Chocolate cream pie is really rich, and really good, when made from scratch. It’s not hard to make, either–you just have to have some patience, as it takes a while for the chocolate mixture to get thick.
1 baked pie shell
3 cups milk
2 oz unsweeted chocolate (such as Ghirardelli’s baking bar)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks, separated from the whites
2 TB butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Whipped cream topping:
1 cup heavy cream
2 TB confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. If making your own pie crust, use the recipe for Sally’s Pie Pastry and roll out 1/5 of it for one crust. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a pie pan with the dough, prick all over, and put in parchment paper weighed down with dried beans (optional; this is how we usually do it). Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly browned. My mom says the beans in there weighing it down help to keep the pie shell from shrinking down the edges of the pan as much. I find that it also keeps the pie crust bottom from baking as fast as the rest, though, so I wind up taking the parchment paper full of beans out after about 10 minutes and letting it bake a little longer.
2. Separate your egg yolks from the whites, so that you’ll have them ready when you need them. The egg whites are not used in this recipe–only the yolks, for the chocolate pudding. I just crack the eggs open and let the whites slide through my fingers, leaving the yolks behind, but you can also use the egg shells to do the same thing, or an egg separator–however you like to do it. Since I was actually making 4 pies when I made this recipe, I had 12 eggs to separate, but for one pie you only need three eggs.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the milk with the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is melted and it is smoothly blended. (I broke the chocolate into bits to help it to melt faster.)
4. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Gradually whisk in the milk mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. This is the only tedious part of the whole process; when you’re first stirring, it will seem like it’s never going to get thick! But it will get there, trust me. Cooking on low heat makes it less likely to get lumpy (if it does, whisk it till the lumps are gone) and I think it makes it so that the starchiness of the flour gets gradually broken down, so that it doesn’t have a starch-y taste.
5. Once it’s thick, it’s time to add the egg yolks. (How thick is “thick”? Well, it’s up to you. Aim for a pudding-like consistency–and yes, it does feel like it takes forever for it to get to that point, at least when you are doing enough for 4 or 5 pies like we do. It does firm up a little more when refrigerated for several hours. I kept stirring mine for so long that it got really thick, probably thicker than it needed to be, but it was just as well since we served it without being refrigerated that night.)
You need to temper the eggs before you add them, so that they don’t turn into little bits of scrambled eggs in the mixture. You temper them by adding a few tablespoons of the hot chocolate mixture into the egg yolks and whisking it quickly, and then adding in more of the chocolate mixture, till the bowl of egg-chocolate-mixture feels slightly warm.
Then add the tempered-egg mixture into the pot of chocolate pudding and continue to cook for another 3 minutes, but don’t let it come to a boil.
6. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Let the custard cool for about 15 minutes, then pour it into the pie shell and refrigerate until ready to serve.
* Don’t forget, in preparation for whipping the cream, put the bowl you are going to use and the beaters in the freezer, to make it easier to whip up. *
7. Just before serving, whip the cream for the topping. Using electric beaters, whip the cream until soft peaks form. (The best I can explain the concept of “soft peaks”, is when you stop the beaters and lift them up from the cream, the cream will rise up in a little peak which droops.) Add the sugar and vanilla any time after you have started to beat. The more air you can incorporate, the greater the volume of the whipped cream will be; ideally, you should double the volume. Using an electric beater, the cream can turn buttery very soon after it has thickened, so watch it carefully.
8. Spread the cream over the pie, and enjoy!!
About the Author:
Hometown: Binghamton, NY
My name is Cadie, short for Cadence. I write on my own blog “The Wandering Waif” because it seemed to connote my general personality. The etymology of the word “waif” suggest something lost and unclaimed, and people have always told me that I look lost. Rather than being like someone striding purposefully from one point to the next, I am more like someone wandering around–wandering in the woods, perhaps, and taking pictures. Or in a more figurative sense, wandering my way through the day. I don’t mean it to be applied very specifically, though–mostly the name sounded good and it seemed to fit in some way.
Where my interests lie and what I spend time doing vary from time to time, but in general I enjoy writing, drawing/painting, photos, nature and little kids.
Tune in next week for more Food-Filled Fridays!