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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Chocolate Cream Pie with Whipped Cream or Meringue Topping


Chocolate Cream Pie is a chocolate lovers dream come true. Creamy, smooth, rich, deep chocolate filling topped with either a billowy, golden meringue or heaped high with swirls of whipped cream will not only satisfy a sweet tooth, but will put you in good standing with family and friends.  

I wouldn't say I don't like Chocolate Cream Pie because I've eaten several piece of this one and was looking for another slice!  I'm certainly not a chocolate lover but I am a chocolate liker and this pie is a keeper.  

A few months ago I decided I should have a chocolate pie in my repertoire of recipes.  I've made dozens and dozens of chocolate pies but no two were alike.  Some were just an instant pudding poured in a pie crust, some were cooked from a package or from scratch but none were the same.  It came to a head a few weeks ago when I decided to clean out my fridge and cupboards to make a couple of pies to take to a church potluck.  I had a tub of plain Greek yogurt, that although past its best before date, was still fresh as the day it was bought.  It had gotten pushed to the back of the fridge and its whereabouts was all but forgotten. I had scraps and pieces of dark and milk chocolate left over from some baking project, a chocolate instant pudding and a couple of baked pie crusts that needed to be eaten and some whipped topping.  I mixed the yogurt, pudding and melted chocolate together and then decided to add some grated orange zest.  I poured the filling into the pie shells, topped them with a big dollop of whipped topping and brought them to church.  I thought they tasted good.  Not too much chocolate and a hint of orange.  And they did taste good. But the chocolate lovers were disappointed.  "Orange? Orange! I thought it was a chocolate pie!"  were the comments I received from those who are near and dear to me.  Ha, ha.  I wasn't too worried.  All but two pieces of the pies were eaten which Don later devoured at home.  But the need for a good chocolate pie recipe was now front and centre in my mind.

There were several recipes that I wanted to try.  I actually made four pie fillings before I settled on the one that I'm posting.  The first filling was so thick it felt like peanut butter in my mouth. The taste was good so I lightened that one up with whipped topping and divided the filling between three smaller pie crusts.  I gave them away to Linda and Ray to share with their family.  The next trial was good in texture but I thought it lacked a depth of chocolate flavour and was slightly salty.  But it was still a good filling.  I divided that one into two smaller pies and gave one to Verna and Bruce and one to our new neighbours Amy and Colin.  There was just enough filling left to make a small individual pie for Nan Gill. The third filling was the same recipe as the second but I added some cocoa to the mix and it was really good but still tasted a little salty.  I had forgotten to decrease the salt!  That one was poured into a full size 9-inch pie crust and Evelyn took it home to her family.  

They say the third time is a charm but for me the magic number was four.  Back to the stove I went with the new and improved recipe and finally, finally I had the filling which I might say was perfect. I was tempted to call it the "World's Best Chocolate Cream Pie" but that would be setting myself up for some well-deserved criticism.  "World's Best" is just too subjective.  But it is very, very good.  It is creamy, smooth and rich with chocolate.  It also cuts nicely into pie wedges. 

So here you have it, "The World's Best Chocolate Cream Pie" Chocolate Cream Pie.  A very, very good pie.


Chocolate Cream Pie
2 tablespoons cocoa (You may use less if you don't want a deep chocolate flavour.)
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoon cornstarch
1¼ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, roughly chopped
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla

9-inch baked pie crust. You can find recipes here, here and here 

or a 9-inch graham cracker pie crust

Sift together the cocoa, flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt.  Mix it well making sure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Lay aside until needed. 


In a saucepan, over medium low heat, combine the chocolate and the milk.  Stir or whisk, occasionally,  until chocolate is melted in the milk.  The milk should not come to a boil but should get hot. You may still have specks of dark chocolate not fully melted but they will continue to melt as the filling cooks.


