Chocolate Cream Pie

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chocolate cream pie
Nom nom nom.

more chocolate cream pie

Oh, I’m sorry! Didn’t see you there! How embarrassing. I seem to be covered in pie.

Seriously, though: Be still my heart. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but this has got to be one of the best desserts I’ve made in a long time.

a bite of chocolate cream pie

Cookie crust, chocolate filling, whipped cream on top

Yep, even better than that Chocolate Caramel Tart. (And yes, this is another recipe from Saveur magazine. There’s something about their food photography that compels me to make a big, chocolate-y mess of my kitchen at least once a month.)

my messy kitchen

I should admit: I have a special spot in my heart for old-fashioned desserts—especially if it’s the kind of thing that you’re likely to find in the spinning dessert case at a 1950s-style diner.

This pie totally fits the bill.

pie garnished with chocolate shavings

The crust is made from chocolate cookie crumbs held together with brown sugar and butter which makes it crisp and caramel-y.

The chocolate filling is smooth and velvety, with intense chocolate flavor. (Think chocolate pudding on steroids.)

inside the chocolate cream pie

It’s insanely rich, and thickened with a combination of egg yolks and a little bit of cornstarch.

egg yolks and egg shells


The whipped cream topping is light, airy, and slightly sweet.

Honestly? The whole thing is ridiculously delicious and it took all my will power to not gobble down the whole pie in one sitting.

A note on ingredients for chocolate cream pie

I made the crust using Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers. You know: The kind your grandmother probably used to make that whipped cream refrigerator cake. (I’m going to do one of those soon, just because they’re so much fun to make.)

chocolate wafer cookies

Most American grocery stores will carry them. If you can’t find ’em, just use any plain, firm chocolate cookie (no toppings or fillings).

a row of chocolate wafer cookies

Try (try!) not to eat too many. You’ll want to use pretty much the whole 9-0unce box.

bitten chocolate cookie

The recipe calls for half-and-half (10%-18% butterfat). If you can’t find the right stuff, make your own by combining 50 percent milk and 50 percent cream.

half & half

Use your favorite kind of good chocolate. (Remember, the chocolate provides the main flavor.) Make chopping easy and slip free by using a serrated bread knife.

chop the chocolate with a bread knife

Chocolate Cream Pie

Based on the original recipe from Saveur magazine, Issue #126

Crust
8 Tbls. butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 (9-oz.) package chocolate wafer cookies

Filling
3 1/2 cups half-and-half
8 Tbls. butter, cut into hunks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
9 egg yolks
9 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Topping
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbls. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Yields 1 (9-inch) pie

Grease a 9-inch glass pie plate lightly and set it aside. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Make the cookie crumbs

Grab your cookies. You need to turn them into cookie crumbs. You can do this in a food processor, but I usually just opt for the bag-and-bash method.

chocolate cookies

Bag-and-bash? Toss the cookies in a large, zip-top bag.

chocolate cookies in a ziptop bag

And whack away with a rolling pin until you’ve crushed them to bits.

crush the cookies with a rolling pin to make crumbs

Aim for the consistency of potting soil.

chocolate cookie crumbs

Make the Crust

Get the butter melting in a medium-sized pot over medium heat.

melt the butter

Toss in the brown sugar.

butter and brown sugar in a pot

Whisk until the brown sugar is dissolved in the butter.

melted butter and brown sugar mixture

Pour the mixture into a large bowl.

Pour the mixture into a bowl

Add the chocolate cookie crumbs.

Add the chocolate cookie crumbs to the bowl

Stir well to combine.

stir the cookie crumbs into the butter

It will take a minute or two, but you should be able to moisten all the crumbs.

the cookie crumb mixture will be thick

Like this.

chocolate cookie crumb crust mixture

Pour the mixture into your greased pie plate.

put the cookie crumbs into the pie plate

Smoosh the crumbs down and spread them out so they fill the pie plate.

Press the cookie crumbs into the pie plate

You want the crumbs to come up the sides.

making a chocolate cookie crumb crust

Then press the crumbs down more with the bottom of a measuring cup or glass.

flatten the cookie crumb crust

Be sure to get around the edge of the pie plate, so the crust isn’t too, too thick there.

make the edge of the cookie crumb pie crust

chocolate cookie crumb pie crust

Slide a finger around the edge to knock off any extra crumbs. This will help the crust keep a nice edge when you serve it.

smooth the edge of the pie crust

Pop the crust into the fridge for about 20 minutes to chill. Then bake in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until set.

prebake the cookie crumb crust

Yank it out of the oven and set it aside to cool.

