Sublime Tweak on Traditional Sweet

Pumpkin Hazelnut Pie with Hazelnut Cookie Crust and Chocolate Drizzle, from California Cooking and Southern Style, a most excellent cookbook ;)
Pumpkin Hazelnut Pie with Hazelnut Cookie Crust and Chocolate Drizzle, from California Cooking and Southern Style, a most excellent cookbook ;)

Nothing radical mind you. Not trying to incite a riot here. You got riots enough already with all those relatives and who-all. This is just a subtle but truly sublime twist on a favorite traditional pie, and you’ve probably already got almost all the ingredients already, so give it a whirl if you’re feeling creative. And bask in the glory of the compliments… Our Thanksgiving gift to you, from California Cooking and Southern Style.

Happy Thanksgiving, and keep the feast,

Love, Frances and Chef Stephanie

Pumpkin Hazelnut Pie with Hazelnut Cookie Crust and Chocolate Drizzle
Not your granny’s punkin’ pie, though nothing wrong with that. This is simply THE best pumpkin pie EVER. Takes some doing but worth every minute, pinky swear. Best to make a day ahead to allow time to chill. We generally make this with hazelnuts, but pecans or almonds will do as well. You may omit the ladyfingers but they do add a little tiramisu-ish layer of interest. Recipe for Chocolate Sauce follows.
  1. For the crust
  2. 8 tablespoons butter, divided into 2 tablespoons for greasing the pie pan, and 6 tablespoons melted for the crust
  3. ½ cup hazelnuts, pecans or almonds, toasted
  4. ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  5. 6 tablespoons sugar
  6. ½ teaspoon salt
  7. For the filling
  8. 6 egg yolks
  9. 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  10. 2 8-ounce containers of mascarpone, at room temperature
  11. 1 cup pumpkin puree
  12. 12 ladyfingers
  13. ¼ cup Grand Marnier
  14. 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  15. 1/3 cup chocolate sauce, recipe follows
To make the crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Use 2 tablespoons of butter to generously grease a 10-inch pie plate.
  3. Process the toasted nuts in a food processor until fine, but not a paste, about 1 minute. Add the flour, sugar and salt and whir until blended. Add the melted butter to the bowl and pulse until just combined and the consistency of wet sand. Press all but ¼ cup of the crust firmly and evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pie dish. Press the reserved ¼ cup of crust mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. (This will be crumbled later for the topping.) Bake the crusts 12 to 15 minutes, until just browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Crumble and set aside the ¼ cup batch.
To make the filling
  1. Beat the yolks with 3 tablespoons of the sugar until thick and pale in color, about 5 minutes. Blend in the mascarpone and pumpkin puree. In a shallow bowl stir together the Grand Marnier and 1 tablespoon of sugar, and soak the ladyfingers in the liqueur. Into the baked and cooled pie crust, spread half of the pumpkin mixture, and layer over with the ladyfingers (if using). Spread on the remaining pumpkin mixture and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Whip the heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form, and spread over the pie. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and sprinkle with the reserved crumbled crust. Serve with more chocolate sauce on the side if you like.
Frances Schultz

Chocolate Sauce
Yields 1
We prefer the alkalized dutch process cocoa powder for this silky rich Chocolate Sauce because it is less acidic than natural cocoa powder and has an earthier flavor, but the natural cocoa powder will work as well.
  1. ½ cup sugar
  2. ½ cup cocoa powder
  3. ½ cup honey, agave or corn syrup
  4. ½ cup cream
  5. 2 tablespoons butter
  6. ½ cup semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate chips
  1. In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, mix the sugar, cocoa, honey or syrup, and cream with ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the butter and chocolate chips until melted. Store in a heatproof glass container for easy reheating in a microwave or makeshift double boiler. Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator and may be thinned with a bit of water.
Frances Schultz


    I’m gluten and diary and yeast free for the moment but this will not STOP me from making it!I MUST GET SOME JOY and I will do that by creating for others……….and a lick of the beaters!XX

    1. THANK YOU Contessa! We have good results with almond flour in place of wheat flour, if that helps, and there are substitutes for whipped cream, and maybe use almond or oat milk for the chocolate sauce… Happy TG!

    2. Do go for it Dear Contessa! Most of our recipes are easily converted to suit your diet, but by all means let us know if you have a particular question! Others may have the same question as you. x Frances

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.