them of that final course. Luckily, Thanksgiving is the ideal holiday for apathetic, haphazard bakers like me.
Pumpkin pie is basically a dump-and-run maneuver. I could never conscience purchasing canned “pumpkin pie filling” when combining pumpkin puree with spices, eggs, etc., takes a mere five minutes.
Nor do I care for pie crusts preformed in tin pans. But I’m a regular consumer of refrigerated pie crusts that also take just a minute or so to unroll, flop in your own pie pan and flute to suggest authenticity. It’s not the most credible practice for a cook, I realize, but I have to be honest with myself: Considering the rarity of occasions I would have to perfect my own pastry, I’m pretty confident that I can’t do any better than Pillsbury (Western Family brand is actually just as good).
Pecan pie, a family favorite, tacks on just another couple of minutes beyond pumpkin’s preparation. Simmer some corn syrup with some eggs, stir in some pecans (you don’t even have to chop them) and pour into a pie shell. Such simplistic recipes leave me plenty of time to whip cream from its liquid form.
For someone who espouses using whole foods, I realize these methods leave something to be desired. But let’s be real, people: It’s DESSERT. It’s not that good for you anyway, no matter if your butter is locally churned and your sugar is organic. Give me a ripe pear and a slice of cheese any day.
However, I do have a soft spot for pumpkin, particularly when combined with chocolate, a grossly underrated and underrepresented pairing. When Dairy Queen used to feature pumpkin soft-serve between Halloween and Thanksgiving, one of my guilty pleasures was ordering the ice cream dipped in chocolate.
So, naturally, this recipe from The Associated Press caught my eye. It would be a fun twist on the classic holiday dessert with hardly a few added minutes of preparation, particularly if a refrigerator-section crust was used. If you’re a glutton for desserts and holiday punishment, check out the story on our Holiday 101 page with recipes for pie crust.
Midnight Pumpkin Pie
1 cup heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate bits
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1⁄2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground, dry ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 prepared but unbaked, deep-dish pie crust
Heat the oven to 350 F.
In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat the cream until just bubbling. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate bits. Stir until completely melted and smooth.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, salt and chocolate-cream mixture. Add the eggs, whisking until everything is thoroughly combined.
If it isn’t already, fit the pie crust into a 9-inch, deep pie pan. Pour pumpkin mixture into crust. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until center is set and no longer jiggles.
Makes 8 servings.