This is a thick, creamy, very dark and very luscious chocolate cream pie. It might seem like a lot of steps the first time you make it (two or three times and it will be old hat), but it doesn’t take much time to put together. Maybe 20-25 minutes your first time.
It does need to chill for a good 3 1/2 hours, so start it early if you want it for tonight’s dessert.
Make or buy a graham cracker crust. There’s a recipe below for an absurdly simple (and tasty) one.
Whisk together in a nonstick saucepan:
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. cocoa (Dutch-process, like Droste, is better, but regular cocoa is great too)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp. salt
Beat 5 egg yolks just a little to break them up, then add to the sugar/cornstarch/cocoa mix.
Then immediately (but gradually, whisking all the time), add 2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of evaporated milk.
Cook over medium heat. At first, stir it very frequently. Then step it up to “stirring constantly” as things start to thicken up. Do this for about 8-10 minutes.
When the mix starts to simmer (like a slow boil, with big fat bubbles), it will thicken up very quickly. As soon as you see bubbles, set a timer or look at the clock, and cook for 1 additional minute.
Remove pan from heat and stir in:
- 2 Tbsp. of butter
- 4 oz. of good dark chocolate (if you’re a chocolate freak, use 3 oz. of bittersweet and 1 oz. of unsweetened)
- 1 Tbsp. (or a good glug) of brandy
- 1 tsp. (or a quick dash) of vanilla
Stir that all up until the butter and chocolate are nicely melted. Sneak a taste.
Pour the filling into a shallow pan, like a cake or pie pan. Cover it with plastic wrap, smoothing it so the wrap is right on top of the filling. (This keeps a yukky skin from forming.) Let the filling cool at room temperature until it’s warm, about 30 minutes.
Scoop the filling into your crust. Sneak another taste. Sneak another taste. Put the plastic wrap back on the filling and get the pie into the fridge. Chill for at least 3 hours.
Cover with clouds of very lightly sweetened whipped cream. Eat entire pie, or consider sharing with people you love very much.
Graham Cracker Crust
Heat your oven to 325 degrees.
Mix 1 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs (you can buy these in a box, or just blitz graham crackers in your food processor until you have the right amount) with 3 Tbsp. of sugar.
Add 5 Tbsp. of melted butter and stir with a fork until everything is blended.
Scrape into a 9″ pie pan and press to form an even crust. My edges are always sort of raggedy. No one cares at all.
Bake about 15 minutes or until it smells great. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool at least 20 minutes before filling.
Credit where credit is due
I adapted this recipe from one I found in Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, my very favorite cooking mag.