Make the chocolate cream filling

Put the half-and-half in a 3-quart pot.

pour the milk into the pot

Set it on the stove over medium-high heat until it *just* starts to bubble (keep a good eye on it so it doesn’t scorch).

milk on the stove

While it’s heating, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a large, heat-proof bowl. Whisk together until uniform. It will look kinda like baby powder.

whisk the sugar and cornstarch into the milk

Add the egg yolks to the sugar/cornstarch mixture.

add the egg yolks to the sugar mixture

egg yolks and sugar

Whisk until combined.

whisk the egg yolks into the sugar mixture

egg yolk and sugar mixture

Pour the hot half-and-half into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. (Emphasis on *thin* here. You want to temper, i.e. raise, the temperature of the egg yolks gently. Pour it all in at once, and there’s a good chance the eggs will scramble.)

Keep pouring, whisking constantly, until you’ve added all the hot half-and-half.

whisk the half and half into the egg mixture

Then pour the hot mixture back into the pot.

pour the milk back into the pot

Make sure that your butter and chocolate are chopped, ready, and waiting.

butter and chopped chocolate

Set the pot back on the stove over medium heat.

whisk the custard on the stove

Whisk it constantly for maybe 4 minutes. It will thicken considerably. When it’s thick (it should coat the back of a spoon nicely), yank it off the heat.

the custard will thicken

Add the butter and chopped chocolate to the hot mixture in small handfuls. Whisk to melt and incorporate.

add butter and chocolate to custard

whisk butter and chocolate into custard

Keep adding the butter and chocolate in batches, whisking all the while, until it’s all in the pot.

making chocolate infused custard

making chocolate cream pie filling

When you’re done, you’ll have what looks like a big pot of hot chocolate pudding. Add the vanilla and whisk to incorporate.

chocolate cream pie filling

Set a mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour the mixture through the strainer. (This is to catch any bits of egg that may have solidified.)

strain the chocolate cream filling

push the chocolate cream filling through the strainer

Resist the urge to jump in the bowl and swim around with your mouth open.

big bowl of chocolate cream pie filling

Press a piece of plastic wrap to the top of the mixture while it’s hot.

press plastic wrap to the surface of the filling

Be sure to get right to the edges. The plastic wrap will keep the filling from developing a thick skin as it cools.

make the seal as airtight as you can

Pop the filling into the fridge for about 4 hours, or until chilled throughout. As it cools, it will thicken up.

Assemble the chocolate cream pie!

When the filling is chilled, yank it out of the fridge. Peel off the plastic wrap. Stir the filling until smooth.

chilled chocolate cream pie filling

Pour the filling into your prepared crust.

pour the filling into the pie shell

Smooth it down into a nice dome with a rubber spatula.

smooth down the pie filling

chocolate cream pie filling in crust

Whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla together until nice and thick.

beat heavy cream sugar and vanilla together

You want the whipped cream to hold a stiff peak, like this:

beat whipped cream to stiff peaks

Gently scoop the whipped cream onto the chocolate filling.

whipped cream on chocolate cream pie

Smooth the whipped cream down so that it completely covers the chocolate filling.

spread the whipped cream on top of the pie

Pop into the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

chocolate cream pie ready to refrigerate

Make the chocolate shavings

Now, you could totally just grate chocolate on top of this pie with a grater and serve it. To take it over the top, though, make these chocolate slivers.

Put your chocolate chips in a bowl.

chocolate chips in a bowl

Zap them in the microwave long enough to melt them (mine took about 2 minutes on high).

microwaved chocolate chips

Stir the chips around until the chocolate is totally melted.

stirring melted chocolate chips

Put the melted chocolate on a piece of parchment paper or wax paper.

blob of melted chocolate chips

Spread it as thin as you can with a spatula.

spread the chocolate thin with a spatula

thin layer of chocolate on wax paper

Thin as in, really thin:

chocolate for chocolate curls

Pop it into the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until it’s totally solid again. (I draped mine over a baking dish because a plate wouldn’t fit…)

melted chocolate in the freezer

Yank it out of the freezer when the chocolate is hard.

thin layer of frozen chocolate

Roll the paper up to break the chocolate into shards. If your shards come out a little clunky looking, like mine did, just chop them into slivers with a sharp knife.

making chocolate curls

Serve and enjoy!

Serve thick slices topped with chocolate slivers.

slice of chocolate cream pie ready to serve

Enjoy!

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

80 COMMENTS

  1. OMG! my mouth is watering and Im wanting chocolate really bad right now- I am going to try this this weekend. I just have to! Thanks for sharing -your directions are so detailed and wonderful!If I make it Ill try to document it and post it on my blog…and of course I will direct everyone here to your page…thanks again!

