Perfect Chocolate Cream Pie is adapted from an outstanding cookbook — Perfect Pies: The Best Sweet and Savory Recipes from America’s Pie-Baking Champion. The “pie baking champion” being Michele Stuart, National Pie Festival champ, Bobby Flay’s Throw-Down contestant, and owner of Michele’s Pies in Norwalk, CT.
One of these days I’ll try the Chocolate-Pecan-Bourbon Pie, the Maple Walnut Pie, Coconut Custard Pie, Lemon Chiffon Pie and maybe the Candyland Pie; but naturally, the first one on the docket was Michele’s Chocolate Cream. This may be my favorite chocolate cream pie yet.
Michele took a basic chocolate pie filling and perfected the amount of egg yolks, cornstarch and chocolate for a harmonious balance of smoothness, sturdiness and chocolate flavor. I did add a little chocolate extract since I have a bottle and am experimenting with it, but it’s really not necessary for a perfect chocolate cream pie.
Also, the pie slices beautifully. This is important when you’re trying to make a great presentation at Thanksgiving or any event where you need to impress people.
Here’s my adapted version of the recipe, but do yourself a favor and buy the book!
Also, if you are looking for a good crust recipe, here’s a link to Baked All Butter Pie Crust. This one’s reliable and doesn’t call for shortening.
The Crisco Single Baked Pie Crust is always good if you are okay with shortening.
Perfect Chocolate Cream Pie
- 1 prebaked 9-inch pie shell
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
- 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk 560 ml
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature 28 grams
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 10 ml
- 3/4 teaspoon chocolate extract optional, but good!
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate chopped (84 grams)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream Can use 1 cup for less topping
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar Can use 2 T.
- Chocolate chips or chocolate shavings for garnish
- Off heat, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium size saucepan.
- Whisk in the milk and egg yolks. Place the mixture over medium heat, constantly whisking and scraping the sides of the pan until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken.
- Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. When all of the butter is mixed in, add the vanilla and chocolate extract (if using). Add the chocolate a little at a time, giving each addition of chocolate the chance to melt into the filling before adding more. Keep the mixture over the heat until the chocolate is smoothly melted and the cream thickens.
- Pour the chocolate filling into the pie shell. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool and chill (Note: I like to let it cool at room temperature for about 40 minutes, first). When ready to serve, remove the pie from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap.
- Whip the cream and sweeten it with the powdered sugar. Stir in some vanilla. Spread or pipe whipped cream over the top.
Filling The change I made to the filling was to add about 3/4 teaspoon of chocolate extract. You could definitely taste it in the pie, so make sure to use a good chocolate extract. The only one I’ve tried is Nielsen Massey’s and I’d say it’s good. Also, I added both extracts after taking the pie filling off the heat. I noticed in Michele’s recipe it’s added as the filling is being cooked, but I am in the habit of adding it last because I’m always worried it will burn off.
Topping If you want less whipped cream, use only 1 cup cream and 2 tablespoons sugar. I like more cream so I whipped 2 cups of heavy cream and added 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla then piped it on with a large French star tip. You could spread it on or just pipe big dots of it out of a zipper bag with a hole cut out of the corner. For the chocolate shavings, I stole some Hershey bars from Fuzz’s Halloween candy stash and shaved off bits with a peeler.