Here's Giada De Laurentiis' Chocolate Caramel Crunch Pie Because We Know You're Already Planning Thanksgiving Dinner

We know you’re thinking it. Thanksgiving may be several weeks away but with many choosing last year to forego a traditional holiday get-together due to the pandemic, 2021 is the year to see loved ones — and plan a special dinner — at last. If you’re starting to work on your menu, Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis has a doozy of a pie recipe to add to your dessert roster.

The De Laurentiis Thanksgiving celebration always features an Italian touch

On her lifestyle and food blog Giadzy, the De Laurentiis family tradition at Thanksgiving was revealed. “In Giada’s family, they connect the culture of Italy to California for a unique spread that’s both classic and contemporary all at once. Look no further for inspiration behind a truly delicious Italian Thanksgiving spread that beautifully weaves together those nostalgic Thanksgiving dishes with the flavors of Italy!”

In 2020, due to the pandemic, De Laurentiis told Today that although the entire clan would not be uniting for the holiday, she was still making a feast for her loved ones, especially their favorite dishes.

“I’m going to drop off some treats to the family I won’t be seeing in person for Thanksgiving,” De Laurentiis explained. “I think it’s a nice way to still share joy and feel more connected to my family in lieu of a big Thanksgiving. I make a ciabatta stuffing with chestnuts and pancetta and my mom is vegetarian so I’m planning to make a butternut squash lasagna, too.”

What you’ll need for her Chocolate Caramel Crunch Pie

If you like your desserts sweet, De Laurentiis’ silky pie delivers with rich and creamy dulce de leche as the star. To make it, you’ll need graham crackers, butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, store-bought dulce de leche, toasted walnuts, bittersweet chocolate chunks, grated orange zest, flake salt, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and grated dark chocolate for garnish.

De Laurentiis says in the Food Network video for this recipe, “When I think of Thanksgiving, it’s one of those holiday meals where I feel like sweet and savory gets combined into one. Sweet potato pie with marshmallows and brown sugar. And everybody serves it together. So I thought, I’m going to take my version of a pecan pie, and I’m going to serve it alongside everything else at the table at Thanksgiving. So I did a chocolate graham cracker crust. And I did walnuts instead of pecans. And I did a dulce de leche filling. So it’s still got that gooiness that a pecan pie has. But it’s almost more caramelly.”

Making this flavorful, gooey dessert for your Thanksgiving menu

This pie (ingredient quantities and video can be found here) is pretty easy to make and features “chocolate in every layer.” To start, the graham crackers, cocoa powder, salt, and butter are mixed in a food processor. “The butter is what keeps the crust together and gives it sort of that decadence,” De Laurentiis says. Mix it “until you get a nice clump.” Once done, the crumbs are pressed into a 9-inch pie plate and placed in a 350-degree oven for almost 10 minutes.

The store-bought dulce de leche (“It’s Thanksgiving and I don’t want to make everything from scratch”) is combined with toasted walnuts and chopped dark chocolate, then topped off with the orange zest. De Laurentiis says to “make sure the crust is cooled before you add the filling.” Spread the filling out so it’s smooth, then “pop it in the fridge and get it nice and chilled.”

The best part about this recipe is it can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Top with whipped cream, that grated chocolate, and enjoy!

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