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Chocolate Cream Pie

You have to love it when someone asks for a birthday pie instead of a pedestrian cake. My co-worker Meg wanted a chocolate cream pie for her birthday, and she wanted it with a regular pie crust instead of a traditional cookie crumb crust. I used my standard Cook’s Illustrated vodka crust and an epicurious.com recipe for the filling.

 

I thought the pie turned out well, although I did over bake the crust. The chocolate pudding was creamy and had rich chocolate flavor. I used a combination of 55% and 72% Valrhona and Ghirardelli chocolates. I doubled the amount of whipped cream as I thought it would be better, presentation-wise.

 

Several of my co-workers couldn’t wrap their head around pudding from scratch. They thought by “homemade” I meant that I used Jello’s 5 minute cook and serve mix. I had to insist several times that there was no box involved. Homemade pudding is pretty easy, try it yourself and impress some people.

Chocolate Cream Pie Gourmet | February 2004

This beautiful pie is great for entertaining, since the rich, creamy filling will be a surefire hit with anyone who likes chocolate pudding.

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
Active Time: 45 min
Total Time: 8 hr (includes cooling and chilling)

 

For crust
1 1/3 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (from about 26 cookies such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

For filling
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
5 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), melted
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

For topping
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar

 

Make crust:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together crumbs, butter, and sugar and press on bottom and up side of a 9-inch pie plate (1-quart capacity). Bake until crisp, about 15 minutes, and cool on a rack.


Make filling:

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and yolks in a 3-quart heavy saucepan until combined well, then add milk in a stream, whisking. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking, 1 minute (filling will be thick).

Force filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then whisk in chocolates, butter, and vanilla. Cover surface of filling with a buttered round of wax paper and cool completely, about 2 hours.

Spoon filling into crust and chill pie, loosely covered, at least 6 hours.


Make topping:

Just before serving, beat cream with sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks, then spoon on top of pie.


Cooks' note:
Pie (without topping) can be chilled up to 1 day.

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