It’s almost Halloween! That means three things: costumes, pumpkins, and chocolate, and this chocolate crusted pumpkin pie tart hits two of those three marks. Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of dressing up for Halloween. I’m not against the idea of dressing up. My favorite costume growing up was the phantom from the Phantom of the Opera, hand sewn by my mom and everything. It was kind of amazing. As I’ve gotten older, I find dressing up in costumes uncomfortable. It’s hard to explain why I feel this way. Many of my friends still dress up for Halloween house parties and such. Perhaps I’m just an old soul and rather watch as others parade around in vampire, werewolf, and sexy nurse’s outfits. Perhaps as I grow older I’ll grow more comfortable with the idea. But what’s more important around this time of year is pumpkins and chocolate!
I’m a huge supporter of the tart. There is something so quaint and simple about a tart. It’s neither too fussy nor complicated. 2016 has the year of pie crusts for me. I’ve been working with a bunch of different crust recipes, actively searching for the ideal one (“The one recipe to rule them all.” Any Lord of the Rings fans here?) For this recipe, I knew I wanted to test a chocolate crust. I think the combination of rich, buttery chocolate crust with the dense, custardy pumpkin filling was going to be scary good, and I was right! The contrast of flavors and textures was superb, then with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream just make this dish sing (or scream, if we’re keeping in theme). This tart reminded me of my Grandma Cooley’s pie, which gave me sense of home and comfort. Makes me even more excited for Thanksgiving!
For the crust
2 cups of all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
½ cup brewed coffee, cold (I used cold brew coffee)
For the pumpkin filling
¾ cup white sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
15oz pumpkin puree
1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Whipped cream, as topping
For the crust. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar until incorporated. Add the butter and cut into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal. Slowly add the cold coffee in thirds, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition. Continue stirring until a soft dough has formed. Knead slightly, then mold into a circular disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a least 45 minutes (or up to 2 days).
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface (I used a mixture of flour and cocoa powder). Roll it out an inch larger than the tart pan you’re using. Transfer dough to the tart pan and trim off the excess the dough with a sharp knife. Return to refrigerator for 20 minutes before filling/baking.
For the filling. Preheat the oven to 350° F / 175° C. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, and eggs. Mix in the pumpkin evaporated milk, and vanilla. Add the sifted ingredients and beat until smooth. This mixture is going to be a tad soupy, but don’t worry! It will thicken up as it bakes. Pour the mixture into the prepared 10-inch tart pan.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow cool completely before covering and allowing to chill completely before serving. Serve with whipped cream.