The holidays for me are all about slowing down and catching up. Life here in Hell in the autumn can be a bit of a whirlwind, what with Halloween and the lead up to Fangsgiving. Luckily, after that rush is over, things tend to get a bit more mellow, allowing me to reconnect with old friends. This week I finally got a chance to sit down with my good buddy, Anubis. He’s a hard guy to get a hold of, constantly away in far-off exotic lands wrapping up this or that.
Luckily, he got a break and during his brief holiday to my neck of the woods in the underworld, we got an opportunity to visit over dinner.
Anubis is one of my favorite deities, not only because we share a common obsession with the morbid, but because that guy can seriously bake…and I love it when he brings something new and tasty along for me to try out.
Case in point, his Black Sand and Scorpion baked pudding. Made from only the finest ingredients it’s truly an experience in texture as well as taste. Crowned with six massive, jet black scorpions, it’s a combination of silky thick custard, chocolatey crunch and a hint of fall spice that is literally…to die for.
Unfortunately for you all, the particular scorpions he uses are few and far between in the mortal world, so I’ve managed to scare up an alternative for you.
(This pie is not to be confused with the Sanderson Sisters and their Mummy’s Scorpion Pie. I do have a recipe for that as well, but you’re gonna have to wait a bit on that. I’m missing a few key ingredients and the girls have been a bit hard to get a hold of ever since some dumb virgin lit that black candle of theirs. But trust me…it’s coming!)
Now, before we dive into this amazing dish, let me start by saying, this is NOT a traditional serve-by-the-slice pie. I’d even go so far as to say this is a baked pudding, which means it’s best served with a spoon in a bowl. It’s also deceptive in taste. While it’s made with pumpkin and has pumpkin spice in it, this is not a traditional pumpkin pie…
Regardless, it’s incredibly rich and dense.
The first thing you need to do is get a good scorpion to make a mold of. I found some suitable ones here.
You’re also going to need a way to mold your scorpions. I used Amazing Mold Putty which is a two-part compound. Not only is it easy to find and easy to use, it’s also food safe.
Mix together the two parts of your mold putty, making sure to knead it together completely. Then, working quickly, press it down over your scorpion. You want to make sure you have a slight edge around your entire scorpion. Let it set for around 15 minutes or until completely firm.
While that’s firming up, let’s move onto making the sand pie shell.
For this you will need:
- 9oz box of chocolate wafer cookies* (about 2 cups crushed)
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup melted butter
- Pinch of salt
*If you are unable to find chocolate wafer cookies, feel free to substitute chocolate sandwich cookies (minus the cream filling) or chocolate graham crackers.
In a food processor, pulse together your wafer cookies, sugar and salt until you’re left with a fine grit. Drizzle in your melted butter and continue to pulse until the mixture comes together into a thick dough. Heads up, this dough will be incredibly grainy, and although it will hold together when pressed, it will crumble easily as well.
Press this mixture into a 9” pie shell and use the flat bottom of a glass to push flat.
You will have more crumb than you need for the shell. Save the rest for later in the recipe.
Set aside your pie shell while we make our scorpions.
For this you will need:
- 1 premade pie crust
- Black food coloring
Preheat your oven to 350F/176C.
Knead enough black food coloring into your pie crust to achieve a dark black color. You could also use activated charcoal, but I’ve found that the liquid or gel food coloring kneads in much faster and doesn’t change the texture of the final product.
By now your mold should be ready.
Remove your plastic scorpion from your mold and wash your mold thoroughly in soapy water. Dry your mold.
Wad up some black pie crust dough into a ball about the size of a golf ball and press it into your scorpion mold. Because the crust has so much butter in it, it shouldn’t stick and should peel right back out, leaving you an impression of your scorpion.
Using your paring knife, carefully cut away the excess dough, leaving behind your pie crust scorpion. Transfer to a baking sheet and carefully brush with a little melted butter. To make them look as though they’re ready to strike, gently twist their tails and stingers upwards. Use small pieces of tin foil to ensure that they stay in place while they bake.
Continue making scorpions until you have six. Because I’m prone to breaking their stingers off, I made 10 just in case (plus they’re delicious).
Pop them into your pre-heated oven and allow to cook for 12 minutes. When they’re done baking, pull them out and let them cool.
Now let’s make our pudding pie.
You will need:
- 1 15oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon activated black charcoal
- Red food coloring
Combine your puree, sugar, pumpkin spice, salt, eggs, and cream together.
Reserve 1 cup of this mixture.
To the bulk of the mixture, add your cocoa powder and your charcoal powder. Mix together until you’re left with a thick, black morass.
Transfer your reserved pumpkin mixture to a small squeeze bottle and add a few drops of red food coloring. Shake to mix.
Gently fill your sand pie shell with your black pumpkin mixture and use a spatula to smooth the top.
Drizzle the top of the black mixture with your red mixture in swirls and loops and squiggles. Go wild. This is art. It’s subjective. Do what you want.
Using a baking tray for stability, slide the whole thing into your oven and allow to bake for 70 minutes. No, really. 70 minutes.
When you remove the sand pie, it will still jiggle as though liquid, but don’t worry…as it cools it will solidify up a bit. It will never completely solidify, but will eventually achieve a thick dense pudding-like texture.
Set aside and allow to cool as well.
Once cool, gently decorate the top with your scorpions.
To serve, scoop with a large spoon and top with a generous dollop of whipped cream. For added sandiness and chocolatey crunch, sprinkle with more of the crushed up black sand we had left over from earlier.