chocolate pie slice

Chocolate pie

14 February 2011

My husband’s birthday falls within days of his dad’s and his brother’s birthdays, so rather than having three cakes in a week, my husband has always opted for an old-fashioned chocolate pie. This pudding pie isn’t fancy, it’s rich, chocolatey comfort food: simple to make – milk, eggs, cornstarch, chocolate – and oh, so good. It’s my virtual Valentine’s gift to you sweet people.

For years after I met my husband I would try to make chocolate pie for his birthday using his mother’s recipe. One year it was runny as soup, another year it was so firm it could hold a fork standing up. It became a standing joke that my husband’s (then-boyfriend’s) mom was sabotaging me so that my pie would never be as good as her own. Finally on a trip to Ohio she and I cooked a triumphantly perfect pie together, and I ironed out the areas in the recipe that were subject to interpretation.

I’ve admitted defeat on pie crusts and now buy them frozen at Trader Joe’s. What’s wonderful about this approach is that it reduces chocolate pie preparation to just a few minutes on the stovetop.

Prebake the pie shell, pricking holes to keep it from puffing up. This filling makes enough for a 9″ or 9 1/2″ deep dish pie pan. If you are using a regular pie pan, you may just have to eat the leftover filling as chocolate pudding.

Pull together pie ingredients.

Sugar, cornstarch, chocolate and a pinch of salt in a saucepan.

Add milk, stirring.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.

When milk heats up, add some to the egg yolks and mix.

Add the tempered eggs slowly back into the saucepan, stirring.

The chocolate will melt into bits.

The mixture will thicken.

And suddenly it all comes together.

Turn off heat and add vanilla and a pat of butter.

Done!

Pour into cooled crust.

If I were not such a pie dunce, this would probably look better. It would actually be perfect to use the three leftover egg whites to make a pretty meringue to cover my less-than-smooth surface. I tried making a meringue once, but since I’d never made one before I didn’t realize I should have made it when the pie was warm, since it needs to bake for another few minutes after. I’m including a link to the meringue recipe below in case you want to try it at home.

The pie will continue to thicken as it cools. Store in refrigerator.

My husband has his pie with ice cream. I like mine with a glass of milk, but whipped cream or meringue would be heavenly.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Let’s forget about the commercialization and share the love.

Chocolate Pie
My husband loves this chocolate pudding pie so much he has had it instead of cake for his birthday since he was a child. Not fancy, this is rich, chocolatey comfort food.

Ingredients

  • Single pie crust for deep-dish pie
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (my mother-in-law always uses Baker’s)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. Place pie crust in a 9″ or 9 1/2″ deep dish pie pan. Use a fork to poke holes in the crust. To keep the pie crust from puffing up during baking, place a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil in the bottom of the pie pan and add pie weights (or a healthy sprinkling of dried beans or rice) to weigh down the paper/foil. Bake according to directions and leave out to cool.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add sugar, cornstarch and chocolate. Use whisk to stir cornstarch into sugar.
  3. Have egg yolks ready in a small bowl. Save egg whites if you want to make a meringue topping (see notes).
  4. Add milk to saucepan, stirring, and cook over medium heat. When mixture is warm, take some out (~1/2 cup) and mix with the egg yolks. Slowly add egg milk mixture back to the saucepan, stirring well.
  5. Continue to cook mixture until it thickens. Turn to low and stir until chocolate melts fully and blends into pudding. Take care stirring, as the pudding will pop hot bubbles as it cooks.
  6. When chocolate is fully melted, turn off heat. Add vanilla and butter and stir until butter melts.
  7. Pour into prepared pie crust. Cool on countertop (this is the time to make meringue, if using). Chill in refrigerator until serving.

Notes

  • If you don’t have a deep dish pie pan, you can simply eat the leftover filling as chocolate pudding.
  • The pie works with whole, lowfat or skim milk.
  • If you don’t have anything to weigh down your pie crust, you can also put the pie crust in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking. This should reduce the puffing.
  • My husband prefers his chocolate pie with ice cream, but it does seem so perfect to use the three leftover egg whites to make a meringue for the pie. I tried this recipe from allrecipes.com, which I think would have worked well if I had baked it properly when the pie was still warm.

Here’s the link to a printable version.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynn 15 February 2011 at 9:54 am

Mmmmmm! I love this pie. My Mother’s recipe is very similar to this one. I make it for the holidays to share, otherwise I’d eat the whole thing by myself! Thanks for the memories.

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whowhoo... 16 February 2011 at 1:23 pm

Received a chill through my body and tears in my eyes when i saw your picture of the chocolate pie! It brought back such wonderful memories for me. I have not made one since the passing of my Grandmother and Mom. I had forgotten how it had been a favorite of all! I remember coming home after school, our side door came right into the kitchen, dumping my books on our kitchen table, which was a picnic table, and smelling the wonderful smell of the sweet dark chocolate mixture mom was stirring. I would always find the largest spoon in the drawer and help myself to the “chocolate goop” as i called it, never being able to wait for the pie to be finished. Never thought about it, but maybe that is why there was always extra filling, you could never wait for the finished pie, it smelled so wonderful! My Grandmother was a very smart baker! I too thank you for reminding me of times with my mom i will always cherish! xox

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JoJo 21 February 2011 at 8:29 pm

How do I get me a slice of that?! That is just magical. My mouth is watering as I sit at my computer scanning in negatives, packing boxes and thinking of the studio move day from LA to NY on 2/28! That cake would hit the spot. Nicely done Chinese Grandma.

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cg 3 March 2011 at 8:17 pm

been following your move on twitter. congrats on getting it done! if i were in nyc i’d reward you with a nice wedge of chocolate pie. =)

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