Last month, our little church had a Silent Auction and my contribution to the auction fare was 'A Year of Pies' ... I was a bit concerned that no one would bid on my offering, but I was wrong. Folks like their pies, apparently. There were several bids offered and in the end I was tasked with providing a year's worth of pies to a lovely couple that live one town over. So, every month I will be loading a home made pie in my pie basket and heading out to make a special delivery.
Of course, I started with a classic apple pie for the month of November, which was received well (Thank you, God!). This month, though, Mr. Lamella requested a chocolate cream pie for a Christmas present. So ....
Here is this month's offering ... a recipe I have played with ever since finding it on King Arthur Flour's website. This pie will give you the best chocolate pudding you've ever slapped on a spoon and the crust is a really flaky light number. I did have a few tense moments when rolling out the crust, but I just pushed the persnickety edges together and forced them into the pie plate. The butter did the rest of the job ... the result was an incredibly flaky crust that was blind-baked to a golden finish and then, cooled completely before being loaded up with the chocolate pudding filling.
I know this isn't the best photo, aesthetically, but it surely shows the layers of flakes that this crust delivers ... an excellent crust. I have always been a Crisco girl, but this half butter and half Crisco recipe may have just changed my modus operandi!
Now about the pudding filling ... the original recipe calls for semi-sweet chocolate, but when I looked at the amount of sugar in the pudding, I backed off on the semi-sweet and went with a dark bittersweet 70% chocolate produced by Scharffen Berger that has a smaller sugar content. No, I didn't pass the finished pudding through a sieve ... what's a few lumps, I ask you? That's part of life, right?
Although I had to give this pie away, I will be making another on Monday. Smallest Sprout, Eric, is a huge fan of chocolate cream pie and I am making him this pie for a Christmas present. I think he will be a happy boy. Judging from the paroxysms of ecstacy that SB had when he licked the spoon and cleaned the bowl of pudding, it should be a huge hit. I swiped my finger around the empty bowl before I passed it over to him ... I can attest.
Bittersweet Chocolate Cream Pie
a King Arthur Flour recipe
1 ½ c. flour½ salt
¼ c. Crisco shortening
¼ c. cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
¼ c. plus 1 tbsp. ice water
Chocolate Pudding Filling Ingredients:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter1 ⅓ c. bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
⅔ c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. high quality cocoa powder
⅛ tsp. salt
3 large egg yolks
1 c. heavy cream, divided
2 c. milk
Whipped Cream Topping Ingredients:
1 c. heavy cream¼ c. confectioner’s sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Making the Pie:
- Begin by making the chocolate filling, as it has to cool completely before you can assemble the pie. Place the unsalted butter, chocolate chunks, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and set aside.
- Place the granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa powder in a heavy sauce pan and whisk well to break up any cocoa lumps.
- Whisk in the egg yolks and ¼ c. of the heavy cream, mixing briskly to form a smooth paste. Add another ¼ c. of the heavy cream and mix until smooth.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat, whisking continually and gradually adding the rest of the cream and the milk.
- As the pudding thickens continue to whisk. When the pudding comes to a boil, time it for one minute, whisking the whole time.
- When the pudding has boiled for one minute, pour the hot pudding into the bowl of chocolate, butter, and vanilla, and whisk to melt everything and to create a thick smooth pudding.
- Place a layer of plastic wrap on the surface of the hot pudding. Set aside for a few minutes while you empty a couple trays of ice cubes into a pan that will easily hold the pudding bowl.
- Place the pudding on the bed of ice and let it cool completely.
- Turn to making the pie crust. Whisk the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add the shortening and cold butter and, using two knives, cut the fats into the flour until there are small beads of butter and shortening the size of lentils.
- Add the ice water a bit at a time until the dough forms a scrappy dough. Use a spatula to turn it in on itself until it forms a ball.
- Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and push it into a flat disk. Chill it for about 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough on a floured surface to make a ten-inch circle. If the edges crack, just push it back together with your fingers and proceed.
- Place the dough in a 9-inch pie pan and fold the edges back under themselves, crimping to make a nice design.
- Line the pie pan with a piece of foil and throw in some pie weights. Chill while you pre-heat the oven to 400 ° F.
- Blind bake the crust for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights. Return the pie shell to the oven and bake for about ten minutes longer or until the crust is golden brown and hissing when you open the oven door and listen.
- Cool the baked pie completely before loading in the chocolate pudding filling.
- When the pudding is chilled and the pie crust is cooled, turn the pudding into the pie shell and smooth it out flat.
- Whip the cream topping and spread it over top, leaving a peek of chocolate all the way around the edges.
- Shave some bittersweet chocolate over top the whipped cream and chill the pie for a couple hours before slicing.