Chocolate Cream Pie for Dad
My father is one of those people for whom dessert is not really dessert unless it’s chocolate. He used to keep a stash of Hershey kisses in the back of the freezer (he swore they weren’t off limits yet my sister and I could never reach them) and every night after dinner, he would line a bunch of them up on the arm of the sofa and relish them slowly, one by one, while he watched TV. We all have our quirky food habits, right?
This year for Father’s Day, my sister and I are treating him to something a little fancier than chocolate kisses: a decadent Chocolate Cream Pie. With a chocolate cookie crust, silky chocolate pudding center and pillowy whipped cream topping, it’s a chocolate lover’s dream. I’ll be honest, it’s a bit of a project — most pies are — but I promise it’s worth it.
The first step is to make the filling because it needs time to cool before you assemble the pie. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan and whisk gently until combined. Next, combine the milk and egg yolks. Slowly add the milk mixture to the saucepan, whisking until mixture is smooth.
Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens.
Off the heat, immediately whisk in the chopped chocolate, butter and vanilla extract.
The residual heat in the pan will melt the chocolate and butter.
Transfer the filling to a bowl and cool in the refrigerator.
Next, make the crust by combining the chocolate wafers, sugar and butter in bowl of food processor fitted with blade attachment. Pulse until the cookies are finely crushed.
Press the mixture into 9-inch pie pan, then bake for 10 minutes until crisp.
Spoon the filling into crust and spread evenly. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours or up to one day.
Finally, make the whipped cream topping and spread over pie.
Decorate with grated chocolate and serve.
Chocolate Cream Pie
For the Crust
- 28 Nabisco Chocolate Wafers (or 1-1/2 cups finely crushed crumbs)*
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the Filling
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 cups whole milk
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, best quality such as Ghirardelli
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, best quality such as Ghirardelli
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Topping
- 3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, grated or shaved
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Make the filling: Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Whisk gently until combined. In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the milk and egg yolks. Add the milk mixture to the saucepan in a slow and steady stream, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, 6-8 minutes. Immediately turn the heat down to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, for one minute more until thick. (The constant stirring and low heat prevents the eggs from scrambling. Be sure to stand attentively at stove and keep scraping the whisk against the bottom and edges of the pan where the mixture is more likely to overheat.) Off the heat, immediately whisk in the chopped chocolate, butter and vanilla extract. Transfer the filling to a bowl. Press a piece of saran wrap directly over surface of the filling to prevent a film from forming; refrigerate until cool, 1-2 hours.
- Make the crust: Combine the chocolate wafers, sugar and butter in bowl of food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until the cookies are finely crushed. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan (spread it with your hands first, then use the back of a spoon or bottom of a measuring cup to press and even out). Bake for 10 minutes until crisp. Set on a rack to cool completely.
- Once the filling and crust are cooled, spoon the filling into the crust and spread evenly. Cover with saran wrap, pressing directly against surface of filling, and chill for at least 6 hours or up to one day.
- Up to 3 hours before serving, make the topping: Place the heavy cream in chilled mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip on medium-low speed until the whisk or beaters begin to leave tracks in the cream. Add sugar and whip until the cream holds medium, silky peaks. Go slowly towards the end; if it gets grainy or curdled, you’ve gone too far. Spread the whipped cream over the filling, leaving some of the chocolate filling showing around the edges. Sprinkle with the grated chocolate and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- *Nabisco cookies available in the cookie aisle at most major supermarkets. Sometimes they can be hard to spot. At my local Giant, they’re on the top shelf near the Oreos.