We were in Ohio visiting my husband's family last month and while we were away, my friend came over to our house every day to check on our cat and feed her for us. To thank her, I made her favorite pie: Chocolate Cream Pie!
Not only does my BFF love it, but so does my oldest daughter. In fact, for Christmas last year, the only thing on her list was her very own chocolate cream pie. That was an easy bill for Santa to fill!
The filling is just homemade pudding. Have you ever made homemade pudding? I wonder how many people in the world make it from scratch or do they take the easy way out and use a box of Jell-o Brand Pudding? I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark that 99.99% of people in the world go with that 2nd option.
Anyway... on to the recipe. I didn't cut into the pie because.. duh.. it was going to a friend. It would have been very poor manners for me to cut into her pie. But know that underneath that cloud of fluffy whipped cream and grated chocolate is a pool of decadent chocolate yumminess.
For the crust:
Crush 1 package chocolate graham crackers in a large zip loc. Add 2 Tbsp brown sugar and 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted. Mix it all together in the bag then dump into a pie plate and press into the bottom and on the sides. Set aside.
For the filling:
3 cups milk or half and half (depends on how bad you want to be)
5 egg yolks (you can save the whites for omelets or angel food cake)
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla
dash sea salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup semi sweet chocolate
1 cup milk chocolate
Put 2 1/2 cups milk, the sugar, salt, and cocoa powder in a medium to large saucepan and bring to scald over medium high heat. Do not let this boil!
In a bowl, put the remaining 1/2 cup milk with the cornstarch and egg yolks. Whisk well.
When the milk is steaming and scalded, but not boiling, carefully pour a little bit of the hot milk into the cornstarch/yolk mixture while you continue to whisk. This is going to temper your yolks. If you poured the hot liquid in without stirring, your yolks would begin to cook and you'll have really lumpy pudding. Yuck. Don't let that happen!
Put the pot back on the burner and then pour in the tempered yolks. **NOTE: When I pour the tempered yolks back into the pot with the remaining liquid, I pour it through a fine mesh sieve to keep egg particles or any lumps out of the pot. Lumps=bad!
Kick the heat up on the burner to high and keep stirring that filling as it comes to a boil. This will thicken as it heats up and when it's nice and thick, remove from the burner. Be careful as you whisk because this will bubble and pop up at you like molten lava and it hurts REALLY bad if it touches your skin. Constant stirring is essential at this end phase because it will burn on you if you aren't careful.
Once you've removed the pot from the stove, add the butter, vanilla, and the semi & milk chocolates. You can use whatever brand you want, but note that the better chocolate you use, the better your pie will be. For my friend's pie, I actually used some dark and milk Dove chocolate. YUM!
Stir well using a rubber spatula until the chocolate bits and butter are melted. Carefully pour the filling into your chocolate graham cracker crust. Cover the top completely with Saran and pop in the fridge. You want to let this chill for at least 6 hours (overnight is best) before putting the whipped cream on. This needs to set up otherwise when you put on the whipped cream, filling will ooze out from underneath. Not what we want.
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
In a chilled bowl, add the cold cream. Using a chilled bowl and whisk/beaters will give you the best results for cream. Whip on medium speed until the cream is frothy and you can see ribbons of cream as it whips. Slowly (SLOWLY!) sprinkle in the sugar as you continue to whip. Whip on high until you have firm peaks. Mix in the vanilla.
Spoon onto the top of your set pie and spread out using your spatula or an offset frosting spatula. Take a piece of chocolate bar (in my case, I used a piece of Dove dark chocolate) and grate using a zester or the fine side of a cheese grater.
Keep this pie refrigerated until it's time to eat.