I know they say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, (thanks Marilyn Monroe!), but for me, diamonds come a close second to chocolate being my best friend. I wish I craved vegetables instead; it would certainly help out my waistline. But, sadly, my sweet tooth has taken over any cravings for healthy foods. Think I can blame my genes, or this baby girl that I’m carrying?
Cream pies have frightened me for over 16 years. When I was in high school, I decided to make a banana cream pie for dessert. For whatever reason, whether it was because I didn’t stir the mixture enough or the heat was too high, the mixture burned, and being a novice baker I was, I tried desperately to not let any of the mixture go to waste. To me, this meant scraping what little bits I could from the bottom of the pan into the finished pie. When the pie was complete and chilled, and I presented it to my family, sliced bananas on top and all, I got funny looks. Yes, it was a little speckled from the burned part that I chose to add to the pie, but other than a little strange after-taste, it was okay. Well, maybe it wasn’t okay. But because of that incident, I had not attempted to make a cream pie again.
My dad turning 60 a few weeks ago changed all that. He wanted a chocolate dessert, (so it is my genes!), and as I was going through all the recipes I had, this once kept coming back to me. I finally decided to face my fear of cream pies and make the dessert. All I have to say is, I am GLAD that I did. It did take about an hour to make, but to see the look on my dad’s face, and know that it wasn’t burned but actually tasted really, really good, made it so worth the time I put in. If you want to cut down on some of the time, you can buy a pre-made Oreo crust. (And while this recipe uses chocolate wafers, you can replace it with Oreos instead.) This is a rich pie, so don’t make the mistake of cutting too big of slices. (Unless it’s for yourself. There’s no shame in that!) Make this delicious dessert for a special occasion. You’ll be glad you did. Enjoy! xoxo
Chocolate Cream Pie
32 chocolate wafer cookies (such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, enough for 1 1/3 cups cookie crumbs), plus leftovers crumbled
1 cup sugar, divided
1 t instant espresso or ground espresso
6 tablespoons melted butter, plus 2 tbsp. butter cut into small cubes
6 large egg yolk
3 1/4 cups milk (NOT non-fat)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350°. In a food processor, pulse cookies, 3 T sugar, and espresso until finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl; set aside. Add the melted butter and gently mix until incorporated. Press the cookie mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-in. deep-dish pie plate (crust should be fairly thick). Bake on center rack 15 minutes; let cool completely on a wire rack.
Have a large bowl filled halfway with ice and cold water, with another smaller bowl inside. (You will use the bowl once the mixture is complete.) Set aside.
Once the crust has cooled, place egg yolks in a medium bowl and using a whisk, beat the eggs for about 1 minute. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, mix together the milk, ¾ c sugar, cornstarch and salt. Over medium-high heat, gently bring the mixture to a simmer. (It will be begin to thicken.) Once the mixture is thick, (it will begin to coat the back of a wooden spoon), reduce the heat to medium.
Whisking constantly, so as not to cook the eggs, gently pour 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into egg yolks. When the eggs have been tempered, pour egg-milk mixture into saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, (about 190° on an instant-read thermometer), stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. (It will thicken and fully coat the back of a wooden spoon). Remove from the heat and stir in chopped chocolate, vanilla, and 2 tbsp. butter, until all have fully incorporated.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl sitting on ice and let cool for about 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly, (so no skin forms on top of the mixture), until the mixture reaches room temperature. Gently pour into the pie plate. Using plastic wrap, cover the pie completely, pressing down on the wrap so that it is touching the pie. (This will prevent a skin forming as well as keeping moisture out of surface of the pie.) Chill at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
When you are ready to serve, combine the cream and remaining 1 T sugar into a mixing bowl. With a whisk attachment, beat the cream at medium speed until soft peaks form.
To serve, cut a slice onto a plate, give it a nice dollop of whipped cream, and sprinkle with remaining crushed chocolate wafers.
Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Sunset