Chocolate Pudding Pie

You know, sometimes the classics are just the best. I do love making fabulous, multi-component desserts– both for the challenge and the layers of flavor and texture– but every now and then it’s great to go back to basics. Especially when you’re running around frantically to cook your first solo Thanksgiving dinner and you JUST need something good for dessert and your family insists that they HATE pumpkin pie and can’t agree on whether to have apple pie or custard pie and and you’re ready to commit the heresy of getting STORE-BOUGHT just to get it over with–

Ahem.

In any event, we eventually decided on this pie, and boy is it a keeper. As is so frequently the case, it’s from the incomparable Deb at Smitten Kitchen, and having had my first slice I’m fairly sure I could make one of these every week and never get tired of it. The cornstarch pudding is simple to put together and practically foolproof– a for flavor, it’s perfectly rich, not too sweet, and light enough to not weigh you down, even after a holiday dinner. I even used a pre-made crust and it still turned out fantastically… though homemade whipped cream is a must here, I have to insist on it.

Chocolate Pudding Pie

Dough for single pie crust

and

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk (I used 1/4 cup cream with the rest skim milk)
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (chips are fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

and

1 cup whipping cream plus 1/4 cup powdered sugar

  • Roll out pie dough and line your pie pan. Prick pie crust with a fork and put in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Use this time to preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Cover pie crust with parchment or buttered foil and fill with pie weights. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden, then remove weights and parchment and bake another 5-10 minutes until the entire shell is golden. Set aside to cool.
  • In a saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, cocoa, and salt.
  • Add 1 cup of the milk and whisk until smooth, then whisk in the remaining milk. This step will help avoid lumps in your pudding.
  • Bring mixture to a boil, whisking the entire time, and boil for two minutes to allow it to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and stir in chocolate pieces and vanilla. Continue whisking until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  • Pour filling into cooled pie shell and chill pie for at least 2 hours.
  • When you’re ready to serve, top with mounds of lightly sweetened whipped cream. I like to whip 1/4 cup powdered sugar with 1 cup of heavy whipping cream– the powdered sugar stabilizes the cream a bit. Extra chocolate shavings on top are always welcome. 😉

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