  2. are their like, rows of cookies in that refrigerator cake thing? i’ve actually never heard of this, and from the picture on the site my brain can’t make sense of how you set up the cookies to get stripes like that, and also without it all just falling apart, even frozen.

    i do totally approve of the saran wrap over the filling – my gramma always had ‘homemade’ pudding or jello in the fridge which was GREAT buuuuuut…the dreaded skin! i think there are people out there who like it, actually (a seinfeld episode even, maybe?), but it gives me the heebie jeebies D:

    • Oh, give me a week or two and I’ll make a refrigerator cake for you so you can see how it’s done. It’s definitely an odd little dessert, but it’s a ton of fun to make. Basically, you use the cookies like bricks and the whipped cream like mortar.

      And I’m with you on the pudding skin. 😀

      +Jessie

  3. Oh my, this looks delicious. a couple years ago, I made the Better Homes and Gardens version of chocolate cream pie a few times. It doesn’t come out as smooth as yours does, though. That recipe call for baking it in order to make it set, but you have to wait four hours to eat it anyway. I’m not that great in the kitchen, but I’m willing to cook just about anything that involves chocolate.

  4. I made this pie last week and it was a hit! It was perfect. I’m going to try and use my fav chocolate for next time.
    Thanks for posting!

  5. I am a big Holiday baker. I put out a menu and sell pies out of my kitchen. I just made this pie x’s 3. I have to say it is the best chocolate cream pie filling that I have ever had! Thank you so much for the details in your recipe. This is now my favorite and only chocolate cream pie recipe!

  6. Wow this looks amazing. I had never heard of chocolate cream pie until last night when I saw it on Julie and Julia. At that moment I fell in love a decided it was essential I learnt how to make it so I went out on a witchunt to find a recipe. I can’t wait to make this so thank you soo much for putting this up!

  7. I don’t have a glass pie dish like the one you used…I have 9 different sizes of springform pans (one has a glass bottom, if that helps). Would you saw a springform could be used for this pie? My son-in-law and daughter have requested a chocolate cream pie for dinner tomorrow night and this pie will be PERFECT. Thanks for the wonderfully explicite instructions.

  8. All I can say is WOW! By far the BEST chocolate cream pie I have EVER tasted. My pie came out exactly as the picture shows. I cheated and used a prepared Oreo chocolate crust, but otherwise I followed the recipe as written. I cannot wait to make this again (neither can my family). Thank you soooooo much for this recipe.

  9. I made this pie. It took 2 days. Turned out beautiful. The only problem I had was my grand daughters boyfriend bumped into the table……pie fell into the floor and landed on the cat’s head!

  10. I’m in the process of making this pie and I’m at the point where the filling is cooling in the fridge. I can’t wait to dive into it! Thanks for the visual instructions and tips!! I’m really enjoying your website because I’m a person who does much better when I’m shown how to do something!

  11. I tripled the recipe and made three pies at once. My son took one to school, my husband took one to work, and one for home. The only change I made was using 2% milk instead of half and half. It was absolutely amazing the best chocolate cream pie I have ever eaten. The pies were a huge success. I will definitely be making this pie again. The pies were made in honor of Pi 3.14 day.

  12. This is the most amazing recipe ever! I made it the first time for Christmas last year. My family are all pie-lovers. My dad couldn’t stop raving! He said it was the best chocolate cream pie ever! Everyone else agreed. I followed your recipe exactly. It was a cinch to make and turned out just like your pictures. People have been talking about it ever since. I’m the pie-baker in the family but this has made me famous! The girls at my office heard about it and have been begging me to make it for them. I finally took it to work today for an Easter treat. They all agreed it was the best chocolate cream pie they have ever eaten! I make pies for my husband’s family at Thanksgiving every year and this will definitely be on the menu. Thanks for sharing such an amazing recipe. Oh, and LOVED your comment about jumping in the bowl and swimming around with your mouth open!

    • P.S. Forgot to mention that the second time around I thought I had semi-sweet chocolate but only had bittersweet so instead of parts of each, I made the whole recipe with bittersweet and I liked it just as well.

