Wednesday Food: Chocolate Cream Pie!

Spring is starting to bite and I want to lighten things up a little - a fluffy cream pie can do the trick!  This was something I made for our Easter get together at Eric's brother's new home.  What better way to christen a new home than by making a big family dinner, and a super delicious dessert?

My niece Abby
Bunny Face didn't look quite as good on me!
There are a couple of ways that you can organize making this pie.  You have 3 pieces to put together.  The pie crust, the chocolate pudding, and the whipped cream.  The crust is the most time consuming because you; make the crust, let it rest, roll it out, and bake it.  I made this in small bits before I went to work everyday.

Tuesday: I made the pie dough
Wednesday: I made the chocolate pudding
Thursday: Rolled out the dough, formed it to the pie shell, and let it rest
Friday: Baked the crust
Saturday: Filled the crust with the chocolate pudding
Sunday: Once I arrived at the destination, whipped the cream and topped the pie!

If I had a full day before hand I could do it all in one day, but I didn't have the luxury this time.  So this is a good lesson; if you don't have the time, you can do a little bit each day.  It doesn't have to be a day long event.

The Chocolate Pudding recipe comes from a Starbucks cookbook I came across back in high school.  The recipe read "World's Best Chocolate Pudding" and they're kinda right!  With three different kinds of chocolate, its super tasty!  

Chocolate Cream Pie

Pie Dough
1 stick of butter, unsalted and cold
about 2 c. flour
about 2T. sugar
1/4t. salt
about 4oz. cold water

1) Cut the butter into smaller cubes.  Combine with the flour, sugar and salt.

2) Mix with your hands (squishing the butter into the dry ingredients) till the flour resembles a coarse meal.

3) Add in the water, a little at a time.  You may not need all the water.  Just remember, you can add more if you need, and if you add too much - you can add more flour.  BUT after the water gets added you just want to mix till its combined and don't want to over do it!  This is where eye-ing it comes into play!
4) After the pie dough is done, you can wrap it up and let it rest in the fridge for either about 30 minutes or up to a day or so.

5) When your ready to roll it out, take it out of the fridge and let it soften for about 20 minutes.  This will make rolling the dough easier and it will roll more evenly.

6) Don't forget a little flour so it doesn't stick!  Roll the dough down to somewhere between an 1/8"- 1/4".  When your ready, take the dough and place it on your pie tin or glass dish.  Make sure its relaxed and not stretching.  You may need to trim the dough around the edges, so that the crust isn't too much.  Once your ready, roll the dough to make the pie crust edge, and pinch it into place.

7) Let the dough rest again before baking it.  Put it back in the fridge for another 20 minutes (again you can let it set overnight if you don't have the time).
8) When your ready to bake, take a fork and prick the pie crust so that air bubbles don't make the crust uneven.
9) Bake the crust at 350 degrees.  Put something on top of the pie dough to keep the sides from sliding down.  I just used another tin pie shell and that seemed to work just fine.  You can also cut a piece of parchment paper, place it in the pie and fill it with pie weights or dry beans.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is completely baked and slightly browned. 

Chocolate Pudding
4 egg yolks
3/4c. sugar
1/4c. flour
3T. cornstarch
2 1/2c. milk
5 oz. semisweet chocolate
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 oz. white chocolate
1t. vanilla

1) First things first, weigh the chocolate and chop into small bits so they melt evenly.  Set aside.

2) Place 2c. of the milk in a medium pot and heat on medium heat.  While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl with the remaining 1/2c. milk then mix in the flour and cornstarch.  Whisk till smooth.

3) When the milk is just about ready then whisk the sugar in to the yolk mixture.
4) This is the tricky part...tempering.  This is a quick process and nerve wracking at first, but once you get it down its easy as pie!  If your pot is small enough, you can pour a little of the hot milk into the yolk mixture with one hand, while whisking with the other.  Just a little at a time and keep whisking.  Once the yolk mixture has heated up, you can add it all back into the pot on the low-medium heat.
5) Continuously stir with a spatula, and as the mixture starts to thicken switch to a whisk to keep it moving, smooth it out.  You want to cook till it boils so that the starches thicken the pudding.

6) Once the pudding boils, turn off the heat, mix in the vanilla and chocolate till it melts and is homogenous.
7) Strain the pudding over a bowl to get out any of the chunks that may have formed so you'll have a nice and smooth pudding.  Put some plastic wrap right on the surface of the pudding so that a skin doesn't form.  If you can put the bowl in an ice bath that would be preferable.  The pudding can be held in the fridge for up to a week.

When you put it all together - it's quite simple.  Fill the pie crust with the pudding.  Whip 1 cup of heavy cream along with a touch of sugar (I added a little cinnamon too) till the cream is stiff and top the pie.

And there you go, a good ol' fashioned Chocolate Cream Pie!  As long as you have a pie crust and a pudding recipe, you can make any kind of pie you want.  Banana, coconut, butterscotch and the list goes on!  Have fun and happy Spring!


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