Thanksgiving in Italy

22 Nov

Awwww, look how idyllic.

A funny thing happened on the way to living in Rome permanently…

I realized that all the pre-packaged things I used to use to prepare foods in the US aren’t really necessary!


I know, it boggles the mind.

Seriously though. My experience with pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving consisted of my intimate relationship with a woman known simply as “Mrs. Smith.”

Have you ever heard of her? She is really cold in the beginning, but once you get to know her, and once you let her warm up in your oven for an hour or so, that’s when she gets really sweet.

Oh my God…what in the world is “pre-baked”? You mean we’re too lazy to even BAKE our own pies anymore? Oh dear.

So here’s the thing. You’re never going to believe this. Or, maybe you will. Point being, I hadn’t ever made a real pumpkin pie before.

And if your experience of making a “real” pumpkin pie involves a woman named Libby, then, I’m not talking about that, either.

I really like how the main selling point here is “100% PURE” — frankly, any alternative to 100% PURE is just a *wee* bit disturbing…

No. What I mean by making a pumpkin pie is hard core, straight up, real-deal PUMPKIN. As in, the round gourd which emerges from the ground and is often used in a pagan festival commonly known as “All Hallows Eve.”

And yet, as fate would have it, on a box of Ferrero Cacao Amaro (that’s baking cocoa to you), on the back of the box, there it was: TORTA CACAO E ZUCCA.

What’s this? Pumpkin Pie with Cocoa Powder? Why, that sounds quite intriguing if I do say so myself.

Just for you, as a special gift on Thanksgiving–the holiday that rips my heart apart every year because it’s the only holiday I truly miss while living here in Italy–I give you:


I’m telling you. Chocolate Pumpkin Pie? Sheer genius. The Italians do know what they’re doing in the kitchen, after all. I bought pre-made pie crust for this recipe but if you’re feeling very Mrs. Smith-ish, you could even make your own pie crust!

This is exactly how it was written on the box:

Clean and cut a 1 kg (2.2 lb) pumpkin and boil it for 20 minutes. Drain and put it in the oven at 100 degrees C (212 degrees F) for 20 minutes. Mash the pumpkin pulp and mix it with 2 eggs, 90 g (about 1/3 cup) whipping cream, 75 g (2/3 cup) sugar, 40 g (1/3 cup) flour, 20 g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder, a pinch of salt and the grated peel of half a lemon. Put the pie crust in a greased pie dish. Pour the mix in the pie dish and top with criss-crossed strips of pie crust dough. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Ok folks, the recipe is good, I think. But I added a few modifications. For one thing, why not sprinkle some cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar on the pumpkin before you put it in the oven?

Well, that’s about it. I couldn’t write a Thanksgiving post, however, without sending a special shout-out and tribute to my family’s tradition of watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles on Thanksgiving every year for as long as I can remember. So much fun with the whole extended clan gathered in the living room, saying the lines before they even get spoken and hooting and howling with laughter every time, as if it’s the first time we’ve ever seen the movie. God bless. The hardest part is going to be choosing which clip to share.

Another side commment on life in Italy: why must they always change movie titles to something so ridiculous or so far from the original title that you have no idea what the original title in English was? Perfect example. Planes, Trains and Automobiles was renamed “Un Biglietto in Due” in italian, which is like saying “A Ticket for Two” or something like that. Why? Would it have been so hard to simply translate these three common modes of transport? Would the Italian public have been perplexed? I don’t know. In any case…



16 Responses to “Thanksgiving in Italy”

  1. Mondomulia November 22, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    Wishing you a wonderful and sweet Thanksgiving! 🙂

  2. finny November 22, 2012 at 2:10 am #

    Well, I do like chocolate chips in my pumpkin bread, so…I guess chocolate in the pie wouldn’t be so bad. And you KNOW I make mine from scratch. Like – I grow the damn pumpkin *scratch*.

    Lowest calorie Thanksgiving dessert, too!

  3. Filottete Manfredi November 22, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    I just discovered that my wife put a can of corn syrup in the pecan pie. I was just divorcing! 😉 Il ripieno lo sto facendo io con la salsiccia, porri, mele e castagne. Anche la salsa di Cranberry e Ginger.

  4. Judith A. Greenwood November 22, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    Not convinced! Pumpkin pie is to me so perfect it shouldn’t prostitute itself with cocoa. Besides, it is ridiculously easy to make.

  5. Un'americana a Roma November 22, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    Thank you honey!!!

  6. Un'americana a Roma November 22, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Of course you grow it. And you know that I thought of you with my word choice of “gourd” because that’s very horticultural terminology-ish. MISS YOU WHY CAN’T I SPENT TGIVING AT THE VAUGHAN RESIDENCE ARGGGGGGHHHH

  7. Un'americana a Roma November 22, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    O GESU SANTO con questa storia della corn syrup mi hai davvero spaventato. Filottete?? Mah. Comunque your stuffing sounds AMAZING … going to read your post now…. (Why are we writing our comments in due lingue??)

  8. Un'americana a Roma November 22, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Not trying to convert any non-believers, my dear! It is simply delicious.

  9. Un'americana a Roma November 22, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    PS Be careful with your “ridiculously easy” comments… not all of us come from the land of homemade goodness.

  10. Un'americana a Roma November 22, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    PPS However I totally agree with you! It is very easy! I think it’s all the marketing in the States that made us think we for some reason needed to buy cans or boxes instead of making it from scratch. Granted, if you make the crust from scratch it would take a bit more time and talent.

  11. nicki November 22, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    I’ve never even tasted a pumpkin pie! If I come across a pumpkin I’ll give your recipe a go.

  12. Nerys November 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    My relationship with pumpkin only goes as far as soup, but that pie looks delicious! Happy thanksgiving!

  13. Rosana November 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    The pumpkin pie was delicious! I loved!!!

  14. Michconnors November 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Funny I was going to comment here and lo and behold my other half Filottete has already mucked up your wall with his corn syrup rant. You can’t make pecan pie without corn syrup – had he never seen me making it he never would have stopped eating it. And even knowing there was corn syrup in it he still had some thing time.

    Anyway, I digress. I was going to comment to say the same thing happened to me living in Italy. I found a brownie recipe that is much better than boxed and frankly almost as easy, no melted chocolate required. I did bring vanilla and baking powder from the States, though:

    1/2 cup butter
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
    In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
    Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

  15. Janet Thomas November 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    I miss pumpkin pie so much. But this one with the chocolate does sound scrumptious. Maybe I will give it a try for Natale. I have never baked any kind of pie before, that I can remember.

  16. Marcella Rousseau December 6, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    I bet the Italians love this movie! That pie sounds really good.

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