When my mom said my dad wanted a chocolate cream pie for Father's Day, I wasn't sure what exactly to make for him. I knew he probably technically wanted this elusive strawberry pie that I swear only exists in his mind (plain crust, pastry cream, sliced strawberries, whipped cream topping), but would settle for a good slice of chocolate cream. This is basically the scenario at every homey restaurant we ever visit. Looks for strawberry, settles for chocolate. Well, I didn't want him to settle. I wanted him to love that darn pie. So of course I had to find the most over-the-top obnoxious chocolate cream pie ever. And boy, did I pick well.
The recipe originally comes from Saveur magazine, but I found it on their website after googling "best chocolate pie ever". Seriously. It's that good. How could it not be after a chocolate cookie crust, two sticks of butter, and 11 ounces of Ghirardelli chocolate? I mean...that's just plain sinful. Oh, and a foamy halo of thick whipped cream on top. Gah. Don't even want to imagine what kind of caloric damage this monster can do. But it really does live up to its name. It's thick, rich, satiny, and yes, the best damn chocolate pie I've ever tasted. I'm not 100% in love with the crust, as it tends to turn into a chocolate brick after a trip to the oven, but that's a simple fix. The chocolate pudding is perfection.
Chocolate Cream Pie
From Saveur magazine, March 2010
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½ -inch cubes and chilled, plus more for pie plate
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 (9-ounce) package chocolate wafers, such as Nabisco, finely ground (about 2¼ cups)
3½ cups half-and-half
⅔ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
9 egg yolks
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
Dark chocolate, for garnish
Heat oven to 375°. Grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch glass pie plate with butter; set aside. Heat 8 tablespoons butter and brown sugar in a 1-quart saucepan until sugar dissolves. Transfer butter mixture to a medium bowl; stir in ground wafers. Transfer mixture to pie plate; press into bottom and sides, using the bottom of a measuring cup to compress crust. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake until set, about 15 minutes; let cool.
Heat half-and-half in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until it just begins to simmer; remove pan from heat. In a large bowl, whisk together ⅔ cup sugar and cornstarch; add egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Drizzle half-and-half into egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until bubbles rise to the surface and mixture is very thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add remaining butter and chocolates in small batches, whisking until smooth; stir in 1½ teaspoons vanilla. Set a sieve over a medium bowl and strain chocolate mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing plastic onto surface; refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.
Remove plastic wrap from chocolate filling and, using a rubber spatula, stir mixture until smooth. Spoon mixture into reserved crust, forming a dome, and smooth surface with the spatula. In a large bowl, whisk remaining sugar, remaining vanilla, and heavy cream until stiff peaks form; spread on top of filling, forming a dome. Using a peeler, shave some of the dark chocolate onto top of pie. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Makes 8 to 12 servings
Makes 8 to 12 servings