  13. I am making this pie tomorrow for a friend’s birthday… I CAN’T WAIT!!!
    Also, regarding the Nabisco wafers and the refrigerator cake… Usually, the recipe is on the box somewhere. My grandma used to make little individual “cakes”. We called them “cookie cakes”. Just get a box of the wafers and about six small plates. Make some homemade whipped cream. Put a dab of whip cream in the center of each plate, place a wafer down, press slightly. Then another dab on top, another wafer, etc… alternating whipped cream and wafers until you are out of wafers. When you press them down slightly, you want the whip cream to just come to the edges and you want the whipped cream layers to be just about the same thickness as the wafer (or slightly thicker). Then, “frost” with whipped cream so they each look like a little cake frosted on the top and sides. Then… a cherry on top… Then chill for several hours in the refrigerator to allow the wafers to soften. If there is any crunch at all, they aren’t ready! The biggest problem with these is finding the room in the refrigerator for all the plates. Luckily, they don’t last long… That is, they will be eaten up in a hurry and you’ll have your refrigerator space back!

  14. this pie is divine – had my teen daughter and her friend create it in the ultimate baking day – they were so proud of themselves when it was done. so were we – it is delicious!

  15. I agree….BEST chocolate cream pie EVER!!!! the only problem is every holiday I now attend this is what they want me to bring…. i do have other great recipes people! 😉 Thanks so much for the recipe! We love it! So easy, and beautiful!

  16. Thanks for the great recipe. I made this for Thanksgiving at the request of my niece to “bring something chocolate”. It was a huge hit. I used Valrhona chocolate (56% & 70%)and it was very rich and decadent. I got a lot of servings out of this pie too due to the richness of it. I used Thomas Keller’s TKO recipe for the chocolate cookies instead of using store bought. I will definitely make this again!

  17. This..is…HEAVENLY. No, seriously, just heavenly, and that’s kind of sort of a big deal for me to say because I constantly over-criticize everything I make in fear of it not being perfect. This pie is really quite perfect — I planned on making a decadent dessert for my boyfriend’s father, and with some detective work, it became evident that he had been craving his mom’s chocolate cream pie.

    Handed it to him yesterday, and after all the thanks, half of the pie was gone in one sitting due to my boyfriend and his father, alone! Not even twelve hours later, and this baby’s long gone!

    And the best part was, this pie received the greatest compliment of all … “*Mid chew* This is better than my mom’s.”

    My heart melted.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful absolutely fantastical beautiful delicious recipe 🙂

    (I followed the instructions exactly, used very chocolate teddy grahams for the crust and it was still divine, used a Ghiradelli bittersweet bar and a baker’s semisweet chocolate 8oz bar. Baked the crust for 11-12 minutes — I’d be weary of how long you hold it in there for; don’t be fooled by what it looks like as soon as it comes out of the oven, it’ll harden and set twofold in minutes after cooling.)

  18. I made this pie yesterday. It tasted incredible! I must admit i have a bit of a sugar rush right now! Woo hoo!

    I couldn’t find the Nabisco chocolate cookies…so i used Teddy Grahams instead…excellent crust!

  19. WOW!! Had been searching for a particularly decadent chocolate cream pie-and this is it! I did use 3 cups of whole milk and only 1/2 cup of half and half and it was still very rich. Can’t imagine it with all half and half!! For the chocolate, I used mini chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate, great. Filling makes enough for the pie and a bowl of pudding to enjoy beforehand. Didn’t use the chocolate shavings-thought it would be overkill. Also used light brown sugar as I didn’t have the dark on hand. Thanks for the recipe!

  20. My father’s bestest ultimate favorite dessert is Chocolate Cream Pie. I’ve been scouring everywhere (internet / cook books, etc) for a good recipe. Most are just a glorified pudding tart. So NOT the same! THIS looks like pay dirt! I have all of the ingredients to make this as a surprise for Father’s Day. I’ll let ya know. I’m so excited to make it, I’m just giddy!!!

  21. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe, for all the time in taking the photos and then uploading it online for all of us to learn them step by step!! You rock!!!

    Btw I LOL’ed at the “Resist the urge to jump in the bowl and swim around with your mouth open.”

    LOLOLOL

  22. As mentioned above, I made this for Father’s Day and it was a hit! Due to my large family, I had doubled the recipe. I actually wound up with enough filling for 3 pies! Since I only had 2 crusts, I saved the remaining filling for another time. My father ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY loved it! He won’t hold back with critiques because he knows I want the honest opinion. Perhaps his mouth was just continuously filled with the 2 large servings he had, but he enjoyed thoroughly. BTW- with the remaining filling, I bought the individual tart-sized graham cracker crusts, baked them up in the oven and filled accordingly. They are the perfect 1-person dessert. This recipe worked great with both the chocolate and graham cracker crusts. Most undoubtedly will be kept readily available and used often. Thanks again for a wonderful hit!!

