I first celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving at a Bouchercon (the World Mystery Convention) that was held several years ago in Toronto. I'll be there this Thanksgiving, too, so it's a win-win celebration! I confess, I didn't realize the first time I was there that there was 'another' Thanksgiving. For me, Thanksgiving was about the Pilgrims, the Rock, the Turkeys. Same foods in Canada, but different date and reasons. So in case you're new to this holiday, here's some information on the origins of Canadian Thanksgiving which is more closely aligned to the traditions of Europe than those of the United States.
The very first Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in Canada when Martin Frobisher, an explorer from England, arrived in Newfoundland in 1578. He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival to the New World. That means the first Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated 43 years before the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts! For a few hundred years, Thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November, before it was declared a Canadian National Holiday in 1879. It was then, that November 6th was set aside as the official Thanksgiving holiday. On January 31, 1957, Canadian Parliament announced that the second Monday in October would be Thanksgiving -- "a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed."
Another reason for Canadian Thanksgiving taking place earlier than its U.S. counterpart is that Canada is geographically further north than the United States, causing the Canadian harvest season to arrive earlier than the American harvest season. But what are the differences between Canadian and American Thanksgiving, other than the date? Not much! Both Canadians and Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with parades, family gatherings, pumpkin pie and a whole lot of turkey! (Info from Kidzworld.com)
So here's a fabulous Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Pie for the Thanksgiving table.
Double Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie
1-1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (chocolate wafers that have been crushed)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate Ganache Layer:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp sweet butter, softened
1 cup whipping cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup thick whipping cream
Whipped cream, to garnish
Freshly grated nutmeg
In bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter until moistened and pat evenly into bottom and up side of 10-inch deep pie plate. Bake in preheated 350 °F oven for about 10 minutes or until firm. Let cool.
Chocolate Ganache Layer:
Place chocolate and butter in bowl. In small saucepan bring cream to boil. Pour over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Slowly whisk chocolate until melted and smooth. Gently pour into cooled crust. Place in refrigerator for about 1 hour or until set.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat Cream Cheese and Sugar until fluffy. Beat in pumpkin, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger and cloves until smooth.
Whip cream. Fold half of cream into pumpkin mixture until light. Fold in remaining whipped cream until well combined. Spread over top of chocolate layer and smooth top. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until set and firm. (If you make ahead: you can cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.)
Garnish with whipped cream and nutmeg before serving.
Photo: Dairy Farmers of Canada