When the chocolate has melted into the hot milk, add the sugar mixture, whisking constantly until there are no visible lumps and the mixture is starting to thicken.  Continue whisking or stirring with a spoon or spatula until the mixture thickens and bubbles start to break the surface. Reduce the heat a little and cook and stir an additional 2 minutes.  The filling should be thick and smooth and there should be no raw flour/cornstarch taste.  If there is a raw taste continue cooking another minute or two. When cooked stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks.  This will temper the yolks so they do not scramble when adding them to the hot mixture. Return the egg and chocolate mixture to the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over low heat a minute or two to cook the egg.  


Remove the cooked filling from the heat and add the butter and vanilla, stirring until combined. Strain the hot filling though a sieve to remove any little lumps or pieces of cooked egg that may have formed.  This is not necessary but it ensures your filling will be velvety smooth.  


Cover the surface of the filling with plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming on the surface and let cool to lukewarm.  Pour the lukewarm filling into the pie crust.  If using the meringue topping add it now and follow the directions below.  If topping with whipped cream cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 4 hours and then spread with whipped cream topping.   


Makes 1 9-inch pie.



Whipped Cream Topping

1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
Shaved chocolate or chocolate curls, optional

Before serving, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla to medium firm peaks.  Pile on top of the pie.  Garnish with  shaved chocolate or chocolate curls, if desired.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  


Meringue Topping

2 egg whites
4 tablespoons sugar 
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Place egg whites in the mixer bowl. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy before adding sugar.  Increase speed to high and gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.  Pile and swirl the meringue on the pie sealing carefully to edge of pastry shell. Bake in 350 degree oven for 12-15 or until meringue is golden brown. Cool away from draft and then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and ready to serve. 




After much searching I found the perfect recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie. Of course I had to fix it to my liking. The recipe is from the Homemaker's Cookbook and Guide to Nutrition. This is the same edition of the cookbook my mother owned.  David and Peter found one and gave it to me for my birthday a couple of years ago. 


Sift together the cocoa, flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt.  Mix it well making sure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Lay aside until needed. 


In a saucepan, over medium low heat, combine the chocolate and the milk.  Stir or whisk, occasionally,  until chocolate is melted in the milk.  The milk should not come to a boil but should get hot. You may still have specks of dark chocolate not fully melted but they will continue to melt as the filling cooks.


I forgot to take a picture of the chocolate milk but this is the same method. When the chocolate has melted into the hot milk, add the sugar mixture, whisking constantly until there are no visible lumps and the mixture is starting to thicken.  


If the mixture still has specks of unmelted chocolate the filling has not cooked long enough. Keep stirring.


Continue whisking or stirring with a spoon or spatula until the mixture thickens and bubbles start to break the surface. Reduce the heat a little and cook and stir an additional 2 minutes.  The filling should be thick and smooth and there should be no raw flour/cornstarch taste.  If there is a raw taste continue cooking another minute or two.


When the chocolate mixture is cooked stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks.  This will temper the yolks so they do not scramble when adding them to the hot mixture. Return the egg and chocolate mixture to the saucepan, stirring constantly. (Sorry about the blurry picture.) Cook and stir over low heat a minute or two to cook the egg.  


Remove the cooked filling from the heat and add the butter and vanilla, stirring until combined. 


Strain the hot filling though a sieve to remove any little lumps or pieces of cooked egg that may have formed.  This is not necessary but it ensures your filling will be velvety smooth.  Cover the surface of the filling with plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming on the surface and let cool to lukewarm. 


When the filling is lukewarm pour into the prepared pie crust.  I'm using a Graham Cracker Crumb Crust for my Chocolate Cream Pie. If you want a meringue topping spread it over the pie and bake. Cool away from draft and then chill until serving time. Sorry, I don't have a picture of the meringue topping.


If topping with whipped cream cover the filling with plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming and chill at least 4 hours.  Top with whipped cream and, if you wish, garnish with shaved chocolate or chocolate curls.


Refrigerate the pie until ready to serve.


 Everyone wants a slice of the creamy, smooth pie!

Here, have a bite!

Creamy, smooth, rich Chocolate Cream Pie.


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