This isnt the first time this season that Ive given a recipe the smores treatment. In my opinion, you cant really go wrong by adding some chocolate or topping a dessert with toasted marshmallow. This Smores Black Bottom Pumpkin Pie is no exception. It is the perfect twist on your traditional Thanksgiving dessert that you didnt even know you needed.
Ever since I smores-ified Pumpkin Cupcakes and a Pumpkin Sheet Cake, Ive been dying to makeover a traditional pumpkin pie. So when Shauna Severs new book, Midwest Made, landed on the doorstep and was flipped open to her stunning Pumpkin Meringue Pie, I knew it was destiny.
While I love spending countless hours meticulously decorating cakes and taking on baking projects, like French macarons, Shauna reminds us in her third book that not all baking has to be so extravagant. In her love letter to Americas Heartland, she shows us how to bake BIG, bake EASY, bake with PURPOSE, bake in THE PRESENT, and bake FROM THE PAST. Written with true heart and appreciation for the different cultures that make up this particular region, Shauna gives us permission to slow down, gather, and share - especially in the cold winter months when you want nothing more than to turn on the oven, bake something ooey and gooey that can be easily slathered in glaze and shared with family, friends, neighbours, or anyone else that might be stopping by on a Wednesday afternoon.
To be honest, I havent gotten too far into Shaunas book yet. Its the kind of thick, hardcover cookbook you take to bed and read or curl up on the couch with (as well as into the kitchen, of course). Her writing is intoxicating and makes you want to make every single thing. I find myself thinking of excuses to make each of her recipes that I come across, but then remember that I dont have to - when baking is your love language and an invitation to gather (something I feel like Shauna and I both have in common), then warm baked goods from the Midwest are always welcome.
This is a solid pumpkin pie recipe no mater how you serve it. The ingredient list is straight-forward and doesnt call for evaporated milk (which I never seem to have on hand). I spread a layer of ganache on my favorite all-butter pie crust and used her Italian meringue recipe for the topping (I typically opt for Swiss meringue, but the cooked sugar syrup of Italian meringue makes it more stable and a superior option for this pie). The chocolate chip polka dot pattern was inspired by Sister Pie out of Detroit. It is so cute and I had to incorporate it!
The crust and pie can be prepared and baked in advanced - say if your oven might be occupied by a giant Thanksgiving turkey. Whip up the meringue before serving. Save the torching for in front of your guests to make it dinner with a show!
Smores Black Bottom Pie
adapted from Midwest Made
1 pie crust, blind baked (recipe to follow)
4 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 cup heavy cream, divided
15 ounces pure pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
chocolate chips for decorating
Pre-heat oven to 325F.
Place the dark chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. Heat 1/4 cup of the heavy cream over medium heat until is just begins to simmer. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for 30 to 60 seconds. Whisk the chocolate until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate ganache into the blind baked pie crust and spread smooth with an offset spatula. Set aside to cool while you prepare the pumpkin pie filling.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, and remaining 1 cup of cream until well combined. In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar, spices and salt. Whisk the sugar/spice mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Pour the filling on top of the chocolate layer. Bake the pie until the edge of the filling is slightly puffed and set, but the center still wobbles when you shimmy the pan, 55 to 70 minutes. Turn off the oven, prop the door open with a wooden spoon, and allow the pie to cool in the warm oven for 30 minutes (to help prevent cracks). Completely cool the pie at room temperature. Loosely cover the cooled pie with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator up to 2 days before serving.
To make the meringue, place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 238F on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium-high until soft peaks. Stop the mixer.
When the sugar syrup reaches 238F, promptly remove it from the heat. Turn the mixer back on high speed. Carefully and slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixer bowl and into the whipping whites. Continue to whisk on high speed for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until thick, glossy, stiff peaks form. Mix in the vanilla and use immediately.
If the pie had been refrigerated, pat the top with a paper towel to remove any condensation (dont skip this or the meringue may weep and slide around when sliced). Swirl on the meringue and toast with a kitchen torch. Decorate with chocolate chips by pressing the tops into the toasted meringue. Gently go back over the chocolate with the torch to slightly melt (if desired).
All-Butter Pie Crust
How to Make Pie Dough By Hand
1/3 cup ice cold water*
1 cup + 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup very cold butter, diced
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar.
Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or by hand, rubbing the pieces of butter between your thumb, index, and middle fingers. Once the pieces are no longer lager than about a peanut, begin to flatten the pieces of butter in sheets between your palms. Be careful not to over-work the butter or let it get too warm.
Working with only a couple tablespoons at a time, add in about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the water. Stir together using a wooden spoon or even just a clean hand in the bowl. The dough should appear fairly shaggy and not sticky. Once you can squeeze a few pieces together and they hold, the dough is done being mixed and hydrated. Do not over-mix or add too much water*.
Shape the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, or overnight (preferably).
Bring the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Lightly flour the work surface and begin to roll out the dough, working from the center out rotating the dough after each roll. Roll the dough until about inch thick and about 12 to 13 inches in diameter.
Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to a 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Fit the dough into the bottom of the tin and up the sides, allowing for about an inch of overhang. Tuck the edges of the dough under itself and press onto the rim of the pie pan.
Crimp the edges of the pie dough to further secure the dough to the pan (see image above). Chill the pie dough for 30 minutes while the oven pre-heats.
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Once ready, line the pie dough with a piece of parchment paper. Fill with pie weighs, uncooked rice, or dry beans.
Bake the pie for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn brown. Carefully take the pie out of the oven and remove the pie weights and parchment paper. Return the crust to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 5 to 15 minutes, until it is golden brown and flakey and the bottom feels dry to the touch. Completely cool the crust before filling.