Here's a pumpkin pie that will get rave reviews for both taste and appearance. With layers of plain and chocolate-flavored pumpkin filling plus a sweet sour-cream topping, it takes a bit longer to make--but it's well worth it.
Prepare, chill, and prebake a Foolproof Pie Shell. Reduce the oven temperature to 350º.
Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler set over, not in, barely simmering water. Add the chocolate and leave it over the heat until melted (5 to 7 minutes), and then whisk it until smooth. Set aside the top of the double boiler to partially cool the chocolate.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl, gradually adding 1 1/4 cups of the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Next, blend in the pumpkin, vanilla extract, spices, and salt until the filling is evenly combined. Pour slightly less than half of the filling into a separate bowl and stir in the melted chocolate until evenly blended. Pour the chocolate filling into the pie shell and gently shake the pan to settle the filling. Bake the pie on the center oven rack for 20 minutes. Then let it cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Carefully ladle the remaining plain pumpkin filling over the chocolate layer and shake the pan to settle the filling. Return the pie to the oven and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes. When done, the filling around the perimeter will have puffed somewhat, but not so much that it develops large cracks. Place the pie on the cooling rack until the filling levels, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Combine the sour cream and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. Stir the mixture over very low heat for about 2 minutes, until it is fairly thin and slightly warm. Carefully pour it over the last layer and tilt the pan to evenly distribute the topping. Cool the pie thoroughly, then cover it with loosely tented tinfoil and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.