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.
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.)
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.
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.)
It’s insanely rich, and thickened with a combination of egg yolks and a little bit of cornstarch.
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.)
Most American grocery stores will carry them. If you can’t find ‘em, just use any plain, firm chocolate cookie (no toppings or fillings).
Try (try!) not to eat too many. You’ll want to use pretty much the whole 9-0unce box.
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.
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.
Chocolate Cream Pie
Based on the original recipe from Saveur magazine, Issue #126
8 Tbls. butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 (9-oz.) package chocolate wafer cookies
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
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.
Bag-and-bash? Toss the cookies in a large, zip-top bag.
And whack away with a rolling pin until you’ve crushed them to bits.
Aim for the consistency of potting soil.
Make the Crust
Get the butter melting in a medium-sized pot over medium heat.
Toss in the brown sugar.
Whisk until the brown sugar is dissolved in the butter.
Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
Add the chocolate cookie crumbs.
Stir well to combine.
It will take a minute or two, but you should be able to moisten all the crumbs.
Pour the mixture into your greased pie plate.
Smoosh the crumbs down and spread them out so they fill the pie plate.
You want the crumbs to come up the sides.
Then press the crumbs down more with the bottom of a measuring cup or glass.
Be sure to get around the edge of the pie plate, so the crust isn’t too, too thick there.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Add the egg yolks to the sugar/cornstarch mixture.
Whisk until combined.
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.
Then pour the hot mixture back into the pot.
Make sure that your butter and chocolate are chopped, ready, and waiting.
Set the pot back on the stove over medium heat.
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.
Add the butter and chopped chocolate to the hot mixture in small handfuls. Whisk to melt and incorporate.
Keep adding the butter and chocolate in batches, whisking all the while, until it’s all in the pot.
When you’re done, you’ll have what looks like a big pot of hot chocolate pudding. Add the vanilla and whisk to incorporate.
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.)
Resist the urge to jump in the bowl and swim around with your mouth open.
Press a piece of plastic wrap to the top of the mixture while it’s hot.
Be sure to get right to the edges. The plastic wrap will keep the filling from developing a thick skin as it cools.
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.
Pour the filling into your prepared crust.
Smooth it down into a nice dome with a rubber spatula.
Whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla together until nice and thick.
You want the whipped cream to hold a stiff peak, like this:
Gently scoop the whipped cream onto the chocolate filling.
Smooth the whipped cream down so that it completely covers the chocolate filling.
Pop into the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.
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.
Zap them in the microwave long enough to melt them (mine took about 2 minutes on high).
Stir the chips around until the chocolate is totally melted.
Put the melted chocolate on a piece of parchment paper or wax paper.
Spread it as thin as you can with a spatula.
Thin as in, really thin:
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…)
Yank it out of the freezer when the chocolate is hard.
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.
Serve and enjoy!
Serve thick slices topped with chocolate slivers.