Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Chocolate-Chocolate Cream Pie

So we are still without an oven, but there may be hope on the horizon! My landlady assures me that they will be around over the weekend to install a new gas range, so keep your fingers crossed for me! In the meantime, people still need PIE! We were so desperate, that I had to take extreme and even slightly shameful measures. I actually broke down and bought a frozen pie shell (gasp!) to take to work to bake in the oven in our faculty lounge while I was doing my office hour on Monday. Then I carefully transported the crust back home to fill it with homemade chocolate cream pie filling, but then I topped it with chocolate Reddi-Whip from a can and some mini-chocolate chips. So this is definitely a cheater pie--not that chocolate cream pie is all that highbrow to begin with--but still, it is just heavenly...so homey and comforting! In fact, I thought I had already posted the recipe to a Yahoo group that I belong to, and I had to chuckle when I realized that on almost exactly the same date three years ago, my menu included both the potato corn chowder that I just posted the recipe for a few days ago, as well as this chocolate cream pie! So this must be a part of my seasonal repertoire for September. I also have been known to make this pie for Thanksgiving to have a chocolate option in and amongst all the pumpkin, pecan, squash or sweet potato pies. In fact, I have a little friend K, my office mate's daughter, who turns five today (I was lucky enough to attend her fabulous Charlotte's Web-themed party at this lovely farm last Saturday!), and for several years now, I have been making her one of these special "chocolate pudding pies," as she calls them. I usually take one for Thanksgiving as her mom, my dear friend, Lee Ann, is always kind to invite me and my roomie for the holiday. It is K's favorite pie and my favorite pie from childhood, too. And now I pass the recipe onto you so that you can make one for your special little friends--or big special friends--or you might not even want to share it at all because it's so darn good!

Chocolate-Chocolate Cream Pie
(Source: largely based on the classic Betty Crocker recipe)

9-in. pre-baked pie shell
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons cocoa (I use five Dutch-process plus one black to make a darker chocolate filling)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk (I don't usually have whole milk, so I use 2 cups half-n-half + 1 cup 2% milk or 2 1/2 cups milk plus 1/2 cup heavy cream)
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
4 tablespoons butter (cut into pieces)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix sugar, corn starch, cocoa and salt in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for one minute. Stir some of the hot mixture gradually into the egg yolks, then add this mixture back into the saucepan. Boil and stir for another minute. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla. (You may wish to strain the custard at this point to make sure it's ultra-smooth.) Pour into the cooled pie shell. Press a piece of plastic wrap down onto the filling. Refrigerate about two hours or until set. Serve with Chocolate Reddi-Whip and a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips (or regular-sized ones chopped up a bit or shavings or what you will).


Anonymous said...

This pie was better than rainy- day sex with Martha Stewart.

Anonymous said...

I made this pie and it did not firm up. Also, the custard was very lumpy and definitely needed to be strained. The flavor was fabulous, but.... what did I do wrong. Most other recipes call for a double boiler. could you post "corrections"

Joy Bugaloo said...

Wow...I am SO surprised to hear that your pie didn't turn out. I have made this pie more times than I can count--it's my old faithful stand-by recipe (adapted from Betty Crocker)--and it ALWAYS turns out for me (hope I didn't just jinx myself!). My dear friend, Kurt, has made cream pies based on this recipe for years, too. So this is a mystery.

Just a hunch, but it sounds to me like the eggs got too hot, one way or another. So you might want to lower the heat on your stove a bit, or you may want to go ahead and use a double boiler for insurance, even though the recipe doesn't call for it, and I don't use one when making this pie. Also, remember to GRADUALLY temper the egg yolks and be sure not to cook the custard too long after incorporating the eggs, just a minute or so. And be sure to whisk constantly!

Sorry the first pie didn't turn out for you, but if at first you don't succeed...well, you know! ;-) It's worth attempt #2, I promise!

Good luck--Gina

Anonymous said...

I made this pie for thanksgiving except with a homemade oreo crust, and it was a HUGE hit. Everyone loved it and it was the first pie to go. :-) I've always loved the old Betty Crocker recipes.

Joy Bugaloo said...

Oh, I'm so glad to hear that the pie was a hit! Thanks for commenting. I, too, sometimes make it with an Oreo crust. Never too much chocolate! ;-)


Anonymous said...

My Mother-in-Law used to make the original BC recipe and it was a favorite but I lost the recipe. I am curious what you changed from the original recipe and why.

Joy Bugaloo said...

Ok, a quick Google search yielded this as the "classic" Betty Crocker chocolate cream pie recipe:

1 9-inch pie shell -- baked
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks -- slightly beaten
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate -- melted
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla
sweetened whipped cream -- optional

Bake pie shell. Stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Blend milk and egg yolks; gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; blend in melted chocolate and vanilla.
Immediately pour into baked pie shell. Press plastic wrap onto filling. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with sweetened whipped cream, if desired.

MY CHANGES: I reduced the sugar a little bit (for a more bittersweet effect--my personal preference). I use cocoa instead of unsweetened chocolate, but I honestly don't remember why. I think maybe my friend Kurt first made that switch, but it was my idea to swap out a little black cocoa to deepen the chocolatey flavor. I use half as much vanilla, and two teaspoons seems plenty--then again, I use double-strength vanilla! Finally, I like to enrich my custards with a few pats of butter, so I added that.

Hope that helps. --Gina

Anonymous said...

Hey Gina! I have tried about 3 or 4 recipes for a Chocolate Cream Pie, including a few with many positive reviews at Allrecipes and Recipezaar, and none of them firmed up or were tasty. I had honestly given up hope of ever being able to get a Chocolate Cream Pie to hold together and be good.

I tried yours tonight, and hon, let me tell you, it was ABSOLUTE PERFECTION! Not only did it hold together perfectly, but the taste was just THE BEST!

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It's BETTER than Betty Crocker's original, too! Bless your sweet heart, I just send you so many hugs for this!! Xoxo!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm the posting above that says "I made this pie for thanksgiving except with a homemade oreo crust, and it was a HUGE hit. Everyone loved it and it was the first pie to go. :-) I've always loved the old Betty Crocker recipes.

11/23/2007 11:17:00 PM"

It's that time of year again...and i'm finding myself coming back to this page (which I saved on my computer last year)....I've had several of my family members request this pie again..along with my husband who flat out demanded it. Just wanted to make a reminder of the big hit the recipe was. Thanks! :-)

Anonymous said...

Okay so I just made this pie and since we are totally a casein milk free home we used Unsweetened Plain wildwood soy milk instead of cows milk. We still eat eggs though. So it came out perfect.It is like so creamy and smooth. I strained it and nothing lumpy at all. I think this is because I had the 4 egg yolks in my kitchen aid mixer mixing on high while adding a spoonful at a time of the hot mix to it so it would not cook the eggs quickly. This created a very creamy mixture. It is set up and ready to go for thanksgiving. It tasted heavenly too. Oh I used Trader Joes organic cocoa non dairy too. Keeping this recipe. Thank you sooooo much....

Joy Bugaloo said...

Fascinating! I never would have thought that a dairy-free version would turn out well. Good to know!

Mirandakins said...

My boyfriend has been hassling me about making a chocolate cream pie. That is what lead me to find the perfect chocolate cream pie and I found this simple recipe. I used a pie crust recipe from foodnetwork which was also simple.This is a keeper. It looks amazing, no clumps at atll! Followed the recipe exactly and it worked out perfectly! Thanks so much.