Sumptuous Chocolate Cream Pie

Blog6 051It’s only October and already I need a break from pumpkin. I never thought I’d say that, but I follow a lot of food blogs and can say with authority that pumpkin dominates this time of year. Yes, I’m guilty of adding to the craziness, and I know I’ll be trying out more pumpkin recipes between now and Christmas, but for now I’m leaning on my faithful backup: chocolate!

I was craving chocolate cream pie, and since I can easily use my blog as an excuse for making sinful goodies, I made a rich, dark, creamy version…for my wonderful readers, of course. I even tested it thoroughly for you.

I usually use a chocolate cookie crust with chocolate cream pie, but in this case I had my heart set on decorating the pie with pie crust leaves, so I baked a regular pie crust and brushed the bottom of it with chocolate before I added the filling, which helped keep the bottom crust flaky. Since I made enough pastry for a two-crust pie, I had plenty of dough for some pretty autumn leaves.

Just for grins I tried two different “looks”. Some of the leaves I baked and outlined with dark chocolate. Some I painted with food coloring and sprinkled with sugar before baking. I love the fall look of the pastry leaves, but if you’re in a hurry you can just slather the pie with whipped cream, shave a little chocolate over it, and call it good. Believe me, no one will complain!
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One pie will easily serve eight people, because a thin slice of this rich dessert is more than satisfying. It’s a dessert to be savored slowly and appreciated deeply.¬† Even though pumpkin pie is the traditional dessert for a Thanksgiving meal, some people just don’t like pumpkin. If you’re thinking about having a couple of different dessert options, this would be a great choice, because I haven’t met too many people who don’t like chocolate!

You can make this the day before if you have room in the refrigerator. Put the whipping cream on just before serving, or if you’re using non-dairy whipped topping or stabilized whipped cream, you can decorate the pie a couple of hours before serving.

Here’s the pie recipe. I’ve given you a crust recipe and instructions below.

Sumptuous Chocolate Cream Pie
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This rich pie will easily serve 8 people.
Ingredients
  • 1 baked pie crust
  • 1 ounce of dark chocolate for coating the crust (optional)
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon powdered espresso
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup butter
Instructions
  1. Melt 1 ounce of chocolate in a small cup in the microwave, using 15 second intervals and stirring often. With a pastry brush or spoon, spread the chocolate over the crust bottom. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly mix the egg yolks. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, espresso powder, milk, and chocolate.
  4. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a low boil.
  5. Turn heat down to medium and continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Remove from heat.
  6. Add about ½ cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and stir briefly. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, whisk to combine, and return to a low boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. Stir in the vanilla and butter until the filling is smooth and completely combined. Pour into the pie shell and allow pie to cool before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating.
  8. Chill for 4-6 hours. Serve with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

Filling the pie.

Filling the pie.

You can find the recipe for my favorite pie crust right here: Never Fail Pie Crust.
I find that the dough is easier to work with if I don’t refrigerate it before rolling it out. I just need to be generous with the flour.

I use a little more than half the dough for the crust because I don’t have to roll it so thin and it’s easier to handle. Roll out the dough and cut it into a circle that’s large enough to leave an inch of excess all the way around the pan. Place the dough in the pan, fold under and flute the edge, and poke holes evenly in the crust with a fork.

Poke the crust all over with a fork.

Poke the crust all over with a fork.

Carefully lay a sheet of foil over the pie crust and fill at least one-third of the way up with beans (or use pie weights.) Bake at 375 F. for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and gently lift the foil and weights out of the pan. (If you’re using beans, wrap them up in the foil and save for the next time you bake a pie crust. You can’t eat them after they’ve been baked.)

Weighing down the crust to keep it from collapsing as it bakes.

Weighing down the crust to keep it from collapsing as it bakes.

Return the crust to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until it turns golden. Since the crust is hot when it first comes out of the oven, if you want to shave a little chocolate over it, it will melt and you can spread it easily, saving the step of melting the chocolate in the microwave. You can see I got a little carried away here with my pastry brush, and splattered the crust with chocolate. I kind of liked the look, and may do it more thoroughly next time!

Spreading chocolate on the bottom of the crust.

Spreading chocolate on the bottom of the crust.

While the pie crust is baking, roll the remaining crust out between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick. Cut with leaf shaped cookie cutters.
For colored leaves: Using an artists paintbrush (or even a damp paper towel, in a pinch) paint each leaf with food coloring. For muted colors, water down the food coloring a little. Sprinkle with sugar, and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Leaves fresh from the oven.

Leaves fresh from the oven.

For chocolate leaves, cut out leaves and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until golden brown. When cool, pipe “veins” on the leaves with dark chocolate, using a pastry bag and small writing tip or a plastic zipper bag with the tip snipped off.
chocolate pieA cup of coffee and a slice of this pie is pure bliss. It will never replace pumpkin pie in the hearts of America, but it’s got to be a close second. Enjoy…I know I did!