  23. p.s. I did wind up with the chocolate beard while making this dessert. Although you did suggest it, I couldn’t resist the urge to swim in the bowl. I did lickety split! (Couldn’t even wait for it to fully cool down!)

  24. This really is THE BEST chocolate pie ever!!!!

    Can I make the crust and filling and freeze it for later? I wouldn’t freeze it with the whip cream since I don’t think the cream would hold up. What do you think?

  25. Hi, I just googled ‘rich velvety chocolate cream pie’ and got your recipe. It sounds fabulous and I plan to make it for Christmas dinner. I started writing a food blog last January. My blog (www.cookwithcindy.com) is very simple, but I love cooking and talking about food so it seemed to be a good idea to put together and I thoroughly enjoy it. I live south of Boston in Plymouth so we are practically neighbors! Thanks for the recipe! Cindy

  26. I have made this several times, it is wonderful. I have never strained it and never was it lumpy. That step is a waste of time and pudding. The blog is too lengthly and too many pictures. I wished the recipe had the comments along with it. But…. after writing it out to be more organized, this is the best homemade pudding ever.

  27. Oh my gosh I am making this for our church ham dinner next week. Just found it. I dont usually make pies but I have to make this. I know it will be a hit!

  28. I just made this pie last week for my hubby for our anniversary. It was amazing! I am obsessed with the crust … So simple and so so good. Anyone who using pre-made crusts are surely missing out. The chocolate filling was so thick and rich, definitely the best chocolate pie anyone in my family has ever had. My son who usually does not like pie or cake loved it so much he has requested it for his birthday!

    I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter expect that I only had 8oz of semi-sweet chocolate so I used 3oz of bittersweet chocolate and the 8oz of semi-sweet that I had. It still turned out amazing, probably better considering we love dark chocolate in this family!

    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  29. Thank you for this AWESOME recipe! I made it for our Sunday dinner after just getting back from Hawaii. I switched up the crust for a macadamia nut crust but otherwise pretty much just your recipe. It was exactly like what I had eaten and love on my trip and am so grateful for your EXCELLENT instructions and recipe. I will be posting my version soon and will link to your site when I do. Take care.

  30. I could not get this to work. Very chocolatey but turned out way too thin- soupy. We froze it and then ate it quickly before it melted.

  31. i made this tonight and followed all the pictures and detailed instructions. Very helpful for a professed non baker! After putting the filling into a ready made Oreo crust, I had a little left over and had to taste it. This pie is phenomenal! Delicious and it came out just like the picture. Can’t wait to try out the homemade shavings tomorrow. Thanks!

  32. The crust was difficult to work with… Wasn’t holding together like I thought it should. I followed instructions exactly and had more of a chocolate soup after mixing everything and putting into fridge. I’ll see if it thickens overnight but probably not likely. I’m disappointed… Not a cheap pie to make. :/

  33. We tried this last weekend. The crust was a little difficult, but not impossible. Otherwise, this pie was amazing! We are going to do it again this weekend, but we are going to try white chocolate filling this time. Very excited!

  34. This was my first homemade chocolate pie I ever made. It was fun and delicious. My family devoured it!!! I loved all the photos that went along with it. I couldn’t find chocolate cookie wafers and used chocolate animal crackers instead. I also couldn’t measure the 9 0z properly so my crust was a bit thick and crunchy, but still great. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  35. oh wow this is what us Brits think of as a true American dessert – it looks immense and am going to plan making it for the next event at work to bribe my team with 🙂 so decadent!!

  36. I just made this pie today and it was heavenly. Rich, sinful, maybe even a little sexy. Perfect for valentine’s day. One thing I did come across though was the mixture not congealing and instead separating into clumps of oil and chocolate cream, luckily though I have a solution in case anyone else runs into this dilemma: While the cream filling is still off heat, if it isn’t gelling, had hot cream by the tablespoon and whisk, and I promise you eventually it will work and be perfect. It is just about getting fat ratios right! Bon Apetit!

  37. This pie is worth the hype, I just made it! It turned out lovely, rich and decadent! Takes effort but well worth it!

  38. OMG I feel like worshipping you! Thanks for the detailed steps and the instructions. I can’t wait to make the pie. It looks so delicious.
    Can you please suggest an egg replacer. Would condensed milk work?
    Also could I make the crust with Oreo cookies?
    Thank you!

  39. im in Australia and we don’t have half and half, is there another alternative or so we just use 50% cream and 50% milk. If so what measurement is 50%?

  40. I just made this pie it turned out great I didn’t Strain it I used a mixer on the stove a handmixer and it turned out beautiful thank you Vic

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