Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Oh my! Chocolate Cream Pie!
This is all that was left- bits of chocolate crumb crust, whipped cream, and chocolate pudding. Like a lot of recipes, I usually forget to make this until the holidays roll around and I need a sure crowd pleaser. I brought this to my sister-in-laws house on Thanksgiving and poor AudioDad almost didn't get a taste. So, I figured I'd bring two pies when we visited them again this past weekend. We joked that next time I may need to bring three!
It's a great dessert. Who can resist the smooth pudding and the sweet cream? For the crust, I use Nabisco Famous wafers, but couldn't find them this year! Chocolate graham crackers work fine, and I also used Trader Joe's chocolate cat cookies this year- also good results. The recipe may look involved, but it's mostly because of all the components. It's actually pretty straightforward once you've done it a couple of times. When I double the batch, the pudding will fit in a 3 qt. saucepan.
Chocolate Cream Pie
1 3/4 c. chocolate cookie crumbs (see note above)
1 tbs. sugar
7 tbs. unsalted butter, melted
3 tbs. cornstarch
1 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. half and half
1 1/4 c. whole milk
1 c. sugar
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tbs. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whipped cream topping
2 c. heavy cream
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch deep dish pie pan with nonstick cooking spray. To make the chocolate wafer crust, place some chocolate cookies in a gallon-size ziplock bag, seal, and crush using a rolling pin or meat mallet. Continue until crumbs are reasonably small (my largest bits are gravel-sized) and you have the amount needed. Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl. Transfer 1 tbs. of the crumb mixture to a small bowl and set aside to garnish the pie. Scrape the remaining crumb mixture into the prepared pie plate and use your fingers to press it evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Bake the crust for 8 minutes, or until set. Cool on a rack while you prepare the pudding layer.
To make the chocolate pudding, in a medium bowl, sift together the cornstarch, cocoa powder,and salt. Whisk in about 2 tbs. of the half and half until it is a smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining half and half; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar and chocolate. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk about 1/2 c. of the hot chocolate mixture into the half and half mixture. Whisk this mixture into the remaining chocolate mixture in the saucepan. Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. When the mixture begins to bubble, continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and then the vanilla. Scrape the pudding into the cooled pie shell. Cover and refrigerate the pie until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours.
To make the whipped cream topping, beat the cream on medium-low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and add the sugar and vanilla. Beat until the cream forms soft peaks. Scrape the whipped cream over the chilled pie and use a spatula to sweep the cream into swirls. Sprinkle the reserved chocolate crumbs over the cream. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.