Here’s a terrific recipe for a pie to use at Thanksgiving or during the December holiday season. It’s a “triple layer” pie featuring a layer of cheesecake, chocolate and pumpkin! I flavor the cheesecake with a good quality vanilla made by Nielsen Massey. I use a vanilla paste which is a thick liquid made with pure vanilla bean. It’s a great alternative to using vanilla beans which can get dry if not used or stored properly. For more information on various types of vanilla, visit the Nielsen Massey Vanilla site.
For the pie shell
- your favorite recipe for pie dough placed in a deep dish pie pan if possible (you may have extra filling if you don’t use a deeper dish pan)
For the filling
- 12 ounces of softened cream cheese
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 3/4 cup finely chopped good quality chocolate (I use Callebaut chocolate)
- one 15 ounce can of pumpkin
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup cream or half and half
Your pie shell will need to be “blind” baked, which means prebaking the shell without a filling in it. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I like to have the pie shell frozen (simply prepare your pie shell and place the pan in the freezer for one hour. This helps prevent shrinking). Place foil in the frozen shll and fill with pie weights or dry beans (that is what I am using).
Bake for 9 to 10 minutes.
Remove the shell from oven and take out the foil and pie weights. Now place the shell back in the oven and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes. If you see any “cracks” in the shell when you remove it, use a little extra raw pie dough to mend them. It is fine that the ‘”mended” area is not pre-baked. It will help prevent the filling from coming out during baking.
I am using vanilla bean paste from Nielsen Massey vanilla company. Although I purchase it in a larger quantity through a restaurant food supplier, I have found it on Amazon for purchase.
To make the fillings
Place the room temperature cream cheese in the bowl of your mixer fitter with the flat paddle (if using a Kitchenaid).Beat until soft, then add the sugar, egg and vanilla. Beat for a few minutes to combine.
Roughly chop the chocolate. I use a bittersweet chocolate from Callebaut. I like to use a fine quality chocolate for this dessert rather than chocolate chips which usually have some additives like vegetable oil.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cheese mixture in the bottom of the prebaked pie shell. Smooth out with an off set spatula.
Carefully pour the pumpkin mixture on top of the chocolate. Smooth out with an offset spatula.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes and check the pie. It should be slightly puffed and firm in the middle. If the pie is not done, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully remove the foil.
The pie will look “puffed’ when it comes out but will flatten as it cools. Let pie cool for 2 to 3 hours or refrigerate before serving.