Rich and decadent, a Classic Chocolate Cream Pie is what dreams are made of. Homemade dark chocolate pudding is topped with silky whipped cream and chocolate shavings and tucked inside of a sweet pie pastry.
Classic Chocolate Cream Pie
Everyone should know how to make Chocolate Cream Pie because it is just such a classic. And honestly? It's not that hard to make. Yes there are three components to put together--the crust, the pudding and the whipped cream, but the end result is worth the effort! And definitely don't take any shortcuts on this one because a homemade Chocolate Cream Pie is worlds away from anything you can get at the store or bakery. A crisp crust holds that silky and rich chocolate pudding with piles of whipped cream and it's simply amazing. Let's get baking, shall we?
Chocolate Cream Pie Ingredients
- Pâte sucrée (sweet pie crust)
- Dark chocolate
- Granulated sugar
- Egg yolks
- Whole milk
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract
- Stabilized whipped cream
Pie Crust Options
There are three crust options for this pie. A Pâte Sucrée is a just sweet pie crust that is very stable and a great choice for this pie. If you are looking for really clean looking slice, choose this one.
If you are looking to up the chocolate game, make it in a Chocolate Sweet Cookie Crust. This is similar to the Pâte Sucrée but the chocolate version!
A final option is to make it in a Graham Cracker Crumb Crust. The slices of pie won’t be as neat as the photo below because this is a heavier pie filling, but it will certainly taste delicious. And, a graham cracker crust is super easy to make. I’ve made the pie both ways and both were delicious, so it’s just a matter of what you feel like making and for what you are making it for.
How to Make the Chocolate Pudding Filling
The chocolate pudding is obviously the showstopper here. And if you've never made homemade pudding it is really simple and so delicious. The pudding is made in one pot and doesn’t require any tempering of the eggs. You start by whisking together the sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks and then add in the milk and the chopped chocolate. I do suggest using whole baking chocolate, but chocolate chips will work in a pinch. Just make sure they are high quality is cheap chocolate chips have too many additives that may prevent a smooth pudding.
The whole mixture is cooked over medium heat, while you alternate between whisking and using a rubber spatula to scrape up any thickened bits from the bottom. The trick is to slowly heat the egg yolks with all of the ingredients at once so they don’t scramble. The added cornstarch helps stabilize the egg yolk mixture so that doesn’t happen. Additionally, it helps the mixture to thicken to the proper consistency. Once you’ve cooked the pudding, strain it, and whisk in butter and vanilla extract.
A few tips on making the pudding:
- Make sure to have a rubber spatula and a whisk handy. I use both to make sure the the mixture cooks evenly. I swap between using them while I’m cooking the pudding to make sure I’m getting all the mixture out of the crevices of the pot while whisking to ensure a consistent cook.
- Don’t walk away from the pudding. It takes no more than 10 minutes to cook. Also, it’s especially important to stir almost constantly in the beginning when you are cooking it to ensure no egg yolks get stuck to the bottom of the pot and scramble.
- Strain the pudding to get rid of any small bits of cooked eggs you might have. It makes the final pudding smoother.
- Make sure to put the cooked pudding directly into the prepared pie crust. It will set pretty firm; you want to make sure the pudding does so inside of the pie crust instead of a bowl. If you whisk it after it’s been cooled, it has the potential to break down some of the structure of the pudding and will make serving the pie difficult because the pudding could be loose.
MAKE AHEAD TIPS
As with most pies, there are a few steps you need to complete to get to the finished pie. A lot of these components can be broken down into steps and done ahead of time. As always, I encourage you to make the pastry and roll it out ahead of time. The more time you give the gluten to chill out, the better your pie will be.
- Make the pie dough ahead of time. You can do it up to 2 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Roll out and bake the pie dough: This can be done about 1 day ahead of time.
- Make the chocolate pudding: It should be noted you cannot make the pudding alone ahead of time. It has to be made and placed directly in the baked crust immediately. But you can do this step up to 2 days in advance if placed in the crust.
- Whip the cream: The cream is stabilized so it can be made up to 3 days ahead of time. It may need a quick mix with a hand whisk the further ahead it is made.
- Assemble the pie: The entire pie can be assembled 1 day in advance. It can last up to 2 days, but leave the cream off until you are ready to serve in case it needs a brief whisk.
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Rich and decadent, a Classic Chocolate Cream Pie is what dreams are made of. Homemade dark chocolate pudding is topped with silky whipped cream and chocolate shavings and tucked inside of a sweet pie pastry. See the body of the post for more details about making this pie and the different pie crust options, as well as tips and tricks.
- 1–9″ single sweet pie crust
Dark Chocolate Pudding:
- ¾ (cup 175 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (30 grams) cornstarch
- Pinch salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 cup (680 grams) whole milk
- 8 ounces (230 grams) chopped dark chocolate
- 4 tablespoons (60 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Stabilized Whipped Cream:
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated sugar (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 cup (230 grams) heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Roll out the pie dough to an 11″ circle and line a 9” pie plate, crimp the edges as desired. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork. Place the pie in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Once chilled, line the pie dough with a parchment round piece of paper and then add pie weights (or dry rice or beans or lentils), making sure to push pie weights to the edges.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and carefully remove the parchment and pie weights. Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the pastry is fully cooked through. Set aside until ready to use
Make the Pudding:
- Whisk together cornstarch, sugar and salt. Whisk in egg yolks and milk until fully combined. Add in the chopped chocolate. Turn on the heat to medium and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, and occasionally taking a spatula and scraping up any thickened pudding in the edges of the pan. Cook until the pudding has completely thickened and large bubbles are forming and popping, about 8 minutes.
- Remove from heat; immediately pour through a fine mesh strainer into bowl, using a spatula to push all the pudding out while leaving behind any bits of cooked egg. Whisk the butter and the extract into the pudding until fully combined.
- Pour the pudding into the prepared pie crust and smooth over the top. Let cool at room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Assemble the Pie:
- Make the whipped cream: To the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through for 2 minutes. Add heavy cream and beat on medium speed until the cream has reached soft stiff peaks, about 2 minutes more.
- Place whipped cream on top of the pie. Using an offset spatula spread the cream evenly on top of the pie. Garnish the pie with additional pieces of chopped chocolate.
- Serve immediately or keep chilled until ready to serve, up to 1 day.
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