November 26, 2011

A Thanksgiving Party & Chocolate Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Butter Crust

This Thanksgiving Bo and I decided to stay in Corpus Christi.  With him not getting more than a couple of days off of work, and me teaching as much as I can before Christmas, it made the most sense to stay here for the holiday.  The problem was, we weren't sure exactly what we were going to do for the holiday...

Thankfully, we were invited to a Thanksgiving party!  Twice a week I teach private yoga lessons to Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence, a couple roughly my parents age.  They are a hoot to teach for, and I always look forward to my lessons with them each Wednesday and Sunday!  They have a beautiful home on Ocean Drive, and when I mentioned that Bo and I were staying in down for the holiday they immediately extended a warm invitation for us to come over.   Little did I know that their house is the. place. to. be. on Thanksgiving!

When we arrived at the Lawrence's around 3:30 pm, everyone was hanging out, watching football, finishing up the food, and having a few cocktails.

Bo and I in our Thanksgiving best!

Shortly thereafter, we were asked to take our seats for dinner in the dining area.

Wasn't it just lovely?!  Every place-setting was filled!

Every plate was also filled...YUMM-O!

My plate :)

Bo's plate!

After we ate, and after the Cowboys won (YIPPEE!), Bo and I figured the bulk of the festivities had come and gone.  Little did we know that the fun was just beginning...

Every year the Lawrence's four children organize a pie contest.  But this isn't just any ol' amateur pie contest.  No, the Lawrence children take this contest seriously!  There are rules.  For instance:

  • You can't judge your own pie(s).
  • No cook can enter more than three pies into the contest.
  • If a pie recipe has won the contest for two years, it can no longer be entered into the contest.
  • and many more...
This year, 19 pies were entered into the annual Lawrence pie contest!

Here is a shot of the majority of the pies, pre-eating:

And here are a few close-up shots of the pies, pre-eating:

Mr. Lawrence was trying to be funny, so he entered two different kinds of "Frito Pie" into the contest - hahaha!

After all the pies were set up, and the ballots were made, the eating commenced!  Bo really took his judging job seriously!  He ate at least a couple of bites of every. single. pie...and then really took his time giving each one a score between 1-10. 

Here is a look at the pies BEFORE eating:

And here are a look at the pies AFTER eating:

Most of the pies weren't fully eaten, but instead were partially demolished.  Even with over 25 people at the Lawrence's for Thanksgiving, if we would have eaten all of the pies it would have equalled over 1 1/2 pies per person!  Can you say tummy-ache and sugar-coma?!

Here's a closer look at a couple of the partially demolished pies:

So, you might be wondering, what kind of pie did I bring to the party?! 

Well, I brought a traditional pie with a twist, and I must say, considering I made the recipe up myself, I think it turned out pretty well.  I knew that I wanted to bring a pumpkin pie...of sorts...but I wanted it to be a little more special than just plain ol' pumpkin pie.  So, per my usual process, I did a little research, took inspiration from a few other recipes (here and here), and then created something unique and delicious!

 Chocolate Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Butter Crust
Serves 8

For the Crust:

1 C oats (I used gluten free because it is what I had on hand.  You could also use steel-cut oats.)
2 C pecans
2 T succanat (or brown sugar)
3 T ground flax
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C maple syrup (or honey)
1 T Smart Balance (or butter)


  1. Grind oats in a blender until very fine.
  2. Process pecans in a food processor for 35 seconds.
    1. Note: The pecans should be finely processed and be able to clump together.  They should NOT be nut butter.
  3. Melt the maple syrup and Smart Balance together in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. Add all of the ingredients to the pecan mixture in the food processor.
  5. Process until smooth.
  6. Press the mixture into a pie pan.
    1. Note: I prefer to press the crust mixture all the way up the sides of the pan as well.
  7. Prick the crust 14-15 times.
  8. Bake at 425 degrees for 14-15 minutes.
  9. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
For the Filling:

1 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
2 T succanat (or brown sugar)
1 C chocolate chips
Note: I used carob chips because they are what I had on hand.  However, I would strongly suggest using dark chocolate chips, as carob is an acquired taste that some people may not like.


  1. Place the pumpkin, vanilla, cocoa, salt, and succanat into the food processor.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, until completely smooth. 
  4. Add the melted chocolate to the pumpkin mixture in the food processor.
  5. Process until smooth.
  6. Add the filling to the crust.
  7. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
This crust was really amazing!  Thanks go out to Angela for the inspiration.  Her recipe was pretty amazing, so I only tweaked the flavors a bit to make it work for my recipe.  I will definitely be using this crust again for future pie recipes.  Store bought pie crust - never again!

With a wonderful Thanksgiving having come and gone, I am already gearing up for Christmas!

Question of the Day:

Does your family have any unique Thanksgiving traditions?  If so, I would love to hear about them!

Ally and Bo


  1. Hey Ally! This is Jennifer, I met you at the Thanksgiving party. I am now following your page through my own media blog.
    I loved your pie, is the recepie on here?

  2. Hi Jennifer! So happy you stopped by ABC! Thanksgiving was so much fun this year. It was probably one of the best Thanksgivings Bo and I have ever had. In fact, I did a whole post about it this past weekend :)

    The recipe for the Chocolate Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Butter Crust is listed on this post (just scroll up). I post approximately four times a week, so keep checking back for more yummy recipes :)

  3. Gotta KNow. Which pie won?

  4. Although we don't have a tradition per say,the Auburn/ALabama game is always the weekend after so everyone looks forward to it and of course the usual jabs and prophets!. We all decided here at work that a pie contest would be a Great tradition!!I'm with Bo...I'll be the judge!

  5. The Banana Cream Pie won (it was one of Bo's top three)! I totally agree...I think a pie contest would be an awesome tradition to start in our family. Oh, and you will make a great judge (although, make sure you wear expandable pants that day!) :)

  6. YAY! I'm so happy you saw my response and found the recipe. Enjoy!

    P.S. Thanks, as always, for stopping in to the blog :)