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Mayan Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Pie

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Thanksgiving Day! What better way to celebrate than to serve pie imbued with New World botanicals: chili peppers, chocolate, pumpkin seeds? Regardless of this day's historical accuracy, it has become a day to stop, relax, gather with family and friends, and give thanks. We give thanks, in part, for what we have. But a much bigger part is to give thanks for those we know and love. On this day, hold them close with hugs and conversation. Remember those who have gone on. Celebrate new ones just arrived or on their way. Life is what you make it. One day, one moment at a time. Today's moment is now. And food is the binder that converts a, sometimes, random group of people into a tight knit social gathering. Do it!

We offer here a recipe that will tickle your taste buds, and, depending on the chili pepper blend, set them on fire. You can dial the heat and flavor up or down as you like. Choose hotter peppers and use less or milder peppers and use more. Whatever you choose, remember, with chili peppers, a little goes a long way.

Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Serves: 8, Yield: 1 pie


1/2 cup toasted pumpkin (pepita) seeds (toasted at 350° for 10 min)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie pastry
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon coffee liqueur
1 teaspoon ground ancho chili pepper (adjust to your wants and needs)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds


Preheat oven to 350°F
Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips over bottom of pastry shell
Whisk together eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter, coffee liqueur, pepper, and vanilla
Pour over pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips in shell
Gently pour 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds over top of pie
Bake at 350° F for 55-60 minutes or until set
Cool on a wire rack

We make our pie with gluten free crust. The best recipe we have found is in The How Can it be Gluten Free Cookbook from American Test Kitchen.  We also have nut allergies in our house so we use toasted pumpkin seeds. Another version of the pie is to use pecans. Use 1/2 cup chopped pecans on the bottom of the pie and 1 cup of pecan halves on the top. Gluten-free, nut-free or gluten-full, nut-full your choice. Either way, the pie has all the right ingredients to bring smiles around the table. Enjoy!

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